Want to advance your career in child care? The Child Development Associatiate® (CDA) Credential is one of the most well-recognized credentials in early childhood education and a great opportunity to grow your career.

The Council for Professional Recognition (CDA Council) is a non-profit organization that administers the CDA Credential program.  The Council's mission is to promote improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education of children ages birth to 5 years old.

CDA Credentialing Process Overview

CDA Webinars and Tutorials

The Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early learning professionals as they work toward becoming highly-qualified teachers of young children. 

The process for earning your Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential is outlined on the CDA Council website.  It is a multi-step process involving continuing education, experience and observation.  You can also review our Guide to Preparing for Your CDA Credential for more detailed information.

How to Earn Your CDA

Earning your Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential is a big commitment, but one that will build confidence and help you develop a good understanding of today's best practices for teaching young children. Nearly 400,000 people have already received their CDA Credentials since the program's initial offering. In fact, there is growing demand for the CDA Credentials internationally, as more and more countries seek to improve the learning environment for young children. 


What are the benefits of the Child Development Associate® Credentials?

  • An opportunity for career advancement
  • Meet your current or future job requirements
  • Reinforce your commitment to early childhood education
  • Build trust with your children's parents
  • Understand developmentally appropriate practice
  • Increase your personal and professional confidence

Watch this inspiring video about several teachers’ experience with earning their Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credentials.

This white paper from the CDA Council also provides great information about why early childhood education is important and how the CDA contributes to developing well-trained educators.


What does it cost to earn a CDA?

SafeGard Classes Online offers affordable packages for the 120-hour CDA continuing education training for the Infant/Toddler, Preschool and Family Care settings as well as the 45-hour renewal package.  You'll need to renew your CDA every 3 years to refresh your skills and keep current with industry standards and best practices.

We also offer a Head Start discount for our CDA packages.  Please contact us at [email protected] for more information.

There is an application fee from the Council for Professional Recognition (the CDA Council) to get started with your initial CDA and upon renewal.   

Affordable CDA Classes

Scholarships in Your State


How do I know if classes will be accepted by the CDA Council?

To ensure that a training provider's classes meet high-quality standards, there are several organizations that verify the quality and consistency of classes.  Two of the most widely-accepted accreditations are:

1. IACET Accredited Provider - the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) developed the original Continuing Education Unit (CEU) and ensures that providers of continuing education and training can prove they provide high-quality instruction by completing a rigorous accreditation process.

2. CDA Council's Gold Standard - the CDA Council offers their Gold Standard certification process as an option to certify that providers meet the CDA training requirements.  This certification is optional  and does not  mean that training providers who have not completed this process cannot offer CDA training.   As long as the classes meet the following guidelines, they can be used to meet the CDA training requirement:

"Complete 120 hours of formal early childhood education training, covering the growth and development of children within the ages for your setting, with no fewer than 10 training hours in each of the eight CDA subject areas." 

To provide you with peace of mind that our classes meet high-quality standards, SG Classes Online has successfully completed the rigorous process of becoming an IACET Accredited Provider.  This accreditation is nationally recognized by the CDA Council as well as many state licensing agencies.

Additionally, we are a Proud Partner to the CDA Council in support of their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credentials.  Our classes are accepted by the CDA Council to meet the training requirements for the CDA Credential.


How do I get started earning my CDA Credential?

You can apply online for your CDA Credential using the YourCDA online application system or complete a paper application provided in the CDA Preschool CDA Competency Standards Book.  See more FAQs about the CDA process.

Get started building your career today!  For more information or if you need any support during this process, we are a Proud Partner to the CDA Council and are here to help:

SG Classes Online