(Please use the tabs along the top for more CDA information.)
What is the CDA Credential?
The Child Development Associate Credential from the Council for Professional Recognition is a national credential awarded to early childhood educators who meet competency standards in both education and experience. Competency is measured by completing:
Are you eligible to apply for the CDA credential? How do you know? Watch this short video to help you determine if you are eligible and what you might still need to be eligible. If you need additional assistance to determine eligibility, please contact our Rasmussen CDA Liaison at email@example.com
Once you determine if you are eligible, start by making sure you have the materials you need.
You will need a NEW CDA Competency Handbook (Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family Child Care).
Your CDA Handbook
Call the Personal Support Center (866-693-2211) and request that a copy of the CDA Handbook for your chosen age group be sent using the following ordering codes:
3. Your CDA Handbook will be ordered and physically sent to the address on file with your school records.
Throughout the following courses, you will be learning more about the CDA Credential and preparing for the CDA Credential application.
Rasmussen University has embedded the preparation steps for the CDA Credential application into three of the core early childhood education courses within the Certificate/Diploma and Associate degree programs. While you complete these courses, you are not only earning college credit, but you are also completing the educational hours required, and the portfolio items for the CDA Credential application.
Across all three courses, your course content will cover the CDA Credential Competency Standards which are divided into 6 goals and 12 functional areas:
CDA COMPETENCY STANDARDS AND FUNCTIONAL AREAS
Goal I. To establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning environment
3. Learning Environment
Goal II. To advance physical and intellectual competence
Goal III. To support social and emotional development and to provide positive guidance
Goal IV. To establish positive and productive relationships with families
Goal V. To ensure a well-run, purposeful program responsive to participant needs
12. Program Management
Goal VI. To maintain a commitment to professionalism
Throughout the courses, you will complete items to include in your CDA Professional Portfolio. Please refer to the Portfolio Tab above for more specific details.
As you complete your courses, you should also be assembling your CDA Professional Portfolio.
The CDA credential process requires all candidates to produce a Portfolio to document evidence of their competence in three (3) areas:
Refer to your CDA Handbook for all details on each of the Professional Portfolio items. Use this chart below to locate where you will either complete items within your courses or find items in your CDA Handbook.
How do I organize my CDA Professional Portfolio?
STEP 1: Obtain materials to create Portfolio
STEP 2: Print CDA Tab Inserts and Divider Inserts or determine another method for clearly labeling sections and portfolio items
STEP 3: Organize your Professional Portfolio by using the “Assembling Your Professional Portfolio as Physical Binder” document below. Be sure to use the Tab Inserts and Divider Inserts linked below for better organization.
STEP 4: Print your completed assignments and insert them into your Professional Portfolio accordingly.
New video: Organizing Your Professional Portfolio
Your CDA Professional Portfolio illustrates your unique accomplishments and abilities; therefore, no two portfolios should look alike. You are encouraged to use and add to your portfolio as you grow throughout your career.
What do I do with my Professional Portfolio?
You will provide your physical, completed CDA Professional Portfolio to your PD Specialist at your Verification Visit as part of the application process.
Before you start your application for the CDA, you must request feedback from the families in your program. This is part of your CDA Professional Portfolio. Refer to your CDA Competency Handbook for the details.
Family Questionnaires provide families a chance to share your strengths and areas of professional growth from their point of view.
NOTE: This step must be completed before the Verification Visit. Your PD Specialist will review the Family Questionnaire Summary sheet and reflect with you during the visit. Your PD Specialist will not review the individual questionnaires themselves, but you must include them in your portfolio.
The Family Questionnaire is provided below:
As part of your Professional Portfolio, you must provide specific documentation of your educational hours toward the CDA Credential.
Be sure to follow the directions below for the proper documents for your situation and what is needed in your own portfolio!
CDA Documentation of Formal Education
If you completed the three courses (EEC1700, EEC1202 and EEC1735) with Rasmussen University, you must include the Documentation of Formal Education form along with your college transcript in your CDA Professional Portfolio. This form confirms that the courses you completed meet the subject area requirement.
You must include a copy of an unofficial or official transcript in your CDA Professional Portfolio.
The CDA Credential Application process begins at the beginning of your Foundations of Child Development Course. Download and follow the document below for steps to take to prepare and apply for your CDA Credential.
CDA "How To" Videos
The CDA Council has provided short and informative "How To?" videos for the online application process. You can fin them here:
We recommend the following videos to get you started:
Q: How long does it take to receive my Ready to Schedule notice? Once the CDA Council receives your application and then records your payment, it may take several weeks to process your application and send you the Ready to Schedule notice. You can also check your YourCouncil account for an update on your status and your notice as well.
Q: What is a Documentation of Formal Education Form? This document indicates your completion of the 120 hours of education from Rasmussen University required to apply for your CDA Credential. This form is provided in your Health, Safety and Nutrition Course. Complete this form and place it in your CDA Binder. See the Formal Education tab above for additional information.
Q: The Documentation of Formal Education form is asking for my application number? Your application number will be the last four digits of your social security number.
Q: My PD Specialist is asking for an official transcript? An unofficial transcript will suffice, as long as you also include your Documentation of Formal Education form.
