How do I get my Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential?
Applying for your CDA Credential involves several steps. Unlike many other certifications, you don't just sit for an exam. You'll need to have 120 hours of formal education in early childhood classes, obtain 480 hours of documented experience working with young children, and have a professional portfolio that meets competency standards as laid out by the CDA Council. For more information about the application process and prerequisites, view the frequently asked questions on the CDA Council website here.
Is a CDA equivalent to an associate degree?
No, a CDA is not equivalent to an associate degree. A Child Development Associate or CDA Credential is a designation that is earned through education, eligible work hours, and a certification exam while an associate degree is a full college program. Those looking to earn a CDA do not need a college degree, but they do need 120 hours of approved education in childcare.
How much does a CDA make an hour?
The average hourly pay for someone working in childcare can vary based on experience, credentials, and even the state you live in. Earning your CDA can offer opportunities for career advancement and pay raises in child care facilities. On average, according to PayScale, someone with a CDA can earn $12.57 per hour in an entry-level job.¹
What are the most important qualities of a good child care development associate?
Successful CDAs often have some qualities in common. Generally, they're passionate about working with young children, are patient, have strong observational skills, and can work comfortably with a variety of personalities.