How to earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™

Click here for eligibility and educational requirements

Apply to the Council for Professional Recognition

The Competency Standards Books contain all necessary application materials. They are available from the Council's online bookstore. Be sure to purchase the book that matches the setting in which you will be assessed (infant/toddler, preschool, family child care, etc.).

The candidate will choose a Professional Development Specialist who will complete their Verification Visit and indicate this person on the application.

The assessment fee is $425. T.E.A.C.H. offers scholarships to help with this fee.

Once the Council processes this application and assessment fee, the candidate will receive a "Ready to Schedule" notice.

Within the 6 months following the "Ready to Schedule" notice:

A. The candidate must schedule and take the CDA Exam at a PearsonVUE testing center.

The CDA Exam consists of 65 multiple-choice questions to be completed within one hour and 45 minutes. This exam is offered in both English and Spanish to all candidates.

B. The candidate must arrange and complete the Verification Visit with the Professional Development Specialist.

The Verification Visit is made up of three components (R.O.R. Model).
       -Review of the Professional Portfolio, Family Questionnaires, and transcripts/certificates
       -Observation of the candidate by the PD Specialist
       -Reflective Dialogue

Resources:

CDA Assessment Fee Scholarship Overview

T.E.A.C.H. will provide 85% ($360.00) of the CDA assessment fee and the recipient will provide the remaining 15% ($65.00). Upon receiving the CDA credential, the recipient is awarded a bonus of $300 if the CDA is earned with the 12 college credits recommended by the Iowa Community College Alliance.  All other candidates will receive a $200 bonus. The recipient also commits to continue working in Iowa in the field of early childhood for 6 additional months after the credential is awarded.