CDA® Credentialing Program FAQs

Get answers to commonly asked questions about CDA credentialing.

Contact Us

Council for Professional Recognition
2460 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20009-3547
(800) 424-4310
cdafeedback@cdacouncil.org

Tweets

Stay Informed

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: These questions do not apply toward the Home Visitor CDA credentialing program. For information on how to earn a Home Visitor CDA credential, click here.

Apply for CDA

What is the Child Development Associate® (CDA) National Credentialing Program?

The CDA National Credentialing Program is a professional development opportunity for early educators working with children ages birth to 5 years old to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities in the early childhood education field. The CDA credentialing program assesses Candidates using multiple sources evidence, including an exam, observation and professional portfolio with resources and competency statements prepared by the Candidate.

Why should I apply to earn a Child Development Associate® (CDA)?

The CDA Credential both initially and at renewal periods is a professional development opportunity for early educators at all levels of education and experience. The early childhood education field is constantly evolving and it is important for educators to stay current with key education practices.The CDA demonstrates your knowledge, skills and abilities when working with young children, as well as your commitment to career advancement and professionalism.

What is a center-based program?

A center-based program must have: (1) at least 10 children enrolled in the program (not necessarily in the Candidate’s group), and (2) at least two caregivers working with the children on a regular basis.

How do I choose the correct CDA Credential Setting?

Please review the CDA Credential settings below to determine which best describes your work with young children:

  • PRESCHOOL: A center-based preschool setting is a state-approved child development center where a Candidate can be observed working with a group of at least eight children, all of whom are ages 3 through 5 years old.
  • INFANT-TODDLER: A center-based infant-toddler setting is a state-approved child development center where a Candidate can be observed working with a group of at least three children, all of whom are under the age of 3 years old.
  • FAMILY CHILD CARE: A family child care setting is a family child care home where a Candidate can be observed working with at least two children 5 years old or younger who are not related to the Candidate by blood or marriage. The setting must meet at least the minimum level of applicable state and/or local regulations. Family child care settings are also eligible in localities where there is no regulation of family child care.
  • HOME VISITOR: A home visitor setting is an established program of home visits (to families with children 5 years old or younger) that supports parents in meeting the needs of their young children. In this setting, regular home visits are the primary method of program delivery. Candidates for a Home Visitor credential follow a slightly different assessment process. For information on how to earn a Home Visitor CDA Credential, click here.

How much will it cost?

To apply for your initial CDA Credential, the cost is $425 for online applications and $500 for paper applications. CDA candidates save $75 by applying online!

To renew your CDA Credential, the cost is $150 for paper applications. Candidates who apply online will receive a $25.00 discount and the cost for renewal is $125.00.

Payment for both initial and renewal CDA applications are due in full at the time of application.

What is the R.O.R. Model®?

“R.O.R.” stands for Review-Observe-Reflect®. These are the tasks undertaken by the CDA Professional Development Specialist. They contribute to the assessment of the Candidate’s competency.

During the Verification Visit, the Specialist:

  • Reviews the contents of the Professional Portfolio, the training transcripts/certificates and Family Questionnaires
  • Observes the Candidate working with children, recording criterion evidence where applicable, and
  • Reflects with the Candidate, focusing on the Candidate’s areas of strength or growth found in the Portfolio and/or seen in the Observation or identified in the Family Questionnaires

What is the Professional Portfolio?

The Professional Portfolio is compiled independently by each Candidate as part of the CDA credentialing process. The compiled resources and documents are reviewed by the CDA PD Specialist during the CDA Verification Visit. The Professional Portfolio is composed of:

  • Education Documentation
  • Family Questionnaires
  • Six (6) Reflective Statements of Competence
  • Ten (10) Resources
  • A Professional Philosophy Statement

What are Family Questionnaires?

Family Questionnaires are a required component of the CDA Professional Portfolio. Candidates are required to distribute the questionnaires to the families they serve and include them in their CDA Professional Portfolio. The Family Questionnaires allow the Candidate to review and address feedback from the families they serve to aid in their professional development.

What is the PD Specialist’s role in the CDA credentialing process?

The CDA PD Specialist conducts the CDA Verification Visit with the Candidate. During the CDA Verification Visit the CDA PD Specialist:

  • Reviews the Candidate’s Professional Portfolio
  • Observes the Candidate working with children
  • Facilitates a reflective dialogue with the Candidate.

At the end of the CDA Verification Visit, the CDA PD Specialist electronically submits the Candidate’s scores to the Council.

