The CDA, also known as the Child Development Associate, credential is awarded to individuals who have proven that they are qualified to work in the field of child care and care giving. The certificate is recognized in all 50 states. In order to apply for the credential the applicant must be over the age of 18, hold either a high school diploma or GED, and at least 480 hours of experience in the child care giver. In the state of Ohio, a CDA certificate holder can become a director at a child care center.

Determine your eligibility to apply for the CDA credential. If you haven't already, attend a minimum of 120 hours of child care training at a qualified education program. Contact your local Council for Professional Recognition office for a list of qualified training programs available in your area.

Order the CDA certification application from the Council for Professional Recognition (see resources). Complete all of the assessments and other requirements and submit the application along with the application fees to the Council for Professional Recognition.

Prepare for the verification visit by a representative of the Council for Professional Recognition. This verification process has two parts which includes an oral interview and an early childhood studies review. If the council approves your certification, you will receive the certificate and a letter of acceptance in the mail after the review process.

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