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CDA Test Information


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What are the Child Development Associate Certification Exams?

The Child Development Associate exams are designed to measure a person's understanding of the key ideas and concepts of childhood development. Created by the Council for Professional Recognition, CDA exams gauge the knowledge and readiness of professionals hoping to work with young children. Research on childhood development is constantly shifting and growing, so it's crucial that professionals in this industry stay updated on the latest findings. CDA test prep should always involve thorough comprehension of the newest childhood development findings.

There are three possible CDA exams to take: family, preschool and toddler tests. Each exam is designed around the kind of work professionals are expected to do when working with their preferred age range or group. If you're not sure which test to sign up for, head over to the official website for the Council for Professional Recognition. Regardless of which one you decide to register for, it's important to pursue CDA exam prep ahead of your test date.

Which CDA Exam Should I Take?

CDA certification isn't always necessary for professionals who hope to work with young kids, but it can bolster your credibility as you search for a new job. Families, schools, and employers alike are all eager to work with professionals who have both the knowledge and experience required for such roles. If you're hoping to elevate your career in early childhood development, certification is a great option. These exams can be challenging, though, so it's important to prepare thoroughly ahead of your test date. CDA exam practice tests can help ease this process and ensure a passing score.

How to register for the CDA

No matter which certification you've set your sights on, you'll need to take and pass the CDA exam to earn formal recognition. Once you've met the eligibility and training requirements and completed your CDA verification visit with a CDA Professional Development specialist, you'll be ready to register for the exam. To do so, be on the lookout for a “Ready to Schedule” note in the mail from the CDA. Information included in the notice will give you further instructions on how to register.

How Much Does CDA Certification Cost?

In order to apply for any of the CDA certifications, you'll need to pay $425 for the online application or $500 for the paper version. Renewals will run $125 online or $150 for the paper option. Whether you're renewing or applying for the first time, payment is due upfront.

Register online Register for the CDA

How Does CDA Scoring Work?

CDA exams are scored on a scale of zero to 100. Passing scores start at 70. Thankfully, scores are reported relatively quickly. Most examinees become credentialed within three days of passing their exam. CDA practice tests are a good way to prepare ahead of your exam date.

What Score is Needed to Pass the CDA Exam?

Believe it or not, candidates don't receive passing or failing scores on the CDA exam. Instead, the Council works to understand how the candidate performed on each of the 13 sections of the exam. CDA verification visits also weigh heavy on the Council's decision to grant certification.



What is the CDA Preschool Credential?

The CDA Preschool Credential is intended for professionals working with preschool aged children. Those who obtain this credential must first demonstrate they are capable of planning safe and healthy learning environments, are committed to advancing the development of children, and understand how to support both social and emotional growth in kids.

What is Required for the CDA Preschool Credential?

To earn this credential, you must first possess at least a high school diploma, GED or be enrolled as a high school junior or senior at a career and technical program in early childhood education. Once you apply, you must obtain at least 480 hours of professional work experience in center-based settings with children between the ages of three and five.

A professional portfolio is also required. The references should reflect on your skills and abilities. Finally, you'll be asked to schedule a CDA verification visit and exam.

What is the CDA Infant/Toddler Credential?

The CDA Infant/Toddler Credential was created to acknowledge the skills and talents of those working with kids aged zero to 36 months. Those who obtain this certification must first show their commitment to building productive relationships with parents, managing effective programs, and maintaining a commitment to professionalism at all times.

What is Required for the CDA Infant/Toddler Credential?

In order to earn your CDA Infant/Toddler credential, you'll first need to possess a high school diploma, GED, or be a high school junior or senior in an early childhood education program. 120 hours of formal training is also required. Within three years of submitting your application, you'll need to obtain 480 hours of first-hand experience, and within six months of submitting your application, you'll need to put together a portfolio of your work.

Finally, a CDA Professional Development Specialist will visit and observe your work with children. Once you get their approval, you'll be ready to take the CDA exam. It's the final hurdle you'll need to jump in order to earn your CDA Infant/Toddler credential.

What is the CDA Family Child Care Credential?

The CDA Family Child Care credential serves as evidence of a candidate's talents, abilities and knowledge of care of children under the age of five. This certification is helpful for anyone hoping to work in a daycare setting or as a nanny. In order to earn this credential, you'll need to demonstrate your commitment to the principles of childhood development and learning.

What is Required for the CDA Infant/Toddler Credential?

To be considered for this credential, you'll need a high school diploma or GED. High school juniors and seniors are also eligible so long as they are enrolled in an early childhood education training program. A total of 120 hours of such training is required of all applicants.

Once you apply for this credential, you'll have six months to put together a professional portfolio of your work. A CDA Professional Development Specialist will come to observe your work, giving the final sign off for you to take the CDA exam.

What is the CDA Home Visitor Credential?

Skilled primary adult educators who carry out home-based child development programs should consider earning this credential. It's designed for anyone hoping to work with parents on the rapidly changing needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Since home visits are often the primary method of program delivery, this credential is especially important.

What is Required for the CDA Home Visitor Credential?

Before you apply, you'll need at least 120 hours of formal early childhood education training. Within six months of applying, you'll need to put together a professional portfolio of your work. A CDA Professional Development specialist will also need to observe you in your workplace. Demonstrate your skills and knowledge and you'll be on your way to register for the CDA exam.




Council for Professional Recognition Exams

65 - Multiple Choice
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
Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
Observing and recording choldren's behavior
Understanding principles of child development and learning

45 Minutes
65 - Multiple Choice
To establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning environment.
To advance physical and intellectual competence.
To support social and emotional development and to provide positive guidance.
To establish positive and productive relationships with families.
To ensure a well-run, purposeful program responsive to participant needs.
To maintain a commitment to professionalism.

45 Minutes
65 - Multiple Choice
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
Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
Observing and recording choldren's behavior
Understanding principles of child development and learning

45 Minutes

Prepare Now with CDA Practice Tests

Earning your CDA certification doesn't have to be difficult. Our resources can make the process much simpler than you might expect. CDA practice tests can help you get an idea of how you perform under pressure while also allowing you time to familiarize yourself with the content, pacing and format of the test. Given how much you'll benefit professionally from earning your certification, it makes sense to pour plenty of time and energy into CDA exam prep. You can begin your test prep efforts now with a free sample practice test – there's no better way to gauge how you'd perform if the test were tomorrow.