What is the process to earn a CDA Credential?

For a detailed description of the CDA Credentialing process, please select the setting for which you be applying to earn your CDA Credential: Center-Based PreschoolCenter-Based Infant-ToddlerFamily Child Care and Home Visitor.

What do I have to do to be eligible for a CDA Credential?

The eligibility requirements to apply for a CDA Credential are as follows:

  • You must have a high school diploma or be a high school junior or senior in an early education/child development Career and Technical Program
  • Any time before you apply: Complete 120 clock hours of professional education covering the eight CDA Subject Areas
  • Within 3 years before you apply: Obtain 480 hours of experience working with young children
  • Within 6 months before you apply: Prepare a CDA Professional Portfolio according to the requirements outlined in the CDA Competency Standards book

Are there scholarships available to assist Candidates with the assessment fee?

Yes, if you are income eligible, the state may pay for all or part of your training. The state may also cover the assessment fee. To determine if you are eligible, please contact your state office for detailed information about available funding.

Additionally, please visit our CDA Scholarships page for a list of organizations by state who provide financial assistance to individuals who wish to pursue a CDA Credential.

Where can I obtain training?

The Council for Professional Recognition does not provide training nor do we specifically endorse any training program or CDA curriculum. It is the Candidate’s responsibility to evaluate and select a training organization, agency or institution to complete their training.

While formal education hours can be for credit or noncredit, they must be earned through an agency or organization with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. The Council does not accept training provided by individual consultants.

Can high school and career and technical education program Candidates count their training hours as formal education?

Yes, these Candidates are eligible to apply for the CDA Credential.

What is considered formal education?

Formal education hours can be for credit or noncredit, however, they must be earned through an agency or organization with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. The agency or organization must verify your education in the form of an official transcript, certificate, or letter. The Council does not accept training provided by individual consultants.

Are application and training materials available in Spanish?

Yes, please visit our online bookstore to view materials available in Spanish.

I speak two languages. Can I apply for a bilingual specialization?

Candidates who wish to obtain a bilingual specialization must work in a bilingual setting that requires the Candidate to speak both languages daily and consistently and have a working knowledge of two languages.

I have a disability and will need special accommodations to complete the CDA credentialing program. How do I request special accommodations?

It is the Council’s commitment to provide a standardized and fair assessment for all eligible CDA Candidates. Prior to submitting the CDA Application, a CDA Candidate with a documented disability should submit the Special Accommodations Request Form to the Council.

What type of training do I need to apply for the CDA Credential?

Candidates must complete 120 hours of formal early childhood education training, covering the growth and development of children ages birth to 5 years, with no fewer than 10 training hours in each of the 8 CDA Subject Areas:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Building productive relationships with families
  • Managing an effective program operation
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Understanding principles of child development and learning

While formal education hours can be for credit or noncredit, they must be earned through an agency or organization with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. Training will not be accepted from independent consultants nor conference workshops for an initial CDA Credential application. The agency or organization must verify your education in the form of an official transcript, certificate, or letter.

How many hours of work experience are required to apply for the CDA Credential?

You are required to complete 480 hours of professional work experience with young children. Your work experience must be with children of the correct age according to the CDA setting for which you are applying.

Eligible professional work experience hours include:
Paid or volunteer hours and must be completed before you submit your CDA Initial Application.

Non-eligible work experience hours include:
Note: Babysitting, Before and After School Programs, Sunday school programs, and Drop in Programs are not eligible settings where a Candidate can prove his or her competence around the Competency Standards and experience hours in these settings should not be counted towards the 480 hours of experience.

What materials are available to help me through the process?

Candidates applying for an initial CDA Credential are required to purchase a CDA Competency Standards book in the setting of their work with children. The CDA Competency Standards books gives Candidates a detailed guide through the CDA credentialing process and requirements.

Also available is the Essentials for Working with Young Children textbook and Essentials Workbook. Together, these books assist the Candidate prepare the CDA Professional Portfolio, study for the CDA Exam and offer a number of resources the Candidate can use in the classroom.

Purchase all three and save, see CDA Value Packages in the Council Bookstore.

Who is PearsonVUE?

Pearson VUE is the Council’s partner for delivering the CDA Exam at testing centers all over the country. The Council has partnered with Pearson VUE in order to create a more powerful professional development experience for CDA Candidates.

How do I find a PD Specialist?