Q: I’m missing assignments/resource file items in my binder? Identify which assignments you are missing and which course they originated in in by using the CDA Professional Portfolio Items Chart found on the Documents & Resources Tab. . Then call the 24/7 Personal Support Center at 1-866-693-2211 and they can help you retrieve a missing assignment.
What is a Professional Development (PD) Specialist?
The CDA PD Specialist is responsible for completing the CDA Verification Visit with the you. The PD Specialist reviews your documentation, observes you while working with children, and conducts a reflective dialogue with you during the visit. At the end of the Verification Visit, the PD Specialist electronically submits your scores to the Council.
To complete the online CDA Credential application, applicants must locate a PD Specialist. This can be done by using the special search tool on the CDA Council website.
Things to remember:
The Find a PD Specialist Directory is a database for you to use to locate a CDA PD Specialist in your area to conduct the CDA Verification Visit.
To use the Find-A-PD Specialist Online Directory, enter your work zip code, your setting and the language in which they teach into the database. The database will generate the names and descriptions of PD Specialists nearest to you. Then select the nearest PD Specialist and send a request to the PD Specialist to conduct their CDA Verification Visit. If the PD Specialist is available to complete the verification visit, they will respond to you with their PD Specialist ID number. The PD Specialist ID number is required to complete and submit the CDA application.
Beginning with students who started with Spring Quarter 2022 Term 1, Rasmussen will no longer be paying for initial application fees for students applying for the CDA Credential. Students applying for the CDA Credential will be responsible for paying the initial CDA Credential application fee on their own.
If you started at Rasmussen prior to Spring quarter 2022, Rasmussen would still pay the CDA Credential online application fee only for current degree students applying for their initial CDA Credential. Rasmussen University does not pay for CDA renewal applications.
New Video: Verification Visit and Exam
Once you have received the Ready to Schedule Notice informing you that you can proceed to schedule your Verification Visit and your CDA Exam, you can then schedule your Verification Visit with your PD Specialist.
Note: You may not schedule or hold the Verification Visit or Exam prior to receiving that Ready to Schedule notice.
Your Verification Visit is a chance to demonstrate your competence and expertise with the CDA competencies. This may sound scary, but it really is a chance to demonstrate what you already do every day! Here is a video provided by the Council for Professional Recognition on how to prepare and participate in the Verification Visit.
>Link to the video from the Video tab on Completing the Verification Visit and CDA Exam from the Council.<
No Surprises! Review your CDA Handbook and the Comprehensive Scoring Instrument located at the end of the CDA Handbook. This Comprehensive Scoring Instrument is a play by play for what the PD Specialist will be looking for while observing you and reviewing your Professional Portfolio.
Suggestion: Read through the Comprehensive Scoring Instrument prior to your Visit. What would you indicate for yourself? Use this as a time to start thinking about your strengths, areas of growth and professional development goals.
The PD Specialist will do the following at your Visit:
R- Review your Professional Portfolio and all documentation
O- Observe you in action with children
R-Reflect with you your strengths, areas of growth and help you set professional development goals.
This process will take several hours and requires a time period at the end where you meet one-on-one with the PD Specialist. Be sure to arrange this with your Director before the visit as most likely you will need to have another teacher step in for you for about 1 hour.
The CDA Exam is taken online at a Pearson Vue Testing site. You will receive all the details for how to schedule your exam when you receive your Read to Schedule Notice. You cannot schedule it prior to receiving that notice.
Format: The CDA Exam consists of 65 questions, multiple choice and scenario based. You can find sample exam questions in your CDA Handbook!
Suggestion: Read through the sample questions in the CDA Handbook. How did you do? If you are still shaky, read through the Competency Standards and Functional Areas in your CDA Handbook. This will give you an overview of what a CDA demonstrates.
This video will provide you with information for what the CDA Exam will look like, how it will be provided and what to expect.
>Link to the video from the Video tab on Completing the Verification Visit and CDA Exam from the Council.<
A tutorial on how to take the CDA Exam is provided on the Council website. It does provide helpful information on how to complete the exam but does not provide practice questions. Sample exam questions are located in your CDA Handbook.
These documents and tools will help you navigate the CDA Application process:
View this series of 6 videos providing step-by-step instructions through the CDA application process.
(Note: You will need to complete a registration page to view these GoToWebinar videos.)
Renewing your CDA Credential is important to keep current with research, quality and best practices for working with the care and development of young children. CDA Credentials will expire 3 years from the date issued. Refer to your CDA Credential Certificate for the exact date.
Steps to Renewing your CDA Credential:
Watch this video to help explain the steps to renewing your CDA Credential.
Rasmussen is a proud partner of the CDA and the Council for Professional Recognition and is honored to be among a select group of early childhood education training organizations to be awarded the CDA® Gold Standard Training Certification. Our curriculum includes a focus on preparing students to apply for their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential from the Council for Professional Recognition. The certification helps ECE students find the high-quality training and support services they need to prepare for the CDA Credential.
Use the links below to register for the webinar.
Education through Play: How to Incorporate Learning through Play with Young Children
Outdoor Play Is So Much More than Climbers!
Click on the image below to view the recording from the session on Monday, April 19, 2021:
Click on the image below to view the recording from the session on Wednesday, February 9, 2022:
Click on the image below to view the recording from the session on Wednesday, May 13, 2020: