Child Development Associate (CDA) Preparation Credential

Why obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential?

The CDA is the most widely recognized early childhood credential in the nation. Having a CDA will advance your career and, on average, increase hourly wages by 17%. Dallas College offers two options for obtaining your CDA: a 16-week college credit course or a 16-week continuing education credit course. The course is offered online and in person!

CDA credential applicants can select between three early childhood settings:

  • Preschool: Candidates work in a state-approved center-based setting with a group of at least eight children between the ages of three to five years old.
  • Infant-Toddler: Candidates work in a state-approved center-based setting with a group of at least three children under three years old.
  • Family Child Care: Candidates work in a state-approved home-based setting with at least two children under the age of five years old who are not related to the candidate. Setting must meet the minimum state and/or local regulations.

Put a smile on a child's face and get a headstart with the most recognized credential in the field. Dallas College will teach you how to foster the social, emotional, and cognitive growth of young children while helping you work towards your child development associate.

In sixteen short weeks, experienced instructors will teach you how to lead a classroom and help you prepare for the CDA assessment by the Council for professional recognition. And now the CDA is stackable. The credit you earn can count towards a certificate and associate or a bachelor's degree from Dallas College. You can even take the CDA preparation for observation horse for continuing education credit. You decide what's best for you. Visit our website today for more information and begin your journey at Dallas College.

Interested in continuing your education?

This course counts towards the Child Development and Early Childhood Certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree in education.

Do you already have a valid CDA credential? Let us know when you register. You can receive 9 hours of college credit towards your degree.

CDA Certification Requirements

  • High school or GED certificate
  • 480 hours of professional work experience in a center-based or home-based setting working with children birth to 36 months.
  • Complete 120 hours of formal education (covered in the CDA course)
  • Prepare professional portfolio (developed during the CDA course)
  • Meet with a PD specialist in your classroom
  • Pass the CDA examination

Need assistance paying for your CDA course?

If you need assistance covering the cost of your course, there are several options to assist you! Your success coach will provide you with information during your first meeting.

Dallas College also provides other types of student support, including computer and hotspot device loan, transportation passes and other services.

Ready to Apply

  1. Complete the student application form.
  2. Meet with your success coach to register for the CDA course.
  3. Pick up your books in person at Eastfield Bookstore.
  4. Let the academic journey begin!

Important: Check the CE schedule to verify if and when the class is currently being offered.


HB 1508 Notice

This program may lead to an occupational license for which a prior criminal history may make a student ineligible.​ 

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