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1. What is a CDA? The CDA National Credentialing Program is a professional development opportunity for early educators working with children ages birth to 5 years old to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities in the early childhood education field. The CDA credentialing program assesses Candidates using multiple sources evidence, including an exam, observation and professional portfolio with resources and competency statements prepared by the Candidate. The CDA Credential both initially and at renewal periods is a professional development opportunity for early educators at all levels of education and experience. The early childhood education field is constantly evolving and it is important for educators to stay current with key education practices. The CDA is your “best first step” because it demonstrates your knowledge, skills and abilities when working with young children, as well as your commitment to career advancement and professionalism. The credential is considered the first qualification for being recognized at the Professional level on Michigan’s Early Childhood Career Pathway. Attaining it ensures that the professional is competent knowledgeable of best practices in educating and caring for young children. After earning a CDA, many candidates continue on to earn an associates degree in early childhood education. The eligibility requirements to apply for a CDA Credential are as follows: You must have a high school diploma or be a high school junior or senior in an early education/child development Career and Technical Program Any time before you apply: Complete 120 clock hours of professional education covering the eight CDA Subject Areas Within 3 years before you apply: Obtain 480 hours of experience working with young children Within 6 months before you apply: Prepare a CDA Professional Portfolio according to the requirements outlined in the CDA Competency Standards book

2. Am I required to have a CDA? A CDA meets the requirements to work in the following positions in Michigan: Child Care Center Director (with 18 semester hours and 960 hours of experience in the field) School-Age Program Director (with 12 semester hours and 480 hours of experience in the field) Lead Caregiver (with 480 hours of experience in the field) GSRP Assistant Teacher Head Start Assistant Teacher While it is not a requirement for employment, earning a CDA will adequately prepare candidates to work as a family or group home child care provider, as well as an assistant caregiver. Licensing website:,4601,7-154-63294_5529_49572_50051—,00.html

3. What are Family Questionnaires? Family Questionnaires are a required component of the CDA Professional Portfolio. Candidates are required to distribute the questionnaires to the families they serve and include them in their CDA Professional Portfolio. The Family Questionnaires allow the Candidate to review and address feedback from the families they serve to aid in their professional development.

4. What does the training cover? Planning a safe and healthy learning environment Example training topics: Safety, first aid, health, nutrition, space planning, materials and equipment, play Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development Example training topics: Large and small muscle, language and literacy, discovery, art, music, mathematics, social studies, science, technology, and dual language learning Supporting children’s social and emotional development Example training topics: Adult modeling, self-esteem, self-regulation, socialization, cultural identity, conflict resolution Building productive relationships with families Example training topics: Parent involvement, home visits, conferences, referrals, communication strategies Managing an effective program operation Example training topics: Planning, record keeping, reporting, community services Maintaining a commitment to professionalism Example training topics: Advocacy, ethical practices, workforce issues, professional development, goal setting, networking Observing and recording children’s behavior Example training topics: Tools and strategies for objective observation and assessment of children’s behavior and learning to plan curriculum and individualize teaching, developmental delays, intervention strategies, individual education plans Understanding principles of child development and learning Example training topics: Typical developmental expectations for children from birth through age 5, individual variation including children with special needs, cultural influences on development, an understanding of early brain development You are required to complete at least 10 clock hours of training in each of the 8 functional areas with an additional 40 hours in any of the areas to complete the 120 clock hour requirement. How can I help to ensure my training will be accepted by the Council? All training must have been taken under the auspices of an early childhood training agency that has expertise in teacher preparation. Official documentation of the training must be provided in the form of a certificate, letter on official letterhead or a college transcript. Training documentation should include the following: Training agency’s name and address (seal/logo), Candidate’s name, date of the training session(s), content area, number of hours successfully completed, and an authorized signature. How do I convert my clock hours into training hours? 1 CEU = 10 clock hours 1 Semester Credit = 15 clock hours 1 Quarter Credit = 10 clock hours 1 DHS Credit = 1 clock hour 1 Unit = 1 clock hour To be eligible to apply for your first CDA, you need: 12 CEUs = 120 clock hours 8 Semester Credits = 120 clock hours 12 Quarter Credits = 120 clock hours

5. How do I renew my CDA credential? Each CDA Credential will expire after three years. You must submit your renewal application prior to the expiration date of your credential or you will be required to complete the initial CDA Application process again. To renew your CDA: Within one year of CDA expiration, select an ECE Reviewer to complete your recommendation and verify 80 hours of work experience with children specific to your credential type. The ECE Reviewer should be someone you know who meets the eligibility requirements provided in the CDA Renewal Packet and has knowledge of your work with children. Tour ECE reviewer can be your Director, Education Specialist or even teacher that works in another classroom. Obtain 4.5 CEU’s, a 3 credit hour course or 45 clock hours in the form of a college transcript, training organization letter, approved state registry transcript or Director’s Form. The training must occur between the award date of the initial credential and the renewal. Ensure pediatric CPR and First Aid certification is valid. Ensure you have an active membership with an early childhood focused professional organization. See the link for membership information for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Apply online as early as 6 months prior to your credential expiration date a Create a YourCDA online profile and complete renewal application. All documents and payment will be submitted to the YourCDA system. Apply for a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Michigan scholarship to help cover the cost of the $125 online renewal fee. Renew credential every three years.

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