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.


Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the Council will be celebrating 45 years of the CDA by offering a limited-time CDA Renewal Amnesty Program. This program will allow anyone with a CDA credential expiration date as far back as January 1, 2010, an opportunity to complete the renewal process and make their credential active again. Click here for more info.

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
  • 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.