Online Child Development Training Program | Penn Foster Career School

Child Development Training Certificate

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments
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Program Overview

Penn Foster Career School's Online Child Development Training Certificate teaches students a well-balanced view of a child’s developmental process, as well as information on the importance of health, safety, and nutrition. This Certificate fulfills the 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care that is required in order to apply for the CDA credential.

As a child care professional, you know how important the learning process is. Penn Foster Career School will help you further your own education through affordable, effective online training at a pace that’s right for you.

Penn Foster College, licensed in Arizona, also offers an Online Undergraduate Certificate in CDA Credential Preparation which not only allows you to fulfill the 120-hours of formal education required with college level courses, but also ensures that upon graduation you will have completed the Professional Portfolio necessary to apply for the CDA.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

This certificate is designed to meet the CDA requirement for 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care, covering the fundamentals of early childhood education, child growth and development, and health, safety, and nutrition for young children.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Know how to supervise and monitor the safety of children in their care
  • Understand the preparation of meals and snacks, helping children keep good hygiene, changing diapers, and sanitizing toys and play equipment
  • Know how to organize activities and implement a curriculum that allow children to learn about the world and explore interests; support children's emotional and social development, encouraging understanding of others and positive self-concepts
  • Recognize signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring the problems to the attention of parents
  • Understand the keeping of records of children’s progress, routines, and interest, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered

Course 1

ECE111 Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education 45 hours

This course is designed to teach you the importance and benefit of early childhood education.


  • Describe the philosophies of various types of early childhood education programs.
  • Equip and organize an effective early childhood classroom.
  • Participate in a webinar and complete an observation report project.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Foundations of Early Childhood Education: Teaching Children in a Diverse Setting

Course 2

ECE220 Child Growth and Development 45 hours

Child growth and development is impacted by both genetics and environment.


  • Understand the basics of child psychology.
  • Recognize the interplay of both genetics and the environment on child growth and development.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Child Development

Course 3

ECE130 Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child 45 hours

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.
Additional Course Material


  • The Young Child and the Environment:
  • Issues Related to Health, Nutrition, Safety, and Physical Activity
Graded Project

Early childhood educators are responsible for selecting developmentally appropriate toys for children of various age groups and stages of development. For this graded project, research the guidelines for selecting developmentally appropriate toys for a child in a specific age group.

Course 4

ECE240 Assessment in Early Childhood Education 45 hours

The current emphasis on producing high-quality, comprehensive programming for young children requires early-learning professionals to develop excellent observation and assessment skills.


  • Understand the purpose of observation and assessment in the early childhood classroom.
  • Describe the process of collecting and recording observations.
  • Foster child development in each learning area.
  • Share your observations with the children’s family members.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Observing Development of the Young Child

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, 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, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

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.

Sample Lesson

To view a Child Development Training sample lesson, click here.

Child Development Training Certificate Details

Penn Foster Career School can help you gain applicable knowledge and skills to help you take the first step towards a career in child development. Topics include child psychology and relevant trends and health and care standards in the development of young children. You will complete courses covering the fundamentals of early childhood education, child growth and development, and health, safety, and nutrition for young children.

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

child development associate C.D.A. certification

You can improve your child development knowledge for a current job or potential career in public or private school classrooms, after-school and day care programs, camps or preschool centers, 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
  • Books and learning aids
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Child Development Training Certificate academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Will I earn my CDA Credential after completing the CDA Training Certificate Program?

No, this certificate fulfills the 120 hours of formal education related to professional child care that is required in order to apply for the CDA credential. In addition, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older and have high school diploma or GED
  • Develop your professional portfolio
  • Have 480 hours of professional experience working with the age group in which you are seeking your credential within the last 3 years
  • Purchase an application packet at, pay the application fee, and complete all assessment requirements mandated by the Council for Professional Recognition

For more information on the CDA Credential, please visit the CDA Council’s website at You may call the council at: 1-800-424-4310 (toll free) or email them at [email protected].

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Childcare Workers, on the Internet here. Statements found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.

The completion of a certificate-level program does not typically qualify a student for employment. Completion of this program may assist students who have previous academic or work related experience improve their chances for promotion or entry-level employment.

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