Become a CDA Professional Development Specialist™

How to become a PD Specialist and other need-to-know information.

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Building a Network of Highly Qualified Early Educators

If you enjoy mentoring, coaching, meeting new people and observing educational environments, becoming a Professional Development (PD) Specialist™ may be for you. PD Specialists use ECE expertise to assess CDA candidates’ competencies and facilitate reflective conversations with the candidates.

We encourage all qualified individuals to consider this important role, because the integrity of the CDA assessment system rests, in large part, on our PD Specialists. Join us and be part of a network of highly qualified early childhood professionals serving CDA candidates.

How to Become a CDA PD Specialist™

All PD Specialists are degreed early education professionals. Read below for a full description of the eligibility requirements.

The application includes a section to provide additional information and explanations. It is important to thoroughly complete the application to include submissions of your transcripts and training documentation. Final determinations of eligibility will be made by the Council. If eligible, you must successfully complete the Council’s online PDS trainings to officially serve in the role of a PD Specialist.

The Council expects all PD Specialist applicants to:

  • Thoroughly read all eligibility requirements and view the video tutorials
  • Prepare all required documents and upload in Adobe PDF format
  • Be intentional and exact in completing the PD Specialist application. Omitting information will result in your application being denied.
  • Remain patient as the applications are being reviewed. Note: Please allow up to 45 business days for review.

We’re always looking to recruit early childhood education experts who are committed, qualified and skilled. We want to hear from you if you meet the requirements for this key role in shaping the ECE workforce of tomorrow. Show your interest by applying during the following windows of time:

  • January 1-February 15
  • June 1-July 15
  • October 1 – November 15

Take advantage of this chance to join the Council in advancing the future of our field.

All eligible ECE professionals must complete the Council’s online PDS training to officially serve in the role of a CDA Professional Development Specialist. If you are eligible, you may fill out and submit an online PD Specialist application. The Council will review every application. If approved for the trainings, you will receive an email from the Council on how to proceed. All eligible ECE professionals must complete the Council’s online PDS trainings to officially serve in the role of a PD Specialist.

Be sure to view our CDA PD Specialist application tutorials before starting.


The Council for Professional Recognition appreciates your interest in serving as a CDA PD Specialist™. Please note that applying does not guarantee acceptance as a CDA PD Specialist. Final determination is made exclusively by the Council. Each applicant will receive notification of the outcome of their application.

The Council for Professional Recognition does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, creed, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in the CDA PD Specialists operations processes and policies.


ECE professionals whose application is approved receive all of the required training and resources through convenient online training modules. At the end of the training, a short online exam verifies mastery of the material.

Passed the exam? Congratulations! You are now a CDA Professional Development Specialist. All PD Specialists will need to sign a contract online and submit a W-9 tax form in order to receive an ID number.

All PD Specialists have the option to be included in the Council’s online PD Specialist directory. To access the Find-a-PD Specialist Tool, login to YourCouncil and click the Find a PDS button located on the left side menu.

  1. Connect with candidates who are searching for a PD Specialist.
    Every CDA candidate must identify a PD Specialist who will conduct her/his Verification Visit.
  2. Receive e-notification from the Council that a candidate is ready to schedule the Verification Visit.
    After the Council processes the candidate’s CDA application, the PD Specialist and the candidate will be notified, via email, to arrange and complete the Verification Visit within a six-month deadline period.
  3. Conduct the Verification Visit and submit score recommendations to the Council.
    Each PD Specialist uses the Review-Observe-Reflect® Model (R.O.R. Model) to facilitate each Verification Visit and adheres to the Council’s policies and procedures.
  4. Receive honorarium from the Council.
    PD Specialists are compensated for each successfully completed Verification Visit. PD Specialists are not allowed to charge the candidate any fees.