CDA Gold Standard Specialist™ FAQs

Get details about this important role and how to become a Gold Standard Specialist.

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About CDA Gold Standard Specialists

The CDA Gold StandardSM Specialist (GSS) The CDA Gold Standard Specialist (GSS) is an independent consultant with experience and expertise in Early Childhood Education and adult-learning principles who conducts the Site Visit Review which includes three major components: The Instructor Interview(s), Course Observation(s) and the Organizational Interview. A Site Visit Review is required in the CDA Gold Standard application process.

The GSS confirms the information submitted in the online application and captures any new information that demonstrates adherence to the Three Principles. The GSS is trained to perform four distinct tasks in the CDA Gold Standard process:

  1. Receive Site Visit Review assignments from the Council
  2. Confirm Site Visit Review logistics with the organization
  3. Conduct the Site Visit Review
  4. Prepare and submit the Site Visit Review Scoring Instrument to the Council

About the Site Visit Review

Each applicant is required to successfully complete a Site Visit Review by a Gold Standard Specialist (GSS). The GSS confirms the information submitted in the online application and captures any new information that demonstrates adherence to the Three Principles:

  • Principle I: Business Policies and Practices
  • Principle II: Quality Student Services
  • Principle III: Alignment with the CDA® Subject Areas

The CDA Gold StandardSM Site Visit Review takes about 3-5 hours, depending on setting type and training modality. It includes three major components: The Instructor Interview(s), Course Observation(s) and the Organizational Interview.

  • Instructor Interview – a 45-minute meeting during which the GSS and one CDA® instructor discuss the instructor’s perspective of the organization’s CDA® training program and how the organization addresses his or her professional needs.
  • Course Observation – a 60-minute assessment (for each observation) during which the GSS observes and assesses the CDA® learning environment, CDA® teaching practices and professional development activities to determine if the course aligns with the CDA® Subject Areas and that best practices in adult-learning principles are implemented.
  • Organizational Interview – a 45-minute meeting between the GSS and an organization representative(s) to discuss the organization’s mission, history and context of the CDA® training program as represented in the application. The Organizational Interview also reflects upon what the GSS experienced in the Instructor Interview and Course Observation.

Your organization is responsible for completing the Scheduling section of the online application by providing three (3) availability dates and times for the Site Visit Review. After entering availability options, the Council selects a Gold Standard Specialist to complete the Site Visit Review and also coordinates the scheduling of the interviews and observation of the selected training events.

Note: The Site Visit Review is a required to be completed within a six-month time period . Cancellation or failure to complete a Site Visit Review in the allotted time period will result in an automatic denial of a CDA Gold Standard award.

Become a CDA Gold Standard Specialist

Early Childhood Education professionals who meet the Council’s education and experience requirements should consider applying to become a CDA Gold Standard Specialist. Current or former full- or part-time early childhood faculty members and ECE trainers who meet the qualifications listed below are encouraged to apply.

Those interested in becoming a Gold Standard Specialist must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a graduate degree in early childhood education, child development or a closely related field
  • Have at least 3-5 years of work experience in the ECE field
  • Have at least five (5) years of experience teaching adults as a faculty member at a college or university, ECE trainer or consultant
  • Must have recent (less than 5 years) or currently be working for an adult-learning or training organization

If granted the opportunity to proceed in the GSS application process, applicants must successfully complete a training series and examination to earn the GSS endorsement.

Yes, the Council offers on-site and online training sessions. Gold Standard Specialists are required to participate in a minimum of one (1) Council training session annually to ensure they maintain “active” status.

Those who are interested and meet the listed requirements may apply to become a GSS.

Ready to apply? Contact our Gold Standard team at GSS@cdacouncil.org

Yes, if a current PD Specialist meets the eligibility requirements of a GSS they can apply. Apply to become a GSS by visiting the Gold Standard website at www.cdacouncil.org/goldstandard/gs-specialist. On the CDA Gold Standard Specialist webpage, click the “APPLY TODAY” button.

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