Child Development Associate

Child Development Associate Specialized Diploma/CDA (9 credits)

Designed for students who need an entry-level nationally-recognized credential.

CDA specialized diploma prepares students for assessment by the Council for Professional Recognition for entry-level positions in early care and education including Head Start.

The CDA Specialized Diploma consists of three courses. Upon successful completion of the specialized diploma you will receive 9 credits toward an ECE Certificate or Associate Degree. The courses:

  • Must be taken in sequence with the same instructor
  • Must be sections specifically offered for the CDA Specialized Diploma

CDA sections of the following courses are needed:

  • EARL 106 Early Childhood Development and Learning
  • EARL 217 Child, Family and Community
  • EARL 244 Early Childhood Profession

Online as eCDA

eCDA is a new online program with courses designed to provide flexibility in your ability to access course content, submit assignments, and interact with your instructor and fellow students. Learning occurs through highly interactive and thought-provoking real-life, computer-based scenarios facilitated by highly qualified faculty.

It is a wonderful, new, convenient way for you to get started on a fulfilling career.

The program is now available through contact training at your site. If you are interested in on-site training, please contact us.

Are you looking to renew your CDA Certification?

CDA Scholarships

The states listed below provide financial assistance for individuals to obtain a CDA Credential through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Funding may be available for the CDA assessment fee and other costs of earning or renewing the Credential. Please contact the appropriate agency in your state for information about eligibility requirements and funding availability.

For more information on CDA Scholarships here.

Unfortunately, not all states participate in this program. If your state is not listed, we suggest you contact the child care licensing agency in your state or your local resource and referral agency. They are excellent sources of information about free or low-cost CDA training.

Financial assistance can only be used in our semester start option.

State Specific Information:

  • AK - Individual Reimbursement Fund (IRF), provides scholarship assistance 75% reimbursement for qualifying educational expenses up to $500 for a fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).
  • NV - Nevada Registry Financial Assistance Program, provides scholarships for providers to attend classes in Early Childhood Education. Free or low cost scholarships for educational, licensing, and/or certification purposes: For more information, please contact the Child Care and Development Program at 702.387.5437.
  • NY - Educational Incentive Program (EIP), provides reimbursement for credit and non-credit trainings approved for New York State licensed or registered child care programs.
  • PA - Northeast Regional Key, Southeast Regional Key, and Mid State Regional Key provide funded trainings and credit classes @ The Center for Early Childhood Education. You must be a part of the regional key region to participate. For more information, go to
  • WA - WA Scholarships, a scholarship program that supports teachers and child care providers who wish to enhance their education and professional skills in early childhood by receiving formal training at community and technical colleges.