Earning an MSA or CDA credential in the Military.
Join a Global Network
A Military School-Age (MSA) or Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential can take your career in early childhood and school-age education further, even into the highly regarded Department of Defense educational system. An MSA or CDA® credential can open doors to competitive national and international jobs. You will be recognized for having a command of today’s best practices for teaching children.
The Military School-Age Credential (MSA) promotes quality service to parents, children and youth by providing specific standards, training and evaluation for Military School-Age teachers, staff members and Family Child Care providers.
It is an opportunity for adults working with school-age children and youth on military bases to gain professional recognition by demonstrating competence in their on-the-job skills. Staff must complete the Foundation Level training to be eligible for the MSA.
The U.S. Department of Defense recognizes those with MSA credentials as educators who have reached a high level of competency working with school-age children and youth. The MSA may qualify you to move to a higher position and may translate into college credit, but the number of credits varies with each institution.
Eligible individuals aspiring to earn the MSA credential should visit: www.cdacouncil.org/educator-pathways/military/msa-document-library to download all of the materials needed to prepare for assessment. The materials will contain all the instructions and forms needed to prepare for the next stages of the assessment system.
2. TEAM FORMATION/INFORMATION COLLECTION
In addition to the candidate, three people: an advisor, a Family/Community Representative and a MSA Representative, serve as members of the Local Assessment Team (LAT). Each LAT member must meet eligibility requirements and perform specific responsibilities for collecting information about the candidate’s work with youth. These are described in detail in Part II of the Candidate Instruction Guide.
3. APPLICATION FOR ASSESSMENT
When the candidate, advisor, and Family/Community Representative have finished information collection, the three Local Assessment Team members complete an Assessment Request Form, which the candidate submits to the Council, via email to: email@example.com.
4. VERIFICATION VISIT/FINAL RECOMMENDATION
The MSA Representative completes the verification visit and summarizes all the information received from the LAT members. The MSA Representative makes a final recommendation from the LAT to the Council.
5. FINAL DECISION
The MSA Representative collects the assessment materials and submits them to the Council. The Council reviews the results of the assessment and renders a credentialing decision. If credential award is recommended, the official credential is sent to the candidate. In the unfortunate event that the credential is denied, the Council will make recommendations on areas of improvement and let the candidate know the next steps to take to earn the MSA credential.
6. MSA RENEWAL
A Military School-Age Credential is valid for three years from the date of award, after which it may be renewed for three-year increments.
The Council for Professional Recognition administers the MSA credential and, along with military officials, evaluates each candidate’s competence. You will be evaluated by the Local Assessment Team (LAT), a group of people representing the various aspects of the school-age field. The LAT should include:
- An Advisor – military school-age professional
- A Family/Community Representative – member of the local military community
- A Military School-Age Representative – representative of the military
Candidates will select people to serve as the Advisor and Family/Community Representative. The Council assigns the Military School-Age Representative. All members of the LAT team must meet eligibility requirements and each member has different responsibilities. We encourage candidates to review the information on the MSA process for a detailed description of the process and eligibility criteria.
Being a PD Specialist allows me to share my expertise and genuine love of early childhood education. Being a PD Specialist is my Occupassion!
- Sherilynn Kimble, PD Specialist
I had been working with children for about three years when I was given the opportunity to obtain my CDA. During the process I was able to gain so much knowledge about all aspects of caring for chil...
- Tanesha Sanders, Texas
I started working at the University of Dubuque Childcare Center in October of 2009. I was hired as a floater to work with three age groups, Infants, Toddlers, and Twos. In August of 2010, I was assign...
- Rhonda Baule, Iowa
The great thing about having a CDA is that it is a national certification. I started in Florida and then moved to Louisiana where it was recognized and did help me in finding a job at the local Child ...
- Kendra Barnes, Louisiana
Starting a new job in the childcare arena was exciting! I knew that I enjoyed working with children, and it was a great opportunity to stay at home with my daughter. One year turned into two, and befo...
- Traci McNeil, Ohio
I am an Assistant VPK Teacher with a local childcare group. I had a director who encouraged me to get my CDA. My short journey had begun. I, too, was a little hesitant and fearful of failing when I sa...
- Gloria Williams, Florida
It is well worth it. When I received my Certificate for my Nationals in the mail, I cried I was so happy. I would also like to Thank my Director and my Assistant Director for really supporting me.
- Donna Hayes, Florida