In order to properly complete your application process, you will need to find a nearby PD Specialist to conduct your CDA Verification Visit. To assist you with this process, we have created the Find-A-PD Specialist Online Directory.

How do I use the Find-A-PD Specialist Online Directory?

To use the Find-A-PD Specialist Online Directory, Candidate’s enter their work zip code, their classroom setting and the language in which they teach into the database. The database will generate the names and descriptions of PD Specialists nearest to the Candidate. The Candidate then selects the nearest PD Specialist and sends a request to the PD Specialist to conduct their CDA Verification Visit. If the PD Specialist is available to complete the verification visit, they will respond to the Candidate with their PD Specialist ID number. The PD Specialist ID number is required to complete and submit the CDA application.

What is the PD Specialist ID Number?

CDA PD Specialists who successfully complete the CDA PD Specialist training receive an official Identification Number (ID #) from the Council. The CDA PD Specialist ID # is a required field on the CDA application.

The Candidate receives the CDA PD Specialist ID # once the CDA PD Specialist has agreed to conduct the CDA Verification Visit. Please note: CDA PD Specialist ID #s are not to be shared between Candidates, the agreement to conduct the CDA Verification Visit is per Candidate, per visit.

What do I have to do to complete the CDA credentialing process?

To complete the CDA credentialing process you must:

  • Meet all eligibility and training requirements.
  • Purchase a CDA Competency Standards book in the setting of your work with children
  • Complete the documentation collection: Professional Portfolio, Family Questionnaires.
  • Submit a completed CDA application with full payment
  • Take the CDA Exam at a local Pearson Vue test center
  • Complete the CDA Verification Visit with the PD Specialist

How can I help to ensure my training will be accepted by the Council?

All training must have been taken under the auspices of an early childhood training agency that has expertise in teacher preparation. Official documentation of the training must be provided in the form of a certificate, letter on official letterhead or a college transcript.

Training documentation should include the following: Training agency’s name and address (seal/logo), Candidate’s name, date of the training session(s), content area, number of hours successfully completed, and an authorized signature.

How do I convert my clock hours into training hours?
Please use the following formulas to convert your clock hours to training hours:
1 CEU = 10 clock hours
1 Semester Credit = 15 clock hours
1 Quarter Credit = 10 clock hours
1 DHS Credit = 1 clock hour
1 Unit = 1 clock hour

To be eligible to apply for your first CDA, you need:
12 CEUs = 120 clock hours
8 Semester Credits = 120 clock hours
12 Quarter Credits = 120 clock hours

How to schedule the CDA Exam?

Before scheduling your CDA Exam, you must receive a “Ready to Schedule” notice from the Council. Once you have received this notice you are ready to schedule your CDA Exam. To schedule please visit the Pearson VUE website to find the testing center near you or call (866) 507-5627.

What can I expect on the CDA Exam?

The CDA Exam has 65 multiple-choice questions – 60 questions and 5 scenario questions (with a short narrative and photo). The Candidate will have up to one hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam. The only computer-based skill needed to take the Exam is the ability to point and click a mouse. The exam requires no scrolling, typing or even double-clicking. Click here to review a short exam tutorial and see how easy it will be to complete the CDA Exam at a testing center.

Need help studying? The Essentials Study Guide Bundle includes the Essentials for Working with Young Children textbook and the Essential Workbook, the textbook addresses every question on the exam and the workbook has sample test questions to further assist Candidates successfully study for the CDA Exam. Don’t miss out on these great study guides available in the Council Bookstore.

How do I schedule the CDA Verification Visit?

Before scheduling the CDA Verification Visit with your CDA PD Specialist, you must receive a “Ready to Schedule” notice from the Council. Once you have received this notice you can contact your CDA PD Specialist to schedule the CDA Verification Visit.

What can I expect during the CDA Verification Visit?

During the CDA Verification Visit, the CDA PD Specialist will:

  • Review the contents of your Professional Portfolio, training transcripts/certificates, and Family Questionnaires
  • Observe you working with children
  • Reflect with you, focusing on your areas of strength or growth found in the Portfolio or seen during the Observation

How can I change my PD Specialist?

If you applied online, once you have located a new CDA PD Specialist, please log into the YourCDA online application system to edit the CDA PD Specialist information.

If you applied by mail, once you have located a new CDA PD Specialist, please call the Customer Support Team with the new PD Specialist ID number to update your account.

If you need help locating a new CDA PD Specialist, please visit the Find-a-PD Specialist Online Directory.

How long will it take for the Council to make a credentialing decision?

