Child Development Associate: All You Need to Know


  • Learn about child development, meeting the needs of children in your care, and how to build productive relationships with families
  • Advance your career
  • Meet requirements for SUTQ
  • Get a national credential that comes with you if you leave the state of Ohio
  • If you need more reasons to get your CDA, check out this brief video from the Council for Professional Recognition discussing the program and its effects

Need more info?


  1. Getting Started
    • Answer your questions
    • Register you for the classes
    • Provide you with the scholarship application
  2. Classes
    • Provide online classes with a live instructor
    • Offer convenient class times (call for current offerings)
    • Present all 9 courses for a total of 135 professional development hours (120 of the these hours are Ohio-Approved)
    • Assist you with putting together your portfolio
  3. Verification Visit
    • Support you in preparing for your visit
    • Guide you through registering for a visit through the council

What is a CDA?

The Child Development Associate credential is the most widely recognized credential in early care and education and is the first and most important step you can take to advance your career.

How do I earn my CDA?

The first step is to complete your training through an approved agency such as COAD. There are 9 courses for a total of 135 professional development hours, 120 of which are Ohio Approved!

After you finish your training, you must schedule both a Verification Visit and CDA Competency exam.

Your Verification Visit will be conducted by a Professional Development Specialist (PDS) and will take place over a four-hour time period. A PDS will follow the R.O.R. (Review, Observe, Reflect) model for your visit: 1) Review your portfolio; 2) Observe you in the environment in which you wish to obtain your CDA credential; and 3) Reflect on your visit and discuss ways to make your practice more effective and encourage you to pursue your goals.

You must take your CDA Exam at a PearsonVue approved testing site. The exam is 65 multiple choice questions, and you will have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete it. You don’t need any computer skills other than the ability to click a mouse.

You can choose to complete the CDA Exam and the Verification Visit in any order, but both must be completed within 6 months of applying for your credential.

For more information on obtaining your CDA credential, visit their website at or contact us here.

Are there scholarships available?

YES! We do offer scholarships if you live and/or work in the COAD region.

(Please note that due to the popularity of this credential and the limited number of scholarships available, you might not receive a scholarship but we still encourage you to earn your CDA credential.)

When can I start training?

We have cohorts starting in different counties at different times. To find out if a cohort is starting near you, please call (330) 364-8882 or email us at