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Earn your undergraduate certificate and take the first steps toward a career that allows you to work with children with Penn Foster College’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential Preparation program. This quality, affordable program offers preparation for CDA certification - the most widely recognized credential in Early Childhood Education. The college-level course work and the CDA Credential are key stepping stones on the path of career advancement in this field.
Why choose Penn Foster College's CDA classes?
Upon graduation, you will meet the Child Development Associate requirement of 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care, and you will have built a professional portfolio required for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
The CDA Competency Standards book is included in your program and will align with the setting you choose
In our CDA classes, you will prepare CDA portfolio items, participate in discussions boards and live webinars, and complete course assignments specific to CDA requirements
Flexibility to study at the time and pace that’s right for you
Payment plans are available to fit any budget and includes 0% interest
All instructors are Professional Development Specialists as approved by the CDA Council
Infant/Toddler Center-Based CDA (children ages 0–36 months) — Choose this setting if you work or plan to work in a center setting and care primarily for infants and toddlers.
Preschool Center-Based CDA (children ages 3–5 years) — Select this setting if you work or plan to work in a center setting and care primarily for preschoolers.
Family Child Care CDA (children ages 0–5 years) — Select this setting if you work or plan to work in a residential home setting. Registered, licensed, and group-home child care facilities fall into this category.
This undergraduate certificate program helps students fulfill the 120 hour educational component and compile the required portfolio of items necessary to obtain the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, the most widely recognized credential in Early Childhood Education. The college-level course work and the CDA credential are key stepping stones on the path of career advancement in this field.
Each day seems to bring more dire news about health, especially children's health. However, early childhood educators and staff have the potential to create enormous, positive changes in the way children eat, exercise, and avoid injurious habits.
Understand the components of a healthy lifestyle.
Develop programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles.
Few things are as rewarding as seeing a child’s life unfold before your eyes. As we now know from brain research, the first three years of a child’s life are critical to all future development.
Understand the importance of the first three years of a child’s life.
Make your practice individualized and inclusive.
Complete a case study project and a final project.
Additional Course Material:
Textbook:Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers
Setting 2: Preschool
ECE223-Working with Preschoolers
The preschool years are a special time in the life of young children. It's essential that teachers learn about and provide the types of activities and experiences preschool children need.
Understand how preschool children 3–5 years old learn and develop.
Create an appropriate learning environment for preschool children.
Complete two graded projects to practice your knowledge and skills.
Additional Course Material:
Textbook:Creating Environments for Learning: Birth to Age Eight
Setting 3: Family Child Care
ECE225-Family Child Care
This course includes the practical consideration of issues and responsibilities in providing family child care for infants and young children. Topics include developmental domains, developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum and creating a successful environment.
Define the needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Identify recommended practices for managing a multiage environment.
Identify the components of an effective, developmentally appropriate early childhood curriculum.
Additional Course Material:
Textbook:Family Child Care Curriculum: Teaching Through Quality Care
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 7 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, Microsoft® Office 2013, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
To view an Undergraduate Certificate in Child Development Associate Credential Preparation sample lesson, click here.
Child Development Associate (CDA) Training Certificate Details
Penn Foster College will help you prepare for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, a widely regarded credential in Early Childhood Education and an important distinction for path of career advancement in this field. Your program is comprised of college-level coursework that will help you gain the knowledge and skills as you work towards earning your CDA credential. Upon graduation, you will meet many of the prerequisites you need to sit for the CDA exam, including completion of 120 formal education hours and a professional portfolio. To date, over 300,000 CDA credentials have been awarded, with approximately 18,000 early childhood professionals becoming new CDAs annually.¹
As a child care professional, you know how important the learning process is. Penn Foster College can help you further your own education through affordable, effective online training at a pace that’s right for you.
You can improve your child development knowledge for a current job or new career in public or private school classrooms, after-school and daycare programs, camps or preschool centers, home child care facilities, and government agencies or institutions. Here are a few qualities that effective child development educators have in common:
Communicative: You listen and talk through situations with students, teachers, and parents.
Cooperative: You are pleasant and a good communicator.
Sociable: Spending time with others is fun and rewarding.
Creative: Teachers often need to think outside the box to engage young children.
Compassionate: You care about the health and well-being of others.
I am so happy that I made a career change with the help of Penn Foster. Penn Foster makes it easy, and they are always supportive and encouraging to you. Whenever I had a question, I just gave my instructors a call, and they were very helpful and easy to talk with. The online testing made it convenient, and my shipments always arrived right on time.
- Christina R., Penn Foster Graduate
Penn Foster is a great school with amazing people who always help and work with you through ANY situation. I experienced a fire in my home, and Penn Foster was there for me to cope through the situation. Thank you, and I will be doing another program soon.
- Claudia D., Penn Foster Graduate
Your program includes:
Customized payment plans with 0% interest
CDA 2.0 Competency Standards Textbook that aligns with the setting you choose: Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family Child Care
Books and learning aids
Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
Instructional support from our experienced faculty. All of the faculty in this program are Professional Development Specialists as approved by the CDA Council
Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Child Development Associate (CDA) academic group
Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising
What are the requirements to enroll in the Penn Foster College Undergraduate Certificate in CDA Credential Preparation program?
You must be at least 17 years of age and have a high school diploma or a GED to enroll in the Penn Foster College Undergraduate Certificate Program. The CDA Credential process requires candidates with a GED who apply for the credential to be at least 18 years of age.
Will I earn my CDA Credential after completing the Penn Foster College Undergraduate Certificate in CDA Credential Preparation?
No, only the Council for Professional Recognition can award the CDA Credential. The Penn Foster College Undergraduate Certificate is designed to help you prepare to apply for your CDA Credential. With this program, you will:
Prepare for the CDA Credential exam through your lessons
Receive 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care
Complete a professional portfolio
All of these are requirements for obtaining the CDA Credential. To see a full list of requirements of the CDA Credential process, visit the CDA Credential Overview page.
Statements regarding growth in this field are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.