There is no set timeframe for the Council to make a credentialing decision, as there are a number of factors that may delay the process. Generally, once a Candidate has successfully completed the CDA Exam and Verification Visit, the scores are transmitted to the Council within 24-48 hours. If there are no errors nor missing information, the credentialing decision may take 1-3 business days.

If there is an error or information is missing, the review process to retrieve missing items and/or correct errors may take a minimum of 4-6 weeks for a credentialing decision to be made.

Will I be notified when it is time to renew my CDA Credential?

The Council will send a courtesy email reminder when it is time to renew your CDA credential. However, this email is a courtesy and is not guaranteed, nor should it be the sole reminder for renewing your CDA Credential. To help ensure you do not miss these courtesy reminders, please make sure the Council always has your current email on file.

Does the Verification Visit have to take place at the center where the Candidate works?

Yes, the observation must take place at the center or home where the Candidate works or volunteers with children. The Review and Reflection can take place in a quiet place outside of the classroom. The Candidate will need to prepare ahead of time to have another teacher cover their classroom during the Review and Reflection portion of the CDA Verification Visit. Please note: The CDA Verification Visit does not take place until the Candidate applies and receives a Ready to Schedule notice from the Council.

How are Candidates scored during the CDA Exam and Verification Visit?

Candidates do not receive a pass or fail score on the CDA Exam and Verification Visit. Rather, the Council comprehensively evaluates how Candidates score in each of the thirteen CDA Functional Areas on the CDA Exam and during the CDA Verification Visit to make a credentialing decision.

Can I get a refund on the CDA assessment fee?

The CDA Credential assessment fee is nonrefundable.

How will I be notified about my credentialing decision?

You will be notified by mail of your credentialing decision.

What happens if my CDA Credential is denied?

If the Council determines that your cumulative score does not meet the credentialing requirement, you will be notified by mail with information regarding the decision and appeal procedures.

What happens if a Candidate does not score well on the CDA Exam?

The decision about whether to issue a CDA credential will be made after weighing all evidence of the Candidate’s competence. The CDA Exam is only one part of the evidence. Other evidence of stronger skills may balance evidence of weaker skills and competence.

How will the final decision be determined?

After the Council receives the scores for both your CDA Exam and Verification Visit, the Council calculates a cumulative score to determine your final credentialing decision.

Renew CDA

How long is my CDA Credential valid for?

The CDA Credential is valid for a period of three years.

Why did the renewal policy change from five years to three?

After doing a study of industry standards for credential and certification renewals, the Council concluded three years is an efficient amount of time to reevaluate the continued professional development and performance of early educators. The early care and education profession is very delicate and it is imperative for early educators to stay up to date with the latest theories, research/studies, appropriate practices and latest trends in the early childhood education field. The continuous professional development of CDA Credential holders is a must to ensure the quality of care and education provided to our nation’s youngest children.

Where can I obtain training?

The Council for Professional Recognition does not provide training nor do we specifically endorse any training program or CDA curriculum. It is the Candidate’s responsibility to evaluate and select a training organization, agency or institution to complete their training.

While formal education hours can be for credit or noncredit, they must be earned through an agency or organization with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. The Council does not accept training provided by individual consultants.

What are CEUs?

Continuing Education Units (CEUS) are units of education awarded for participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction. CEUs are noncredit educational experiences. While the Council does not require agencies to receive approval from The International Association for Continuing Education Training (IACET), it is strongly recommended their training guidelines are followed when issuing CEU credits.

One Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is equal to ten (10) contact hours of study.

What are clock hours and how do I earn them?

A clock hour is equivalent to 60 minutes (1 hour). You can gain clock hours by participating in a wide variety of training courses available in the field, including in-service workshops and association-sponsored events that offer continuing education units, course credit, or clock hours.

What are credit hours?

Credit hours are semester long classes at an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university.

How can I ensure my training will be accepted by the Council?

All training must have been taken under the auspices of an early childhood training agency that has expertise in teacher preparation. Official documentation of the training must be provided in the form of a certificate, letter on official letterhead or a college transcript.

Training documentation should include the following: Training agency’s name and address (seal/logo), Candidate’s name, date of the training session(s), content area, number of hours successfully completed, and an authorized signature.

What is the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Reviewer?

The ECE Reviewer is an early childhood professional who meets the proper educational and work experience qualifications provided in the CDA Renewal Procedures Guide. Please click here for a detailed description of the CDA renewal process.

What is the process to renew your CDA Credential?

