CDA Training Pathways
Online • Live or On-Demand • 120 PD Hrs
This program guides candidates through the entire CDA credentialing process. The self-paced coursework gives learners the flexibility to study on their own schedule while dedicated faculty provide one-on-one coaching and additional support to ensure all of our learners complete the entire CDA program.
Earning a CDA® credential demonstrates educators’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in the early childhood education field as well as their commitment to professional development. Designed for working Head Start and Early Head Start professionals, The Academy’s CDA® Training Pathways program gives learners the flexibility and support they need to achieve their goals.
On-Demand CDA courses with FREE office hours: Teachers enrolled in on-demand CDA® courses have the option to join one hour a month of free consultation with a CDA® expert coach to answer questions about the CDA® portfolio assignments. NOTE: This option does not include assignment revisions or written feedback by the coach. It's exclusively to answer questions and provide clarifications.
CDA® Core - includes all features in On-Demand, 120 hours coursework aligned with The Council competency standards, online coaching sessions to support portfolio and coursework completion, and access to individual coaches as needed via email.
CDA® Pro - includes all features in CDA Core PLUS application for The CDA through The Council for Professional Recognition, and includes the CDA book.
Learners can complete the training on-demand or have access to the full pathway—completely online. Which program is right for you? Explore the options:
|Features||On-Demand Program||CDA Core||CDA Pro|
|Best-in-class preparation to prepare CDA candidates to successful complete the 120 hours of Early Childhood Education required by the Council of Professional Recognition||✓||✓||✓|
|Exclusive Early Head Start, Head Start focus in each module, featuring the knowledge to succeed in any Head Start classroom across the country||✓||✓||✓|
|Coursework activities to prepare a professional portfolio throughout the course||✓||✓||✓|
|Option to join one hour a month of free consultation with a CDA expert coach to answer questions about the CDA portfolio assignments.||✓|
|Regular online meetings with CDA Professional Development coaches||✓||✓|
|Access to a national cohort of peers||✓||✓|
|One-on-one check-ins on deadlines and milestones||✓||✓|
|Portfolio Review by professional development coach||✓||✓|
|Application to obtain the credential: CDA exam cost as well as the verification visit; both are mandatory requirements to obtain the CDA credential||✓|
|Support scheduling verification visit and CDA exam.||✓|
|All course materials, including the CDA Competency Standards book||✓|
|Bonus: A Pathway Beyond with National University||On-Demand Program||Live Training Pathway|
|Enrollment support to National University's CDA to BA Pathway, an affordable and inclusive opportunity designed for Head Start staff||✓||✓|
|Six semester credits—nearly halfway towards National University's Undergraduate Certificate in Early Childhood Foundations,, the first in a series of five that stack to a Bachelor's Degree in ECE with a Head Start focus!||✓||✓|
|The equivalent of taking the following college courses from National University: "ECE 201: The Growing Child: Zero to 8," "ECE 210 Child, Family, School, and Comm," and "HED 220: Health, Nutrition, and Safety."||✓||✓|
NOTE: If you are interested in any of the CDAs from the table below, please submit this form, and one of our CDA experts will contact you soon to do the registration. Thank you for your interest.
|Family Child Care Home||✓||✓|
|Bilingual Infant and Toddler||✓|
|Bilingual Home Visitor||✓||✓|
|Parent Family Child Care Home||✓||✓|
|Parent Infant and Toddler||✓|
|Parent Preschool Core||✓|
|Parent Home Visitor||✓|
The CDA Pathway is designed for educators working in the following settings: 1) preschool; 2) with infants and toddlers; 3) family child care; and 4) home visitor environments. In addition to meeting the Council for Professional Recognition’s coursework requirements, this training provides learners with everything they need to know to succeed in Head Start.
- On-Demand: Anytime!
- Live Training (CDA Core and Pro): New cohorts are accepted on a monthly basis (See registration page for more information on upcoming availability)
Target Audience: Instruction and Effective Practice, Parents and Families, Support Services
- High school diploma/GED or be enrolled in a high school career and technical program.
