Family Child Care Setting | Children Aged 0-5

Step 1

Explore the CDA Credential


Consider the following before making the commitment to pursue a CDA Credential:

You will be asked to demonstrate your competence in an early childhood education setting based on the six CDA Competency Goals and 13 Functional Areas.

II. You may apply for the CDA Credential only if:

  • You hold a high school diploma, or equivalent, or you are a junior or senior in a high school career / technical program in early childhood education.
  • You are able to speak, read, and write well enough to perform the responsibilities of a CDA.

Is the CDA Credential appropriate for you?

If you are a professional who fits this profile, follow the next STEPS to learn how to demonstrate your competence to the Council and earn the Credential.


- For details about the CDA Competency Goals and Functional Areas and the CDA assessment process, you need to purchase a setting-specific Competency Standards book, available under Materials You Will Need to the left.

-Essentials for Child Development Associates Working with Young Children is a comprehensive curriculum for the preparation of CDAs. To purchase one, follow the link under Materials You Will Need.

- Become familiar with the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, which exemplifies a standard of professional practice expected from every CDA.


CDA – Child Development Associate – an individual who successfully completed the CDA assessment
Competency Goal – goal for the behavior of an Early Childhood Educator
Functional Area – a responsibility that defines an Early Childhood Educator’s role in relation to children
NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children - a professional organization which promotes excellence in early childhood education visit