children playing at child care provider location

National CDA

The nationally recognized CDA credential offers valuable knowledge about working with children and helping them reach their full potential. It is often a first step into a career teaching and caring for young children. In Minnesota, a CDA can help you become teacher-qualified in a child care center or Head Start setting, and can qualify you to receive higher reimbursement rates when caring for children on Child Care Assistance in family child care settings. The CDA will increase your Career Lattice Step in Develop and may help you reach your Parent Aware Rating goals.

The best source of information about the CDA is the Council for Professional Recognition – the agency that issues the CDA credential. For more information, visit their website

Benefits of Earning a National CDA

Child care professionals who earn their National CDA credential receive increased professional recognition.
Other benefits include:
  • Eligibility to receive child care assistance dollars at a higher reimbursement rate
  • Nationally recognized credential
  • Stepping stone to higher education
  • Helps you earn your Parent Aware Rating

Eligibility Requirements

Candidate must:
  • Complete 120 training hours in the 8 CDA content areas
  • Have worked with children a minimum of 480 hours within the past three years
  • Complete the Professional Portfolio
  • Have earned a high school diploma or GED
  • Must have the CDA Competency Standards book
  • For more information on the CDA and to order your CDA Competency Standards book, including application materials, please visit