Please visit the following link for a detailed description of the CDA Renewal Process.

I have more than one CDA Credential, can I renew online?

Unfortunately, our online system will only allow you to renew the first CDA Credential that you were awarded. Your second CDA Credential will have to be renewed by submitting a paper application. For example, if you received a center-based Preschool CDA Credential on June 1, 2012 and received a center-based Infant and Toddler CDA Credential on October 1, 2012 you will only be able to renew your center-based Preschool CDA Credential online.

I have more than one CDA Credential, do I have to send in two separate applications?

Yes, because documentation must be specific to the credential type. Candidates renewing more than one CDA Credential must submit a separate paper application per credential type. Each application must be accompanied by the renewal processing fee.

I have more than one CDA Credential, can I renew them at the same time?

You may submit a renewal application as early as six months prior to the expiration of your CDA Credential. If you have two or more CDA Credentials that expire within the same six month timeframe, yes you can renew both CDA Credentials at the same time.

I no longer work in the setting of my CDA Credential, can I renew in a different setting?

You can only renew in the setting of the CDA Credential for which you were awarded, renewing in a different is not permitted. If you are working in a different setting other than the one for which you received your CDA Credential, you must apply for an initial CDA Credential in the new setting.

I would like to renew in a different setting than my CDA Credential, what do I need to do?

You can only renew in the setting of the CDA Credential for which you were awarded, renewing in a different setting is not permitted. If you would like to obtain a second credential in a different setting, you must apply for an initial CDA Credential in the new setting.

How do I find an Early Childhood Education Reviewer?

The ECE Reviewer should be someone you know who meets the eligibility requirements provided in the CDA Renewal Packet and has knowledge of your work with children. Your ECE reviewer can be your Director, Education Specialist or even a teacher that works in another classroom.

How can I submit my renewal documentation?

If you are applying online you must upload your documents directly your application.

If you applying by mail you must mail all of your documents along with your application and renewal fee.

What forms of documentation of training can be submitted to the Council?
The Council accepts three (3) forms of verification of coursework:
a. College or University transcript (Transcript must include the college or university’s
name and the renewal Candidate’s name. In addition, the course must reflect successful
completion.)

b. Verification letter on the training agency’s official letterhead, which includes original
signature, title and contact information of person verifying training.

c. Training Verification Form (official form included in this packet) – This form should
be used by CDA Candidates with training certificates and/or training obtained from
multiple sources.

Note: Training documentation must specify training is specify to your credential type

Who can fill out my Training Verification Form?
Anyone within your center/program who has the authority to review your training record can complete this form for you. For example, the Center Director, Assistant Director, Education Specialist, Training Coordinator, Supervisor.
This authorized staff person must review your training documentation and ensure it meets the Council’s documentation requirements (included on the form) before completing the form.
For Family Child Care providers, the ECE Reviewer may complete this form.

I have a Preschool credential but I no longer work with Preschool age children. I know work with Infants and Toddlers. Can I submit my Infant and Toddler training for my renewal?

In order to renew your credential you must demonstrate that you have maintained your competence in educating and caring for young children in the setting of your original credential. Therefore, the training you submit for your renewal must be specific to the setting of your original credential.
If you hold a Preschool credential, the training you submit for renewal must be Preschool specific.

I work with Infants and Toddlers. Do I have to have Child CPR?
Yes, the requirement for all renewal Candidates is that they be certified in First Aid and Infant/Child (Pediatrics) CPR.

Does the Council accept on-line training for First Aid and CPR?
No, to fulfill this requirement, the course you take must requires that you meet face to face with an instructor in order to obtain your certification.
The Council does accept “blend” courses or “hybrid” courses to fulfill this requirement as you are still required to meet with an instructor to demonstrate your skills.

Can I submit my payment before I submit my application?
If you are applying on-line, you will submit your payment once you haven completed the application process. The system will not allow you to submit your payment before the application is complete.
If you are applying via paper, you must submit your application, fee, and all renewal documents together in one envelope.
Mailing payment separately can result in delays in processing your application.

Will I need to show proof of 80 hours of work experience to my ECE reviewer?
The ECE Reviewer is writing the letter of recommendation based on your work with children within the past year. You have selected this person because they have firsthand knowledge of your current work with children. They should be familiar enough with you and your work with children in order to verify that you have worked at least 80 hours with children within the past year.
You are not required to show the ECE Reviewer proof of your hour. However, if the ECE Reviewer requests documentation before verifying your hours, you will need to provide them with the requested proof.

