What is a CDA Credential, and Why is it Important?

The CDA, or Child Development Associate Credential is a credential awarded to childcare and preschool staff that have completed relevant coursework and experiential training based on a core set of professionally prepared competency standards recognized nationally by educators and child development professionals. This means that teachers with a CDA credential are among the teaching professionals who have met nationally recognized standards of early childhood education and safe care.


The coursework needed to obtain the CDA credential is relevant to the profession in that it is focused on the social, emotional, and educational needs of young children in nursery school, preschool, and child care environments. A teacher or staff member who has earned the CDA credential has worked hard to learn the best ways to support young children through important developmental milestones in a way which will allow them the greatest success. By learning how children learn and grow, CDA credentialed staff are better prepared for typical childhood behaviors and stages, and are trained to know just how to address changes in children, ensuring that as they mature, kids are given the resources they need to take the next step. Challenging kids who need it, nurturing late blooming children, and keeping every child engaged and feeling confident are the marks of a successful teacher.

Early Childhood Education can be an underrated arena of education. Children’s brains develop most in the early years of life, and having a staff of professionals who are well versed in those stages of development is the mark of a well staffed childcare center. When visiting prospective preschool centers parents should ask how many of the staff working with their child has a CDA credential or are working towards earning one.

CDA credentials are not a requirement of employment in many states, though most states do require a minimum amount of early childhood coursework at the college level in order to work as a preschool lead teacher. These courses center on physical and mental development of children from birth to young adulthood, cultural components of education, infant care education, curriculum development, safety, and more. Assistant teachers typically do not require a college education to be in a classroom, and it is these teachers who benefit the most from completing a CDA credential.

In addition to coursework and credentials, years of practical experience educating children in a childcare center counts a lot towards the overall quality of staffing in a childcare center or preschool. Parents should also be sure to ask if teachers have had a history of working in childcare and the average years of experience of each center’s teaching staff.

Prime Time Preschools and Nursery Schools in New York and New Jersey pride themselves on having a well educated and experienced staff, including those with CDA Credentials and relevant professional experience. Prime Time focuses on helping each child in their care to achieve their full potential with a solid foundation in early childhood education and experience. For this reason, Prime Time Early Learning offers to pre-pay the tuition costs of all their teachers who want to pursue their CDA Credential, and then pays annual performance bonus pay to all teachers who complete their CDA Credential or a college degree in an early education related field.

The college and CDA credentialed staffs at Prime Time Early Learning serve the children of Oradell, Ridgewood, Paramus, Midland Park New Jersey and the surrounding area with a full range of child care, after-school care, and camps at our newest center adjacent to Paramus Park in Paramus, as well as the children of families living in Edgewater, Fort Lee and Cliffside Park New Jersey, and Middletown and Goshen New York.