What Can I Do With a CDA Certificate? How to Get It (FAQs)

Pursuing a career in early childhood development can be very fulfilling.

The Childhood Development Associate (CDA) certification is one of the most valuable credentials for those in the early childhood development field or aspiring to enter it.

This post will discuss what you can do with a CDA certificate. It will also discuss how you can get a CDA certificate.

What is a CDA Certification?

A CDA certification is a credential that proves that an early childhood educator possesses the knowledge and skills required to care for kids below five years old.

The Council for Professional Recognition offers this certification. Getting a CDA certification is difficult as the process is very taxing.

However, this certificate is arguably the most valuable credential in the early childhood development field.

What are the Benefits of Obtaining a CDA Certificate?

Here is what enrolling in a CDA certificate will do for you:

1. It boosts your knowledge:

Enrolling in a CDA certification program will enable you to understand developmentally appropriate practices for children better.

This knowledge can significantly enhance your ability to provide young learners effective and meaningful learning experiences.

You will learn about child development stages, creating a nurturing environment, and facilitating age-appropriate activities that promote growth and learning.

This knowledge will make you a better professional and allow you to land better jobs.

2. It facilitates career advancement:

Earning a CDA certification can open up opportunities for career advancement within early childhood education.

Many employers, including schools, daycares, and preschools, value this certification and may prefer individuals who hold it.

With a CDA, you might qualify for higher-level positions, such as lead teacher or supervisor.

3. It grows your confidence:

As you gain a deeper understanding of child development and effective teaching strategies, you will likely feel more confident in your interactions with children.

This confidence can positively impact your ability to connect with and guide young learners, creating a more enriching learning environment for them.

4. Attraction of professional recognition:

Holding a CDA certification showcases your commitment to early childhood education.

It distinguishes you as someone who has gone the extra mile to develop the skills and knowledge needed to provide high-quality care and education to young children.

5. Enhancement in communication skills:

The CDA certification process often involves learning effective communication techniques with children and their parents or guardians.

These skills will give you more meaningful interactions and relationships with children and their families.

6. It facilitates continued learning:

Obtaining a CDA certification will encourage you to engage in consistent professional development.

As a CDA holder, you will continue seeking new training, courses, and workshops to help you stay updated with the latest research and best practices in early childhood education.

Doing this increases your professional rating and enables you to remain at the pinnacle of your career.

Steps for Obtaining a CDA Certification

Here are the steps for obtaining a CDA certificate:

1. Obtain a high school diploma:

To obtain a CDA certificate, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Through this, you will acquire the essential reading and writing skills to understand the lessons in a CDA certificate program.

2. Complete 120 hours of CDA training:

Enroll and complete about 120 hours of CDA certificate training.

Such training concentrates mainly on the growth and development of children who are not up to the age of 5.

However, when choosing an agency that specializes in early childhood teacher preparation training, ensure that you enroll in a school whose program is accredited by the Council for Professional Recognition.

The requirements for enrolling in a standard CDA certification program are an official transcript and a certificate that shows that you have completed 120 hours of training in the following areas; learning environment, children’s behavior, emotional development, and program operation.

Other areas include:

  • Intellectual development,
  • Family relationships,
  • Professionalism,
  • Development principles, and
  • Education.

3. Select your certification type:

There are several types of CDA certificates. It would be best to choose a type that aligns with your interests.

4. Accumulate about 480 hours of experience working with children:

To acquire a CDA certification, you must have up to 480 hours of experience working with children. Institutions that run centre-based programs remain the best places to obtain this experience level.

It would be best to accumulate these hours precisely three years before taking the qualifying exam.

5. Apply for a CDA certificate and professional portfolio:

You can apply for a CDA certificate either through their online platform or physically.

For your application to be processed, you have to pay a certain fee that cannot be refunded under any conditions.

Within six months of applying for the CDA certificate, take the steps in the “CDA Competency Standards” book to obtain a professional portfolio.

To achieve this, you must submit certain documents, answer some questionnaires, and provide competency statements, resources, and a philosophy statement.

6. Take the CDA certification exam:

The CDA certification exam is held at different test locations.

You can search the online platform to locate the test location that is closest to you.

The exam consists of 65 multiple-choice questions as well as some situational assessments.

The passing score of the CDA certification exam is 70% and above, and the testing centre directly uploads all scores to the council.

7. Look for a Professional Development specialist to complete your verification visit:

Immediately after you have accumulated the required training hours, obtained relevant work experience, and crafted your portfolio; you will get a message from the Council for Professional Development informing you that you can schedule a visit with a CDA Professional Development Specialist (PD).

To actualize this, check the council’s records and choose a professional who works nearby.

8. Submit exam and verification scores to the Council of Professional Recognition:

To get a CDA certification, send your exam and verification score to the Council of Professional Recognition.

If you don’t make any error when doing this, the council will notify you of their decision within three working days, and if it’s positive, you can officially be recognized as a CDA expert.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on CDA Certificate

What is the CDA certificate equivalent to?

Certified Childcare Professional and the Child and Youth Care Worker Certificate are some certifications comparable to the CDA certificate.

How long can you use a CDA certificate?

You can use a CDA certificate for three years from the recipient date.

How much can you make if you have a CDA certificate?

You can earn as much as $100,000 per year if you have a CDA certificate.

Is the CDA certificate globally acknowledged?

A CDA certificate is an international certification accepted worldwide as proof of expertise in the early childhood development industry.


The Childhood Development Associate (CDA) certification is among the most valuable early childhood development industry credentials.

The Council for Professional Recognition offers this certification.

This post has done well to provide the steps for obtaining this certificate.

However, you would do yourself so much good if you obtained other certifications besides the CDA certificate as an early childhood development professional.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Abasiofon Fidelis
Abasiofon Fidelis

Abasiofon Fidelis is a professional writer who loves to write about college life and college applications. He has been writing articles for over 3 years. He is the Content Manager at School and Travel.

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