One of the require­ments to apply for your Nation­al CDA is to have a high school diplo­ma or equiv­a­lent. One ques­tion we often get at Care Cours­es is, can I use my high school diplo­ma from anoth­er coun­try for my Nation­al CDA? 

… Yes!

The Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Recog­ni­tion accepts high school diplo­mas from any coun­try for the Nation­al CDA. So, you can use your high school diplo­ma from anoth­er coun­try for the Nation­al CDA.

In fact, no doc­u­men­ta­tion of a high school diplo­ma is required to be sub­mit­ted to the Coun­cil. On the appli­ca­tion for the Child Devel­op­ment Asso­ciate (CDA), there is sim­ply a place where con­firm that you …

  • have a high school diplo­ma (com­plet­ed in or out­side the U.S.), or
  • passed the GED, or
  • are cur­rent­ly a high school junior or senior enrolled in an ear­ly education/child care devel­op­ment Career and Tech­ni­cal Program.

You might also be wondering if you are eligible for the CDA if you have other qualifications that you completed outside of the US

For exam­ple, what if you have some expe­ri­ence work­ing with young chil­dren out­side the U.S. or a U.S. mil­i­tary base? Could this make up part of the 480 hours of expe­ri­ence with young chil­dren that is required with­in 3 years before applying? 

No …

Expe­ri­ence out­side the U.S. does not count toward a CDA.

If you are apply­ing for a CDA with­in the U.S., the Coun­cil only accepts expe­ri­ence acquired in licensed pro­grams with­in the U.S. or on U.S. mil­i­tary bases abroad, or in pro­grams with­in the U.S. that are legal­ly exempt from licensing. 

Many states exempt spe­cif­ic kinds of child care providers from licens­ing, such as pro­grams run by reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions, school-age pro­grams run by pub­lic schools, and sum­mer camps (check with your state’s licens­ing agency to deter­mine what pro­grams are exempt). Expe­ri­ence gained from this type of exempt pro­gram typ­i­cal­ly will count toward a CDA.

Inter­est­ed in start­ing your CDA? Take our free CDA 101 tuto­r­i­al to learn the CDA process! Then read up on your CDA set­ting. On the fence about get­ting your CDA? Check out these top 5 rea­sons you should get your CDA.

The Coun­cil does have part­ner­ships with some inter­na­tion­al ear­ly edu­ca­tion orga­ni­za­tions and gov­ern­ment agen­cies. Only Can­di­dates apply­ing with these inter­na­tion­al part­ners can obtain expe­ri­ence hours out­side of the US. Please check with the CDA coun­cil or one of these orga­ni­za­tions before apply­ing for your Nation­al CDA out­side of the Unit­ed States.

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of any addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings, and week­ends: We’re here to help!

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