Can I use my smartphone camera to take pictures and upload renewal documents?
Yes, the Council will accept pictures as proof of documentation. Please make sure that the pictures that are uploaded provide clear images.

I uploaded the wrong documents. Can I replace them?
As long as you have not clicked the PROCEED button in the Document Verification section of your online application, you may replace the documents you uploaded.

If you have already clicked PROCEED in the Document Verification section of the online application, you will have to wait until after the on-line application process is complete and the Council has reviewed your documents.

Can a Renewal Candidate still submit renewal documents via email or efax?
There is no need to efax or email documents to the Council. The on-line renewal application allows Candidates to conveniently and easily upload documents directly to the application.

Do you only accept pdf files?
The Council accept most file types. However PDF files or pictures are preferred. Please note, files submitted must not be editable (i.e. word documents).

As the ECE Reviewer do I need to ask the Candidate for proof of work experience?
Proof of documented work experience is not required. However, if you do not have knowledge that the Candidate has worked at least 80 hours with children within the past year, you may request documented proof of work experience.

My last name has changed since I received my credential. How can I update my last name?
In order to have your last name updated you must submit proof of change of last name. The document submitted must be a legal document that shows both your previous last name and your current last name. (ie marriage certificate or divorce decree)

I have an on-line application and want to pay with a check/money order. How do I submit the check?
Once you have entered your payment information in the payment section of the on-line application, you will have access to print the YourCDA coversheet. The coversheet instructs you to mail the coversheet along with your payment to the Council.
Please note: Your renewal application will not be reviewed until payment is received and processed.

How long does it take to process the renewal application?

There is no set timeframe for the Council to process CDA Renewal applications, as there are a number of factors that may delay the process. Generally, once a Candidate has successfully submitted their renewal application, if the information is accurate and free of errors or missing information the credentialing decision may take 2-4 weeks. However, this greatly depends on the volume of applications we have at the time your application is received.

If you are applying online, you will be able to log into the YourCDA online application system to check your status at any time. Please allow a minimum of 2-4 weeks from the time your documents are submitted for a credentialing decision.

If you are applying by mail, please allow a minimum of 4-6 weeks from the time your application is mailed for a credentialing decision.

Will I be notified when it is time to renew my CDA Credential?

The Council will send a courtesy email reminder when it is time to renew your CDA credential. However, this email is a courtesy and is not guaranteed, nor should it be the sole reminder for renewing your CDA Credential. To help ensure you do not miss these courtesy reminders, please make sure the Council always has your current email on file.

Can I get a refund on the renewal assessment fee?

The renewal fee is a processing fee. Once you have submitted payment, the fee cannot be refunded.

Apply Online

Why should I apply online?

There are a number of benefits for Candidates who choose to apply online, including:

  • It can significantly speed up your credentialing process
  • YourCDA online application system permits you to save your work and continue later
  • You can check your status anytime
  • Assurance your application is complete before submitting to the Council
  • Request Director’s Permission Statement electronically
  • Pay the assessment fee electronically
  • Communicate directly with the Council with the internal messaging system
  • Receive Ready to Schedule notice electronically
  • Real-time updates of where you are in the credentialing process

How do I register to apply online?

Click here to for instructions on how to apply online for your initial CDA Credential.

How much does it cost to apply online?

To apply for your initial CDA Credential, the cost is $425 for online applications and $500 for paper applications. CDA candidates save $75 by applying online!

What do I need in order to apply online?

To apply online you will need:

  1. To purchase a CDA Competency Standards book in the setting of your work with children
  2. A personal email address
  3. Your center Director’s email address
  4. Your PD Specialist ID number

What types of payments are accepted online?

Credit cards and electronic checks can be processed completely online within YourCDA.

We will also accept personal checks, money orders and vouchers. These forms of payment require an additional step and cannot be processed completely online. To submit payment in one of these three forms you will need to:

  1. Select your form of payment in the online application
  2. Print the YourCDA cover letter
  3. Follow the instructions on the cover letter to fax, email or mail your payment to the Council. Your cover letter must be included with your payment to prevent delays in your CDA credentialing process.

Can I pay online using a scholarship or purchase order?

Yes, however, this form of payment requires an additional step and cannot be processed completely online. To submit a scholarship or purchase order payment you will need to:

  1. Select “Voucher” in the payment section of the online application
  2. Print the YourCDA cover letter
  3. Follow the instructions on the cover letter to fax, email or mail your payment to the Council. Your cover letter must be included with your payment to prevent delays in your CDA credentialing process.

