Child Development Associate Training

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SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS: We have $1000 in scholarship funding to offer the first Ten students who register, thanks to the Generous Acts fund from the Adirondack Foundation.

The Child Development Associate (CDA) is a National Credentialing program that provides education and training to individuals interested in working within the early childhood field. It is a comprehensive program that encompasses all aspects of the fundamentals of child growth and development. Students enrolled in the CDA program at NCCC will earn 120 required hours to apply for the CDA credential, CDA exam preparation and assistance with a required professional portfolio.

The cost for the course is $1,800 and $120 for books.



Dr. Kelli Rodriguez, PsyD

Associate Professor of Social Sciences

Chair of Social Sciences Dept.

COURSE DATES: Weekly on Thursday -- from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm; beginning May 23rd and ending August 15th. The course will be live online and in-person on all campuses.


To enroll in this program, you must: 

  • Be eighteen years or older 
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent 
  • Be currently employed, or routinely volunteer, in a state-licensed early childhood setting 
  • Work with infants/toddlers, pre-school, or family home day care


Any time before you apply to the Council for the Initial CDA Application and Assessment, you must:

  • Create an account with the CDA Council at
  • Be 18 years of age or older and hold a high school diploma or GED or be enrolled as a junior or senior in a high school career and technical program in early childhood education.
  • Complete 120 hours of formal early childhood education training in the required subject areas.


Scholarships are available!

Educational Incentive Program: this is a scholarship for students who choose credit bearing courses. 

This program is generously supported by Generous Acts and the Birth to Three Fund at the Adirondack Foundation. The Foundation works to enhance the lives of the people in the Adirondacks through philanthropy.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Training at North Country Community College (NCCC)


The CDA credentialing program is administered by the CDA Council at the Council for Professional Recognition, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “promote improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education of children ages birth to 5 years old.” The CDA Credential is acknowledged and accepted Nationwide and serves as proof that the person holding the CDA is an educated, qualified, early childhood professional.

Becoming a CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident practitioners with a command of today’s best practices for teaching very young children.

  • Advance your career
  • Meet job requirements
  • Reinforce your commitment to early childhood education
  • Provide parents with peace of mind
  • Understand developmentally appropriate practice

Increase your confidence

  1. 120 Hours of CDA Training
  2. Work experience
  3. Professional Portfolio
  4. Apply for CDA Credential with the CDA Council of Professional Recognition.
  5. Verification Visit & CDA Exam

Students enrolled in the CDA program at NCCC will complete 120 hours of training needed to apply for the CDA credential. The training includes at least 10 hours in each of the CDA’s eight subject areas:

  1. Planning a safe and healthy learning environment  
  2. Advancing children's physical and intellectual development  
  3. Supporting children's social and emotional development  
  4. Building productive relationships with families  
  5. Managing an effective program operation  
  6. Maintaining a commitment to professionalism  
  7. Observing and recording children's behavior 

Understanding principles of child development and learning

In addition to earning the 120 required hours in child care and development, NCCC’s CDA students will get assistance with starting the professional portfolio, CDA exam preparation, and guidance with applying for the CDA credential and scheduling the verification visit. We can also help connect you with a local childcare center for possible volunteering or employment if you have not yet met the CDA work experience requirement. An advantage of NCCC’s CDA training is that NCCC’s CDA training provides exposure to New York-specific childcare laws and regulations, networking with local agencies, and support from area childcare and early childhood educators.

NCCC’s CDA training combines the flexibility of online lessons with some face-to-face discussions, networking, guidance, and support. As a class, we will work out how often to meet face-to-face and on what campus. An alternative virtual meet-up can be scheduled for those who do not live in the area and/or cannot make it to campus. The goal is a balance of flexibility, convenience, and connection!

The training runs from May 23 to August 15, 2024. Most weeks, you will have outside-of-class work and a class meet-up (virtually or in-person). The outside-of-class work can be done anytime throughout the week as long as you have the tasks done before our Thursday class. This flexibility will allow you to work out a time-management plan that will work best with your other responsibilities (e.g. family, work, summer fun, etc.) **Please note that on May 30 and June 6, we will not have a Thursday class. Those two weeks will have some online/portfolio work, but these will be the light weeks, so this might be a good time to plan a vacation.

Example week:

  • Outside of class *approx 6-8 hrs

  • Readings (e.g. chapter, articles, research, etc.)

