Preschool | Center-Based Setting | Children Aged 3-5

Step 3


Next Back

Once you have completed all prerequisites listed in Step 2, you are ready to fill out and submit your CDA Application. We encourage candidates to submit their applications online for an easier and faster application experience. 

Benefits of Applying Online

If you submit a CDA Application online using the YourCDA online application you can:

-Check status of your credentialing process anytime

-Receive and submit your Director and PD Specialist statements electronically

-Pay the assessment fee electronically (you can pay via credit card, check, money order, or agency scholarship)

-Communicate quickly with the Council

-Get automatic updates as to where you are in the process 


The non-refundable / non-transferable application fee of $425 must be submitted with your application. Make sure to secure the funds before you submit your application. Learn about CDA Scholarships in your state.


 The CDA Application will ask you to:

- Confirm that you meet eligibility requirements

- Confirm that you completed all prerequisites

- Select English or Spanish as your preferred language for the CDA Exam - New!

- Provide the identification number of your CDA Professional Development Specialist. What is that?

- Obtain your Program Director's signature

- Include a $425 Application fee or pay it online (for online applicants only)

Note: The Council does not assign CDA Professional Development Specialists to CDA Candidates. You are encouraged to find a PD Specialist in your commnuity. If you do not know any PD Specialists, feel free to visit our Find-a-PDS Online Directory

How to Apply 

Please apply online or mail a completed paper application with the assessment fee to:

Council for Professional Recognition
2460 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009-3547

Please do NOT mail any other documents to the Council. The Councill will not return these documents to you. Follow the application instructions to make sure you submit a correcty completed CDA Application.

Application Deadline

You may submit your application any time of the year.

Does your application reflect your readiness for the assessment of your competence?

If you followed the process and correctly filled out the application, you will receive from the Council a Ready to Schedule Notice, indicating you may proceed to schedule your Verification Visit and CDA Exam: STEP 4.


- Use the Candidate Checklist in your Competency Standards book to confirm you are ready to apply for the CDA Credential.

- To avoid any delays, apply online or check your CDA Application for any mistakes or omissions before applying online or mailing it to the Council. In particular, please make sure that:

(1) the application is filled out correctly and entirely
(2) the application and assessment fee / proof of payment arrive in the same envelope – please do not mail any other documents to the Council - they will NOT be returned to you.

- Are you working in more than one language? You may be eligible to apply for a bilingual specialization. Review your Competency Standards book to learn how to earn this type of endorsement.