How Do I Choose My CDA Setting?

Posted by Care Courses

Nov 21, 2013 4:51:00 PM


Which CDA Setting is Right for You?

The CDA comes in four different settings:

  • the “Family Child Care” setting, for those that work in a registered home day care
  • the “Infant and Toddler Center-Based” setting, for those that work in a registered day care center whose experience is with children ages birth to 3 years
  • the “Preschool Center-Based” setting, for those that work in a registered day care center whose experience is with children ages 3 to 5
  • the “Home Visitor” setting*, for those who make home visits to families and/or work in a program that teaches parenting skills to adults

*If you’re interested in the Home Visitor, please visit our Home Visitor CDA page for more information, or send us an email at Look out for a post from us in the future specifically dedicated to the Home Visitor CDA setting!

You can only apply for one CDA setting at a time. To decide which of these settings is right for you, you have to ask yourself 2 questions:

  1. Which if these settings have I, or will I be able to accumulate a total of 480 hours of direct work experience (within a 3 year window) working with children?


  2. Which of these settings will I be able to invite a CDA representative to come visit and observe my competency working directly with children?

If one of the CDA settings listed above matches BOTH of these questions, then you have found the setting that’s right for you! So now the question is, do you qualify to get started? Do you…

  1. …hold a high school diploma (or equivalent), or currently take classes as part of an early education vocational program in a high school at the junior or senior grade level?


  2. …speak, read, and write well enough to communicate with children and their parents, and demonstrate to a CDA representative your competency as a child care provider through the completion of a Professional Portfolio?

If you answered yes to BOTH of these questions, then you are ready to get started on the path towards earning a CDA!

In an upcoming post we will take a look at the timeline so you can plan out a strategy to complete your requirements.

Topics: The National CDA

About Care Courses

Care Courses has been providing distance learning courses for early childhood professionals since 1990. Our courses are delivered to you either via US Mail or on your computer, and can be used for the CDA and many state training requirements. We offer over 60 excellent, convenient courses in a wide variety of interesting, helpful topics, and our courses have no time limits. Do them wherever and whenever you wish. Visit our website to access our course listings.

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