Frequently Asked Questions


What do I have to do to be eligible for a CDA Credential?

- Have a high school diploma or be a junior or senior in a high school career / technical program in early education.
- Have 480 hours of experience working with young children.
- Have 120 clock hours of formal training.
- Collect specific documentation that shows evidence of practice working with young children.

Visit: How to Earn a CDA

What do I have to do to complete the CDA assessment?

- Meet eligibility and training requirements.
- Complete the documentation collection: Professional Portfolio, Family Questionnaires.
- Take CDA Exam at a local Pearson Vue test center and meet with a CDA Professional Development Specialist to complete a Verification Visit and

Visit: How to Earn a CDA.

How much does the CDA Direct Assessment System cost?

The cost is $425. Application packets are available for $25 (plus $8.00 shipping and handling) and provide instructions for Candidates to prepare for assessment.

Visit: Council Online Bookstore

Is there scholarship money to help pay the CDA fee?

Yes. If you are income eligible, the state may pay for all or part of the training costs, and the state may also pay the assessment fee. You need to contact your state office for detailed information about available state funding.

Visit: CDA Scholarships

Does the Verification Visit have to take place at the center where the Candidate works?

Once the Application is complete, the Observation portion of the Verification Visit must take place in a center where Candidate works or volunteers. Review and Reflection can take place at a different, quiet location.


Where can I obtain CDA training?

Candidates must complete all formal education hours under the auspices of an agency or organization that has expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. The training could be for college credit or for no credit. The Council does not accept training from independent consultants or from conference workshops.

Visit: National Directory of Early Childhood Educator Preparation Institutions

Can Candidates in a high school career/technical program count their training hours as formal education?

Yes. These Candidates are now eligible to apply for the CDA credential.

Visit: Announcement - High School Students Now Eligible for CDA.

What should a training agency list on the certificate to verify a Candidate's formal education?

The certificate should include the agency's name and address, Candidate's name, date of the training session(s), content area, number of hours successfully completed, and authorized signature.

What happens if a Candidate doesn't score well on the CDA Exam?

The decision about whether to issue a CDA credential will be made after weighing all evidence of the Candidate's competence. The written test is only one part of the evidence. Other evidence of stronger skills may balance some evidence of weaker skills and competence.

What is the role of the CDA Professional Development Specialist?

The CDA PD Specialist completes the Verification Visit with the Candidate: reviews Candidate documentation, observes the Candidate while working with children, and conducts a reflective dialogue with the Candidate. At the end of the Verification Visit, the PD Specialist electronically submits the scores to the Council.

Are application and training materials available in Spanish?

Yes. The following publications are available in Spanish:

- Competency Standards books (all settings)
- Essentials (Fundamentos)
- Field Advisor's Guide (Guía del Asesor de Práctica)
- Seminar Instructor's Guide (Guia del Instructor de Seminario)

Visit: Council Online Bookstore

Which Candidates use the Spanish materials?

Candidates who are employed in programs where their everyday work requires them to speak Spanish to the children. These Candidates will complete an assessment in Spanish (Monolingual - Spanish) to earn the CDA Credential.

I speak two languages. Can I apply for a bilingual specialization?

Candidates who wish to obtain a bilingual specialization must work in a bilingual setting that requires the Candidate to speak both languages daily and consistently and have a working knowledge of two languages.

Visit: CDA Settings

How can I renew my CDA Credential?

The CDA Credential is valid for a period of three years. The renewal process involves three steps:

1. Purchase CDA Renewal Packet ($15.00 plus $8.00 shipping and handling).
2. Compile required documentations.
3. The Council charges $100 for processing paper Renewal Applications. Candidates applying online using YourCDA will receive a $25 discount and the new online renewal fee is $75.

Visit: How to Renew Your CDA