Child Development Associate Certification

The CDA® is a credential for early childhood educators

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The CDA® is a credential that early childhood educators can earn to demonstrate certain competencies and, in turn, can help them advance their careers. The Child Development Associate credential is carefully administered to ensure that those who earn it know how to put important Early Childcare Education (ECE) understandings into practice. Our CDA educators know how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual and social development of children.

Participants must meet the following guidelines for enrollment:

  • Attend an orientation
  • Detroit residents only
  • PATH participants only

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Program Components

Receive 120 hours of classroom training covering the eight subject areas and six core competencies.

Continual coaching to prepare students for the CDA exam and CDA verification site visit. 

Job referral opportunities within the early childhood education field.

Placement at an early childcare center to gain the needed 480 hours of work experience.

CDA exam cost included once all requirements are fulfilled.

Wrap-around services of financial coaching and resource navigation.

Benefits of working in sector:

Early childhood education is a wide and varied career path. If you enjoy working with children and are willing to put in the work necessary to earn the CDA credential or even a degree, you’ll find that it’s a rewarding career path. It is also a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for individuals working in early childhood education is strong, with the employment of preschool teachers expected to grow 10 percent over the next eight years.


In 2017, the median annual salary for preschool teachers was $28,990, with the highest 10% of earners making more than $54,000. The top employers of early childhood educators are:
  • Head Start programs
  • State, local, and private schools.
  • Individual, family, non-profit services.
  • Religious, grant making, professional and similar organizations.
  • Child daycare services.


What is PATH?

The Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope. (PATH) the program helps participants transition off public assistance to obtain and maintain employment, earn wages and develop self-sustainability. PATH is a partnership between Workforce Development (WD), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs).

Who is eligible to participate in PATH?

Participants must receive Family Independence Program (FIP) cash assistance – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – and are assigned to PATH through MWAs.

How is this certification recognized?

The CDA credential is a nationally recognized certification administered through the Council of Professional Recognition The Council for Professional Recognition sets policies and procedures for assessment and credentialing, publishes the Competency Standards and other materials used for CDA credentialing, and administers the assessment.

For more information please contact:

Catherine Hilson
313-526-4000 Ext. 1249 or

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