The Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credentials are one of the most widely recognized credentials for early learning professionals.  Earning your CDA can be a challenging process but one definitely worth undertaking!

The program is a multi-step process administered by the Council for Professional Recognition, commonly known as the CDA Council.  Try our free class "How to Earn Your CDA Credentials" for a comprehensive review of the CDA Credential program.

FAQs about the CDA process

One of the requirements for earning your CDA Credential is to complete 120 hours of early childhood education training.  Your training will need to include at least 10 hours in each of the 8 CDA subject areas: 

CDA Subject Areas

  1. Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  2. Advancing children's physical and intellectual development
  3. Supporting children's social and emotional development
  4. Building productive relationships with families
  5. Managing an effective program operation
  6. Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  7. Observing and recording children's behavior
  8. Understanding principles of child development and learning

Additionally, the training needs to be specific to your chosen CDA setting (i.e., infant/toddler, preschool or family child care). 

SafeGard Classes Online offers a number of different CDA training packages to meet your needs, both for the Initial CDA as well as the Renewal:

Intial CDA

Our 120 hour packages contain at least 80 hours of pre-selected classes with a minimum of 10 hours of training in each of these areas.  You can select from 3 different packages, each specific to your CDA settting:

120 hrs: Pre-selected 80 hours + You Choose 40 hours - this option provides the required courses in each of the CDA Subject Areas plus 40 hours of classes that you can choose from our wide range of classes.

120 hrs: Pre-selected for CDA Setting Type - this package contains 120 hours of the best selection of classes to meet both the CDA Subject Area requirements as well as being specific to your chosen setting type.

80 hrs: Pre-selected for 8 CDA Subject Areas - if you already have at least 40 hours of training, you can select this package which offers 10 hours of classes in each of the 8 CDA Subject Areas (total of 80 hours), also specific to your CDA setting type.


Renewal CDA

You'll need to renew your CDA every 3 years to keep your skills fresh and stay updated on the latest child development theories and practices.  

For the CDA renewal, there are several required steps, including completing 45 hours of early childhood education specific to your CDA setting type.  We offer 2 training packages for the renewal:

45 hrs: Pre-selected for CDA Setting Type - this packages has 45 hours of classes chosen specifically for each CDA setting type and to supplement the initial CDA curriculum.    

45 hrs: You Choose Classes - if you'd like to select your own classes, this will allow you to customize 45 hours of classes specific to your unique needs.  You can choose from a wide range of classes in topics from Autism to Working with Humor.


The process can get a little overwhelming to keep on top of the various requirements, especially when you've got a full-time job on top of all that!  As a Proud Partner to the Council for Professional Recognition (CDA Council), SafeGard Classes Online is able to help you streamline the process and provide support as you pursue your credentials.


Here are some additional resources to help guide you through the process and make it a streamlined and rewarding endeavor!

What is the CDA Credential?

Apply for a CDA

Guide to preparing for your CDA Credential

Which is the best CDA training package for me?

Do I need a CDA for my job?

5 great reasons to earn your CDA today!

High-Quality Educators Need Good Training

How to earn your CDA

How long does it take to earn your CDA?

Ensuring high-quality training classes

Webinars and tutorials about the process

Scholarships available in your state


If you want to take your career to the next level or just want to feel more confident as a teacher, get started earning your CDA Credential today!  To learn more about the CDA Credentials, please contact us and we'll help guide you through the process.