I forgot my password, what do I do?

Go to the YourCDA login screen and under the login button, click “forgot username or password” link. Complete the requested information and an email will be sent to you with instructions on how to reset your password.

I did not get the email with my temporary password, what do I do?

Try registering again to make sure that you entered your right email address.

Some email addresses have tight security and might filter out the temporary password message. You can prevent this by:

  1. Adding yourcda@yourcda.org to your safe list.
  2. Asking your network administrator to add yourcda@yourcda.org to the organization’s safe list.

Sometimes it’s fastest to use another email address. For example, Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail. You can easily set up another email address if needed.

Nothing appears when I try to log in to YourCDA, what do I do?

Make sure to disable the pop up blockers on your computer. Click here for further instructions.

My Director has not received the confirmation request, what do I do?

Go to step 2 of the application and click “edit”. Please make sure that your Director’s email address is correct. If not, correct it and resend request.

If the email address is correct, then your Director’s security settings are preventing the request from arriving. Please ask your Director to place yourcda@yourcda.org on his or her safe list or use a different email address for your Director.

My PD Specialist has not received the confirmation request, what do I do?

Please notify the Council by email: support@cdacouncil.org. In your email, please include your full name, PD Specialist name, ID number, and email address.

How do I convert my clock hours into training hours?

Please use the following formulas to convert your clock hours to training hours:
1 CEU = 10 clock hours
1 Semester Credit = 15 clock hours
1 Quarter Credit = 10 clock hours
1 DHS Credit = 1 clock hour
1 Unit = 1 clock hour

To be eligible to apply for your first CDA, you need:
12 CEUs = 120 clock hours
8 Semester Credits = 120 clock hours
12 Quarter Credits = 120 clock hours

How do I know when it is ok to schedule my CDA Exam and Verification Visit?

You will receive a Ready to Schedule notice via email and your status in your online application will also be updated. Once you receive the Ready to Schedule notice, you have Council approval to schedule your CDA Exam and Verification Visit.

How do I submit a message to the Council?

Login to the YourCDA online application system. In the “Messages” section, create a new message and click submit. This message will automatically be submitted to the Council for review.

How do I check my status online?

Login to the YourCDA online application system. Across the top, you will see a set of icons, the last highlighted icon is where you are in the CDA credentialing process. Once your payment is accepted, you will receive a “Ready to Schedule” notice letting you know you are Council approved to schedule your CDA Exam and Verification Visit.

Why should I apply online?

There are a number of benefits for Candidates who choose to apply online, including:

  • It can significantly speed up your credentialing process
  • YourCDA online application system permits you to save your work and continue later
  • You can check your status anytime
  • Assurance your application is complete before submitting to the Council
  • Request the ECE Reviewer Recommendation electronically
  • Pay the renewal fee electronically
  • Communicate directly with the Council with the internal messaging system
  • Receive verification of successful completion of the renewal process electronically
  • Real-time updates of where you are in the credentialing process

How do I register to apply online for renewal?

Click here to for instructions on how to apply online for your renewal CDA Credential.

I get an error when I attempt to register online, what do I do?

If you, at any time, applied for a second setting credential you will be unable to apply for CDA renewal online. You will need to purchase a Renewal Package and apply online.

If the above does not apply to, please contact support@cdacouncil.org for assistance.

How much does it cost to apply online?

By choosing to apply online, CDA renewal Candidate receive a $25 discount on the assessment fee. The cost to apply online to renew your CDA Credential is $125.

What do I need in order to apply online?

To apply online you will need:

  1. Download a Renewal Procedures Guide based on your setting of work here.
  2. A personal email address
  3. Your ECE Reviewer’s email address

I have more than one CDA Credential, can I renew online?

Unfortunately, our online system will only allow you to renew the first CDA Credential that you were awarded. Your second CDA Credential will have to be renewed by submitting a paper application. For example, if you received a center-based Preschool CDA Credential on June 1, 2012 and received a center-based Infant and Toddler CDA Credential on October 1, 2012 you will only be able to renew your center-based Preschool CDA Credential online.

What types of payments are accepted online?

Credit cards and electronic checks can be processed completely online within YourCDA.

We will also accept personal checks, money orders and vouchers. These forms of payment require an additional step and cannot be processed completely online. To submit payment in one of these three forms you will need to:

  1. Select your form of payment in the online application
  2. Print the YourCDA cover letter
  3. Follow the instructions on the cover letter to fax, email or mail your payment to the Council. Your cover letter must be included with your payment to prevent delays in your CDA credentialing process.

