This post is in partnership with ChildCare Education Institute.
Education is full of jargon, and early childhood education is no stranger to this. However, one acronym that is the same anywhere you go in the country is CDA, which stands for Child Development Associate. This is the most widely recognized credential for early childhood educators. No matter where you are in your career as an early childhood educator, earning your CDA certification will help you in many ways and truly prepare you for what to expect in the ECE space.
There are countless reasons to obtain your CDA certification, but here are my top five:
Counts As Training Hours and More
Let’s start with the reason to earn the credential in early childhood education that every teacher will appreciate. Your CDA certification coursework can often be used for training hours. I know busy teachers love to hear this because it’s immediately helpful. This is not a credential that is nice to have and not useful. Knowing that the time spent on your coursework counts for clock hours is such a plus. What’s even better is that when you earn your CDA online with ChildCare Education Institute, you can do this all at your own pace. Your time is precious, and when you spend it earning this credential, it can be used for your required training hours. In addition to that, if you decide to further your education in ECE, many colleges recognize your CDA credential coursework as part of their degree programs (which saves you time and money if you choose to pursue that).
Sets You Apart As A Professional
Caring for and teaching young children is a profession; holding a CDA certification is one way to show that. Earning your CDA indicates to your employers and families that you are committed to this profession and dedicated to providing the highest quality care and education you can for your students. While Head Start and some centers require this credential, having a Child Development Associate certification may be optional for you; choosing that option sets yourself and your commitment apart from the crowd. NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children – lists having a solid understanding of child development as a foundation for providing developmentally appropriate care vital to being recognized as an ECE professional. Earning your CDA is the ticket to being recognized as a professional, and doing the coursework online from home with ChildCare Education Institute allows you to keep working while you learn at your own pace.
Provides You With A Strong Knowledge Base
In addition to having the understanding of child development that NAEYC expects ECE professionals to have, the coursework required for your CDA will strengthen your knowledge base. With a solid knowledge base, you can implement it meaningfully in your current and future jobs. It is one thing to know a lesson or strategy works because you’ve seen it work. It’s another thing to understand why. When you have the why behind the what, you can better adapt and differentiate your practice. This is how you provide the best care possible. Your CDA certification coursework with ChildCare Education Institute is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of child development in all areas and how to use that knowledge practically in your workplace. Earning your CDA will take some work, but you can do it at your own pace online with ChildCare Education Institute and in as little as one year or less, depending on your schedule.
Boosts Your Confidence
Let’s face it. Many early childhood educators fall into this career path, often having teaching experience and degrees targeted at older children or none at all. One of my top reasons to earn your CDA certification is because it will boost your confidence. I wish I had known about this Credential when I started teaching preschool 20 years ago. I walked into my Pre–K class in a childcare center, thinking I knew everything because I had a degree in elementary education. Spoiler alert: I didn’t know it all, especially about toddlers. My university degree was helpful for Pre–K, but I spent a lot of time in management and toddler classrooms. I wish I had spent the time to earn my CDA certification so I had the same confidence with toddlers as I did with 5-year-olds. Earning this ECE Credential will help you walk into any classroom with confidence and set you up for success.
Do you live in the same town you grew up in? I don’t even live in the same country I grew up in. Most of us can expect to move in our lifetime, with many of those moves being across state lines. Having a professional credential that is widely recognized, like the CDA certification, is a huge plus! Since 1975, when the first CDA Credential was awarded, employers nationwide have recognized its value. It is the only nationally recognized Early Childhood Education Credential. That’s why one of my top reasons for earning your CDA certification is that it’s a well-respected Credential in the ECE space. The icing on the cake is that earning your CDA online with ChildCare Education Institute is as flexible as you need it to be; you can do the coursework online from anywhere at any time, 24/7/365, and start and stop as needed without losing your place. So if that move happens while you earn your CDA certification training, it’s no biggie!
Want to complete your CDA certification at your own pace? ChildCare Education Institute is an approved training partner of The Council for Professional Recognition and has graduated over 47,700 early childhood education professionals from CDA and other child care certificate programs. Click here to learn more about ChildCare Education Institute’s online courses today!