- 480 hours of experience working with children in the group setting the candidate is earning the CDA in (Infant/Toddler or Preschool). The CDA candidate should have 80% of these hours completed by the time they apply for the CDA credential with the Council for Professional Recognition.
Completion Timeline/Duration: Four months
Head Start Alignment: Includes alignments with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework in each module.
The CDA Course modules are aligned with the CDA Competency Standards.
- To establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning environment
- To advance physical and intellectual competence
- To support social and emotional development and to provide positive guidance
- To establish positive and productive relationships with families
- To ensure a well-run, purposeful program that is responsive to participants needs
- To maintain a commitment to professionalism
- Learn to work effectively with children and families by understanding and implementing the CDA competency standards in daily work with children in a classroom setting
- Gain a deeper understanding of child development principles and their effective implementation in each learning experience throughout the day
- Identify key elements of management and professionalism in early childhood
|List of Core and Pro CDA Courses||Standard||Parent||Bilingual|
|Infant and Toddler||✓||✓||✓|
|Family Child Care Home||✓||✓||✓|
By joining a cohort, you become part of a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals who share the same goals and aspirations. Together, you'll navigate the entire CDA credentialing process, motivating and encouraging one another every step of the way. The power of peer support cannot be overstated–it's a driving force that propels you towards achieving your dreams.
The Parent Cohort: We recognize the immense value that parents bring to the early childhood education field. They possess unique strengths and perspectives that can enrich the learning experience for everyone involved. By involving Head Start parents in our program, we create a diverse and dynamic environment where knowledge is shared, and connections are made. Sign up today!
The Bilingual (Spanish) Cohort: Language will no longer be a barrier. With the Spanish cohort, learners can work towards their CDA credential with confidence. While the self-paced coursework is in English, our bilingual faculty members are there to provide personalized coaching and additional support. Candidates will have the opportunity to learn alongside peers who are on the same journey, fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere. Sign up today!
Professional Development Coaches
Dedicated faculty members provide one-on-one support and help guide learners through the entire credentialing process.
Program Registration Rates
Regular Rate: $425
NHSA Member Rate: $295
Regular Rate: $1,300
NHSA Member Rate: $999
Regular Rate: $2,000
NHSA Member Rate: $1,500
CDA® Pro Parent
Regular Rate: $2,000
NHSA Member Rate: $1,500
CDA® Pro Bilingual
Regular Rate: $2,000
NHSA Member Rate: $1,500
- Online, Self-paced Coursework
- Six Months of Access to Online Course
- Video Content
- Access to Cohort of Peers
- Discussion Forums
- Certificate of Completion
- Best-in-class preparation to take The Council of Professional Recognition's CDA Exam
- Enrollment support to National University
- Six Semester Credits
What learners are saying...
“I learned so much and couldn't have done it with out the very helpful program support. They encouraged me and guided me through my success! It was a great experience and I gained valuable information to use in the classroom.”
- Jessica Cartagena, Classroom Aid, Luzerne County Head Start, Inc.
“The video content was so valuable. I am a visual learner so I needed to see what to do instead of just reading the books and reading the materials online.”
- Evelyn Wilson, The School District of Philadelphia
"I did this course online and had support to serve as a cheerleader that kept me going!"
- Martha Cryor, Classroom Assistant, The School District of Philadelphia
"This course presents state-of-the-art information in a variety of engaging and interactive formats."
- Andi Lybrand, Early Childhood Specialist and Curriculum Development Consultant
"At first it seemed too simple, but the teachers were able to focus more on the quality of the content rather than the quantity of content that we have experienced from other curricula. We have now received certificates for all 16 of our latest CDA Cohort which was our first cohort to use NHSA’s curriculum!"
- Amy Shirley, Career Development & Credential Team Lead, CAP Tulsa (On-Demand Program)