The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential is the most widely recognized credential in the Early Childhood Education field and is awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. Students at NPRC can choose a CDA age level for Infant-Toddler or Preschool. This program offers a stackable credential and regardless of the path to receive the CDA, it transfers directly into NPRC’s Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education.
To earn a CDA, students must have a high school diploma, complete 120 hours of professional education, complete 480 hours of work experience within the last three years at a licensed early childhood facility, compile a professional portfolio, pass the CDA exam, and have a satisfactory verification visit.
While NPRC does not directly grant the CDA Credential, NPRC has two pathways for helping you prepare for the CDA exam, professional portfolio, and verification visit.
The Early Care Education Professional Development Organization at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is providing funding through the Northwest Institute of Research, Early Learning Resource Center Region 1 (ELRC), to underwrite the cost of tuition for this community-based CDA program. Currently employed child care workers wishing to acquire the CDA credential and participate in this training should contact the ELRC at 814-836-5898 or toll-free at 1-800-860-2281 to learn more about applying for funding. Please contact a workforce development specialist for any additional questions you may have!
Students who are granted the CDA Credential by the Council for Professional Recognition may apply for prior learning credit toward NPRC’s Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. This prior learning credit may be used to satisfy program requirements in ECE 110: Introduction to Early Childhood Education (3 credits) and ECE 118: Family Involvement and Collaboration (3 credits).
Portions of NPRC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) curriculum aligns with requirements for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Professional Portfolio. Two courses, each earning three academic credits, include assessments and outcomes that help students prepare to meet CDA requirements:
- ECE 110: Introduction to Early Childhood Education (offered Fall only)
- ECE 118: Family Involvement and Collaboration (offered Spring only)
A third ECE program course, of the student’s choice, is selected to fulfill their required 120-hours of professional education. The following courses are recommended options and contain content to help students prepare for the CDA exam:
- ECE 120: Instructional and Classroom Design for Early Childhood Curricula
- ECE 216: Social and Emotional Growth of Infants and Toddlers (offered Fall only)
- ECE 230: Child Development: Birth to Age 5 (offered Spring of even calendar years)
- ECE 232: Child Development: Ages 5-10 (offered Fall of even calendar years)
- ECE 233: Infant Physical and Cognitive Development: Birth to 12 Months (offered Spring of even calendar years)
- ECE 234: Toddler Physical and Cognitive Development: 12 to 36 Months (offered Fall of even calendar years)
Students who successfully complete these three required courses will be prepared to take the CDA exam and complete their verification visit.
Completion of the credit-bearing CDA coursework satisfies nine academic credits toward the Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. Students who complete any three ECE courses may be awarded 120-hours in the Pennsylvania Professional Development Registry (the statewide Early Childhood Education Workforce Registry).