CDA Credential

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, administered by the Council for Professional Recognition, is a nationally recognized credential in the field of early childhood education. The CDA Credential is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement for early educators and must be renewed every three years.

Benefits of Earning a CDA Credential

  • Advance your career.
  • Meet job requirements.
  • Reinforce your commitment to early childhood education.
  • Provide parents with peace of mind.
  • Understand developmentally appropriate practice.
  • Increase your confidence.

CDA Credential Settings

Candidates can earn the CDA Credential in four different early childhood education settings:

  1. Pre-K (center-based)
  2. Infant/Toddler (center-based)
  3. Family Child Care (home-based)
  4. Home Visitor

Am I Eligible to Earn a CDA Credential?

To be eligible to apply for a CDA, early childhood professionals must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED, or be a high school junior or senior enrolled in an early education/child development vocational program.
  • Volunteer or work in a licensed/regulated child care program.

What Are the Costs for a CDA Credential?

The costs related to obtaining a CDA Credential include:

  • Training and/or education fees needed to achieve the 120 clock hours of professional education covering the eight CDA Subject Areas.
  • $25, plus shipping and handling, to purchase a CDA Competency Standards Book.
  • $425 for the initial CDA Credential application fee.
  • $150 to renew your CDA Credential after three years (or if applying online, the fee is $125).
Alaska SEED's CDA Application/Renewal Award can help you pay for the application and renewal fees.

What Supports Are Available to Me?

If you operate or work in a licensed early childhood education program and are a member of the Alaska SEED Registry, you may be eligible for a CDA Application/Renewal Award to pay for the CDA application and renewal fees.  A Professional Development Reimbursement (PDR) can help you pay for training, and a Travel Reimbursement (TR) can help you with travel costs to obtain training. 

thread, which houses and manages Alaska SEED, can also help you obtain a CDA Credential by:

  • Advising you on the CDA process, eligibility, and requirements.
  • Reviewing your training/education transcript to determine which credits will be accepted by the Council for Professional Recognition, and providing advisement to ensure the requirements for formal child care education are met.
  • Providing training accepted by the Council for Professional Recognition.
  • Conducting Verification Visits as part of the assessment process.

Contact thread at 907.265.3100 or [email protected].

To learn more about the CDA Credential, visit the Council for Professional Recognition's website.