  • Online lesson (watch online lesson videos & answer comprehension/CDA-test prep questions)

  • Prep for weekly class (gather documents, complete tasks)

  • Portfolio work (application of learning to your setting/age group)

As a class *2hrs

  • Meet Thursdays 6-8pm via zoom (online video call) or in-person at one of the campuses (approx. once a month)

You will need a laptop or desktop to zoom (online video call), do internet searches, complete online video lessons, and compose documents. High-speed internet access is a must. If you are not tech-savvy, a phone call or meet-up (virtual or in-person) can be arranged before the start of the training to help reduce concerns.

To apply for the actual CDA credential you need 480 hours of professional experience working with children. The 480 hours is to be completed within three years of formally applying with the CDA for the exam/visit portion of the CDA process. So, that means you do not have to have the experience completed before starting the training, you can finish the experience portion after NCCC’s CDA training. If you do not work at or volunteer in an early childhood education/childcare setting at the time of the training, please contact or ASAP so we can help you arrange to volunteer at a childcare center to be able to complete the portfolio/application tasks (you will likely need a background check, so getting this arranged ASAP is important). If you work in a licensed childcare or early childhood education setting, you can use that towards the 480-hour experience requirement. The experience must be with the age/setting group that matches the setting for which you are applying (i.e. infant/toddler, preschool, or family child care).

You will need to pick an age/setting group at the start of the training. The book you use, the tasks you complete in the training, the portfolio focus, and the experience requirement will center on the age/setting group you pick. Options include center-based infant-toddler (birth to 3yr), center-based preschool (3-5yrs), or family childcare (birth-5yr). If you want a second age/setting credential, it is necessary to complete the CDA credentialing process again focusing your work on the new age/setting group.

The NCCC 120-hour training is $1800. The books for the training are $55 for the required text only or $120 for the required text with supplemental/optional books.

There are! 

  • Educational Initiative Program: Go to and expand the CDA tab for more details. The entire cost of training and books could be covered! This scholarship requires employment at a daycare center registered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
  • Early Childhood Workforce Scholarship: 
  • Other funding: We have recently learned that there are $1000 scholarships for the first ten students who register for the course. To utilize as much of the scholarship funding as possible, we encourage you to apply for the above programs first. Those programs may cover the cost of the entire course and textbooks. Please contact or for more information.

After you get your CDA coursework certificate from NCCC, you will need to take your the CDA exam and schedule a verification visit with the CDA Council of Professional Recognition. They do charge a fee for applying for the test/visit. The CDA application fee is $425.00 if you apply online.  However, many states have either a scholarship and/or a reimbursement program in place to cover the cost of that test. 

Hold off on purchasing the books until further instructions. We are working out the best way to order and ship/pick up these. The required textbook, Essentials, is $55.There are other books that you may want to purchase that are specific to the setting/age group you are applying. The bundle for the required text and the additional/optional books is $120.

A heavy-duty 2-inch three-ring binder is required. A 3-ring hole punch is recommended.

A professional portfolio is a required part of the CDA credentialing process. Throughout NCCC’s CDA training, portfolio tasks will be assigned and, when approved, added to your portfolio (2” 3-ring binder). The Professional Portfolio is composed of Education Documentation, Family Questionnaires, Six (6) Reflective Statements of Competence, and Ten (10) Resources. Details and guidance will be provided throughout the training. If the portfolio tasks are completed as assigned, your portfolio will be ready for review by the CDA Specialist during the CDA verification visit (the last step of the CDA credentialing process). The portfolio must be prepared/updated within 6 months of applying to the CDA Council of Professional Recognition.

  • Be 18 years of age or older 
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED or be enrolled as a junior or senior in a high school career and technical program in early childhood education
  • Be currently employed, or able to arrange routinely to volunteer, in a state-licensed early childhood setting 
  • Work with infants/toddlers, pre-school, or family home daycare.


Dr. Kelli Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Chair of the Social Sciences department at NCCC. She has taught at the college level since 2009 and at NCCC since 2012. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Marriage and Family Services and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Much of her academic work and teaching has focused on development, socialization, and diversity. Prior to college teaching, she owned and operated a family childcare business in the Plattsburgh area. This will be her second year teaching the CDA training. 

Kelli Rodriguez, Kathleen Dowd, or

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