Can I pay online using a scholarship or purchase order?

Yes, however, this form of payment requires an additional step and cannot be processed completely online. To submit a scholarship or purchase order payment you will need to:

  1. Select “Voucher” in the payment section of the online application
  2. Print the YourCDA cover letter
  3. Follow the instructions on the cover letter to fax, email or mail your payment to the Council. Your cover letter must be included with your payment to prevent delays in your CDA credentialing process.

I forgot my password, what do I do?

Go to the YourCDA login screen and under the login button, click “forgot username or password” link. Complete the requested information and an email will be sent to you with instructions on how to reset your password.

I did not get the email with my temporary password, what do I do?

Try registering again to make sure that you entered your right email address.

Some email addresses have tight security and might filter out the temporary password message. You can prevent this by:

  1. Adding yourcda @ yourcda.org to your safe list.
  2. Asking your network administrator to add yourcda @ yourcda.org to the organization’s safe list.

Sometimes it’s fastest to use another email address. For example, Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail. You can easily set up another email address if needed.

Nothing appears when I try to log in to YourCDA, what do I do?

Make sure to disable the pop up blockers on your computer. Click here for further instructions.

My ECE Reviewer has not received the recommendation request, what do I do?

Go to step 2 of the application and click “edit”. Please make sure that your ECE Reviewer’s email address is correct. If not, correct it and resend request.

If the email address is correct, then your ECE Reviewer’s security settings are preventing the request from arriving. Please ask your ECE Reviewer to place yourcda@yourcda.org on his or her safe list or use a different email address for your ECE Reviewer.

How do I convert my training units into clock hours?

To renew, you must be able to provide documented proof of 4.5 CEUS, 45 Clock hours, or a three credit hour college course in Early Childhood Education or Child Development. A combination of the credit types may be used.

Please use the following formulas to convert your training units to clock hours:
1 CEU = 10 clock hours
1 Semester Credit = 15 clock hours
1 Quarter Credit = 10 clock hours

How do I submit my training documents to the Council?

Once you complete your application through to your payment, YourCDA will generate a cover letter with a list of items you need to submit to the Council. Whether you choose to fax, email or mail the supporting documents you must include your cover letter with your submission.

How do I submit a message to the Council?

Login to the YourCDA online application system. In the “Messages” section, create a new message and click submit. This message will automatically be submitted to the Council for review.

How do I check my status online?

Login to the YourCDA online application system. Across the top, you will see a set of icons, the last highlighted icon is where you are in the CDA credentialing process. Once your payment is accepted, you will be able to print the YourCDA cover letter which will give you information on how to submit your documents.

Council Store

Council Bookstore purchases are nonreturnable and nonrefundable. All orders are final.

You can trust that your order will be quickly processed and safely delivered. The Council Bookstore now accepts online orders up to $10,000. We can ship orders anywhere in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. All publications are shipped via UPS Ground, please allow 10-14 business days to receive your order. Our shipping charges are flat rate based on the cost of your purchase. For international shipping (including the US Virgin Islands and other US territories) or bookstore questions contact us at (202) 265-9090.

Please be advised: As of January 1, 2014, a 5.75% sales tax will be added to all publication orders shipped to addresses in the District of Columbia. The 5.75% sales tax also applies to publications sold and picked up in person from the Council for Professional Recognition headquarters in Washington, DC.

This sales tax policy does not apply to:

military bases
tax exempt organizations who have an IRS Determination letter on file with the Council and are submitting payment via purchase order
resale organizations who have a resale certificate on file with the Council and are submitting payment via purchase order

Please contact the Council immediately at (202) 265-9090 or via email at info@cdacouncil.org.

Please contact the Council immediately at (202) 265-9090 or via email at info@cdacouncil.org.

We respect your privacy. Any and all information collected on this site will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, disclosed to third parties or reused without your permission. Any information you give to us will be held with care and will not be used in ways that you have not consented to.

The Council for Professional Recognition does not offer bulk pricing discounts on book or merchandise orders. During the year, the Council offers discounts from time to time from our online bookstore. These discounts range from 10 – 30%, and apply to online orders only. Please visit our What’s New page and subscribe to our monthly CounciLINK newsletter to stay informed.

Resources

Agencies

View More

CDA Renewal Amnesty

View More

Media Room

View More

Webinars & Tutorials

View More