Child Development


What's a CDA Credential

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in ECE. The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children. The Council works to ensure that the nationally-transferable CDA is a credible and valid credential, recognized by the profession as a vital part of professional development.

Who is the CDA Credential For?

An Industry Recognized Certificate!

The CDA National Credentialing Program is a professional development opportunity for early educators working with children ages birth to five years old to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the early childhood education field. The CDA credentialing program assesses candidates using multiple sources evidence, including an exam, observation and professional portfolio with resources, and competency statements prepared by the candidate.

Child Development Associates have knowledge of how to put the CDA Competency Standards into practice and understanding of why those standards help children move with success from one developmental stage to another. Put simply, Child Development Associates know how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of children.

CDA Competency Standards

The CDA Competency Standards are the national standards used to evaluate a caregiver's performance with children and families during the CDA assessment process. The Competency Standards are divided into six Competency Goals, which are statements of a general purpose or goal for caregiver behavior. The Competency Goals apply to all child care settings

The six goals are defined in detail in the 13 Functional Areas, which describe the major tasks or functions that a caregiver must complete in order to carry out the Competency Goal. A Developmental Context, a brief overview of relevant child development principles, explains each Functional Area.

Although the six Competency Goals are the same for all settings (center- based, family child care, home visitor), the Functional Area definitions and sample behaviors differ for each setting and age group.

According to the Council for professional recognition, earning the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ has many advantages, including exposure to the larger community of early childhood educators. Over 370,000 educators have received their CDA to date!

Becoming a CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident practitioners with command of today’s best practices for teaching young children. EduWorkforce CDA Gold is here for you!