Earn Your Child Development Associate (CDA)

The Arlington Employment Center is OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  To schedule an appointment with the Arlington Employment Center call 703.228.1400 or click here.    To schedule an appointment with the Virginia Employment Commission, click here.

Child care

 

What is the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential?

The CDA is the most widely recognized, portable credential for early childhood education professionals. For more information about the CDA credential, visit https://www.cdacouncil.org/en/about/.

What are the benefits of earning the CDA?

Job seekers or job changers interested in working in early childhood education should consider earning the CDA. Through the Child Care Initiative, Arlington County has recently revised the educational requirements for lead teachers in day care centers. Instead of requiring two years of college, lead teachers can hold a CDA credential in Arlington County. The CDA is also considered the best first step for child care professionals looking to enhance their skills, advance their careers, and continue their education.

What are the requirements to earn a CDA credential?

In order to earn the CDA, a candidate must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete 120 hours of training
  • Obtain 480 hours of work experience
  • Prepare a professional portfolio
  • Complete an application
  • Pass an exam
  • Schedule and engage in a verification visit

For more information regarding the requirements to earn a CDA credential, visit https://www.cdacouncil.org/en/about/.

How can the Arlington Employment Center help clients earn a CDA?

The Arlington Employment Center offers classes to prepare eligible Arlington residents for the CDA credential. In these classes, students complete the 120 hours of training, prepare the professional portfolio, and study for the exam. In addition, students work with our team of employment specialists to obtain the 480 hours of work experience. The Arlington Employment Center also assists students in completing the application and scheduling the exam and verification visit.

What are the requirements to enroll in the CDA program?

Potential students must have a high school diploma or GED, work authorization, ability to pass a background check, and a high intermediate English reading and writing level in order to take CDA classes.

For more information regarding background checks, visit https://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/children_background.cgi.

How much does the program cost?

The CDA program is FREE for Arlington residents who meet household income eligibility limits and the requirements listed above.  Tuition fees range from $300-$900 for those who do not meet the Arlington residency or household income eligibility limits.

Please sign up to attend a virtual information session to learn more: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/cdaprospectivestudents.

I am not an Arlington resident and/or I do not meet the eligibility requirements listed above. Can I still enroll in the program?

It depends. Please sign up to attend a virtual information session to learn more:https://www.signupgenius.com/go/cdaprospectivestudents.

When are the CDA classes at the Arlington Employment Center?

CDA classes are offered every 3 months for 12 weeks.

How long will it take me to earn the CDA?

It will take at least 9 months to complete the CDA classes at the Arlington Employment Center.  Following the CDA classes at the Arlington Employment Center, students must complete their application, exam, and verification visit. Students will continue to receive support from the Arlington Employment Center throughout these processes.

I am interested in enrolling in the CDA program. How do I register for CDA classes at the Arlington Employment Center?

Sign up to attend a virtual information session to learn more about the program and begin the registration process: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/cdaprospectivestudents.

I am an EMPLOYER. How can I learn more about partnering with the Arlington Employment Center’s CDA program?

Send an e-mail to Courtney Lord-Martinez at clord-martinez@arlingtonva.us.

I am a COMMUNITY PARTNER. How can I learn more about partnering with the Arlington Employment Center’s CDA program?

Send an e-mail to Courtney Lord-Martinez at clord-martinez@arlingtonva.us.