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Child Development Associate (CDA)

Non-Credit Job Training

Program Overview

Child Development Associate (CDA)

Delta, in partnership with the Great Start To Quality Resource Center Eastern Region, is now offering a 120 hour comprehensive training opportunity to assist candidates in obtaining their CDA credential™.

As a child development associate (CDA), you'll be able to meet the specific needs of children and work with parents and other adults to nurture children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth in a child development framework. A CDA is someone who has successfully completed the CDA assessment process and has been awarded the Child Development Associate Credential™. Earning the CDA Credential has many advantages including motivating you towards continuing education and providing you with a platform for professional and career opportunities. Many view the CDA Credential as an instrument for career advancement in the early childhood care and education profession. The CDA Council works to ensure that it is a credible and valid credential, recognized by the profession as a vital part of a coordinated system of professional development. This course is designed for those interested in preparing for the CDA Assessment.

Earning Potential

Average pay for a child development associate is $16,800 per year. Those just getting started generally earn around $14,700, while highly experienced workers can earn as much as $20,300. This is a great way to get a jump start in the growing field of childcare.

In this field, it is estimated that you could earn an average of $16,872 per year.


Visit Career Coach for more details.

Likely Careers

  • Childcare worker
  • Teacher
  • Student in Class
    Course schedule

    Visit LifeLong Learning for dates and times of all upcoming training opportunities.

    Visit LifeLong Learning

Program Details

What is a child development associate?

A child development associate: 

  • Works in a variety of settings providing care for and guidance of young children.
  • Maintains a safe learning and play environment.
  • Observes and monitors children's activities.
  • Communicates with children's parents or guardians about daily activities, behaviors, and related issues.
  • Works well under supervision and works cooperatively with other personnel.
  • Maintains good health is able to stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl.
  • Can lift up to 40 pounds.
  • Is free of communicable diseases including a negative TB test.
  • Supports children's emotional and social development, encourages understanding of others and positive self-concepts. 
  • Is able to gain the respect, confidence and cooperation of children.
  • Maintains discipline and enforces and deals with emergency situations calmly.
What is a CDA credential?

1. Definition of the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™
The CDA Credential is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in ECE. The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children. The Council works to ensure that the nationally-transferable CDA is a credible and valid credential, recognized by the profession as a vital part of professional development. CDAs have knowledge of how to put the CDA Competency Standards into practice and understanding of why those standards help children move with success from one developmental stage to another. Put simply, CDAs know how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of children. Earning the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ has many advantages, including exposure to the larger community of early childhood educators. Over 300,000 educators have received their CDA to date! Becoming a CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident practitioners with command of today’s best practices for teaching young children.

2. Benefits of the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™

  • Advance your career.
  • Meet job requirements.
  • Reinforce your commitment to early childhood education.
  • Provide parents with peace of mind.
  • Understand developmentally appropriate practice
  • Increase your confidence.

3. Steps to earning the CDA Credential
You can complete your CDA Credential in 5 Steps! Visit the CDA Council website for the most up-to-date information.

Why should I obtain the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™?

Earning the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ has many advantages.

  1. It motivates caregivers toward continuing education and provides a platform for professional and career opportunities.
  2. Many view the CDA Credential as an instrument for career advancement in the early childhood care and education profession.
  3. The Council works to ensure that it is a credible and valid credential, recognized by the profession as a vital part of a coordinated system of professional development.
  4. Individuals who earn the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ may be eligible to articulate up to 6 academic credits towards the CD111W and CD115PW courses within the  Child Development - Associate In Applied Arts degree). 
Choosing a CDA setting that is right for you

You may apply for one credential setting at a time. When applying for another credential, you must complete another application and assessment process.

Per the CDA Council's website, you may earn your credential is the following settings:

  • Preschool
  • Infant/Toddler
  • Family Child Care
  • Home Visitor 

1. Admission
Students must go through Admission to Delta College. There are several ways to apply to Delta College. For an admissions application, office hours and other important information please contact the Admissions Office.

a. You may apply online. Select "Non-Academic LifeLong Learning, ND.11000" as your Program of Study.
b. You may also apply in person within the Admissions Office and pick-up the application. Your application will be processed while you are at Delta and you will receive your student number.

2. High School Diploma or GED® Test Credential
It is a requirement that students have attained a high school diploma or GED® test credential (not a high school certificate of completion) prior to registration of this program. If you do not meet this requirement, you may qualify for an exception through the CDA Council.

3. Age
You must be 18 years of age or older.

Other requirements

State of Michigan Licensing Rules For Family And Group Child Care Homes
An applicant for a Family or Group Child Care Home license must meet all requirements for licensure before submitting an application to the State. Please visit the  State of Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website for additional information.

Course information

1. About the Course
This course is designed for you if you are interested in preparing for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Assessment and wish to fulfill Step 1 of the credentialing process of 120 hours of professional education.

2. Course Format
This course is set up in a blended (face-to-face & online) format with the following components:

a. 107 hours of blended classroom instruction and independent online study including group activities, textbook readings, exercises, and peer discussion boards    
b. 13 hours of "CDA 2.0" Competency Standards Book assembly

3. Formal Early Childhood Education Training Hours and Subject Areas
You must complete 120 hours of formal early childhood education training, covering the growth and development of children aged from birth to 5 years, with no fewer than 10 training hours in each of the following subject areas:

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

Textbooks are required for this course. You may purchase your books through the Delta College Bookstore:

Online: Order your book online at 
By Phone: You can place your textbook order by phone 989-686-9030.
In Person: Purchase textbooks in person in the bookstore.

In addition, the CDA 2.0 Competency Standards Book is required and available for purchase through the CDA Council.

Non-credit financial assistance

Funding you may qualify for:

The Board of Trustees Grant: To make an appointment, please call the Financial Aid Office at 989-686-9080. In Midland call 989-495-4000 ext. 9080. Eligibility requirements apply. Download the Board of Trustees Grant Application for complete details.

Michigan Works!: Sixteen Michigan Works! Agencies oversee local Michigan Works! Service Centers, where job seekers and employers can access services. Call Saginaw 989-249-5232, Bay 989-667-0500 or Midland 989-631- 3073 or visit the Michigan Works! website for a complete listing of Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Centers.

Note: The Pell grant does not apply to non credit programs.

Facts & Figures

94 percent

100% of students agree that there expectations were met or exceeded in taking the Child Development for CDA and Assessment Preparation course.

Dollar Signs

The Board of Trustees Grant may be available for eligible students enrolling in short-term training programs. If assistance is awarded, it may cover up to 1/3 of the cost of the course not to exceed $692.


"This class was everything I thought it would be and more. I was very satisfied with the class and both instructors were awesome."

Destiny Elledge, Child Development for CDA and Assessment Preparation Student