If you are looking for a way to boost your professionalism, improve your skills, and open doors for promotions and raises in the workplace, consider getting a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). The CDA is a nationally recognized credential issued by the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington, D.C.
The goal of the CDA is to enhance the professionalism of childcare providers by improving their ability to meet the developmental needs of young children. Getting a CDA will give you a new found respect for your job because it gives you the confidence to view yourself as a true professional in the childcare field.
How to Get a CDA Credential
A CDA credential isn’t just handed to anyone – you have to put in the work and earn it. In order to be considered for a CDA, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are provisions in place that allow juniors and seniors in high school to become CDA candidates if they are enrolled in an early education vocational program. In addition, you must also:
- complete 120 clock hours of approved childcare training
- have current pediatric CPR and first aid certification
- put together a professional resource file, which includes writing competency goal statements.
- be observed working in a childcare setting by a CDA advisor
- undergo a verification visit (which includes a test) from a Council Representative
You can visit the Council for Professional Recognition’s website, http://www.cdacouncil.org/ to request a CDA application packet. The packet will outline in detail what you need to do to complete each of the above steps.
Getting a CDA can take anywhere from a few months to a year, it simply depends on how often classes are offered, and how long it takes you to complete all of the steps.
How Long is a CDA Valid?
The Council for Professional Recognition aims to ensure CDA recipients uphold professional standards, and keep their skills up to date. Therefore, your CDA has to be renewed after three years. To renew your credential you’ll need to:
- fill out a renewal application
- provide proof of 4.5 continuing education units (CEUs)
- provide proof that you have worked with young children for at least 80 hours within the past year
- provide a letter of recommendation from an early childhood professional
- provide proof of current CPR and first aid certification
- provide proof of membership in a local or national early childhood organization
A CDA is a reputable way to boost your professionalism, improve your skills as a childcare professional, and set yourself up for career advancement.