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What Is a Childhood Development Associate?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A childhood development associate (CDA) is an educator or care provider who has successfully passed a credentialing program administered by the Council for Professional Recognition in the United States. The CDA certification is an entry level credential that allows care providers to demonstrate key skills and professionalism. Also known as the child development associate credential, it requires completion of classroom training, work under supervision from an experienced care provider, and an assessment by an administrator.

There are four separate subject areas within the childhood development associate credential, each of which must be applied for individually. They include preschool, infant and toddler, family, and home visitor qualifications. Each requires different early childhood education coursework as well as practical experience. A person with a certification in one area has a reduced hours requirement for the others in recognition of the fact that the basic training is the same.

A childhood development associate credential could be useful to someone wishing to work in a daycare.
A childhood development associate credential could be useful to someone wishing to work in a daycare.

Six areas of competency are covered by this credential. They include the ability to create a safe, nurturing environment for children, advancing the intellectual and physical development of young children, and supporting emotional development. In addition, the childhood development associate needs to be able to successfully administer a program tailored to the needs of individual children, grow and improve family relationships, and behave with professionalism. The focus of the program is on early childhood development at home, in daycare settings, and at preschool.

Individuals who will be working with young children may be required to have childhood development associate credentials.
Individuals who will be working with young children may be required to have childhood development associate credentials.

Applicants for the childhood development associate credential need to complete early childhood education classes and work under supervision before they can apply. If an applicant is qualified, the council will send an authorized representative to conduct a verification visit. The visit includes testing, an interview, review of references, and other procedures to determine if the applicant meets the competency requirements set by the organization. If the examiner is satisfied, the applicant earns the credential.

Employers may require childhood development associate credentials from those who will be working with young children. Workers may also need to pass background checks, depending on regional laws. Some people earn the credential as they work toward more advanced certifications to allow them to work with young children, develop curricula, and teach in a variety of environments. Care providers with this certification may advertise it along with their other credentials and experience for the benefit of clients who want to be sure that in home or day care will be safe, stimulating, and nurturing for their children.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • A childhood development associate credential could be useful to someone wishing to work in a daycare.
      By: sdenness
      A childhood development associate credential could be useful to someone wishing to work in a daycare.
    • Individuals who will be working with young children may be required to have childhood development associate credentials.
      By: Rob
      Individuals who will be working with young children may be required to have childhood development associate credentials.