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How the CDA With CLASS Benefits Head Start Employees

05 Jun 2019 by Jodie Wright

Image: Edward Zigler, assisted by Marilyn M. Smith, presents the first CDA Credential to Margaret E. Wright on July 24, 1975, in Washington, DC (Source - Council for Professional Recognition).

For 54 years, Head Start has prepared children for Kindergarten by providing services that foster growth in their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. In the words of former President Obama, “For millions of families, Head Start has been a lifeline. And for millions of kids, it’s been the start of a better life.”

For nearly 45 years, the Council for Professional Recognition has awarded the Child Development Associate Credential. The passing this year of Dr. Ed Zigler, known as the Father of Head Start, provides an opportunity to celebrate what this credential has meant to the field. The CDA has, for more than 425,000 credential holders, been the pathway to a career in early childhood, a degree in early childhood and in many cases, led to increased wages.  

The CDA is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education and is a minimum education requirement for Head Start center-based preschool assistant teachers, center-based infant and toddler teachers, family child care providers, and home visitors. CDA candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have 480 hours of experience working with children within the past five years.
  • Have 120 clock hours of formal childcare education within the past five years.

Today, Teachstone offers the CDA with CLASS® which covers all of the competencies required by the Council, as well as the elements of CLASS® which improve the interactions caregivers and teachers have with the children in their care. Over 200 research studies demonstrate that children in classrooms with more effective teacher-child interactions, as rated by CLASS, have better social and academic outcomes.

For Head Start, the CDA continues to be a pathway into the teaching field. We are so proud to provide a CDA program backed by the ever-growing research around teacher-child interactions. While acquiring the CDA is a big commitment, here are the top reasons to consider obtaining the credential:

  • You will join a community of early childhood educators who have earned a CDA - over 425,000 fellow educators.
  • The skills you learn can be directly applied in your daily work with children.
  • The CDA is a great first step to advancing your career and may lead to increased income.
  • If your position requires a CDA you will meet the expected job requirements set by your employer.
  • Completing the requirements to earn the credential reinforces your commitment to early childhood education.
  • Parents will have increased peace of mind knowing you have completed a program that improves the quality of education and care their children receive.

Already have your CDA?  We offer the CDA Renewal with CLASS® which provides all the hours and information needed to renew the credential you worked so hard to earn.

To learn more about the CDA with CLASS or CDA Renewal with CLASS, please visit our website or the Teachstone CDA Store