Ever won­der how to become a PD Spe­cial­ist™ for CDA Cre­den­tial can­di­dates? We often hear from our stu­dents that they can­not find a PD Spe­cial­ist in their area. 

The term PD Spe­cial­ist stands for “Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­ment Spe­cial­ist,” a trade­mark of the Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Recog­ni­tion (also called the CDA Coun­cil). PD Spe­cial­ists are ear­ly child­hood pro­fes­sion­als who use their ECE exper­tise to assess CDA Cre­den­tial can­di­dates’ competencies. 

PD Spe­cial­ists facil­i­tate reflec­tive con­ver­sa­tions with the can­di­dates dur­ing their Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Vis­its. After the vis­it, they sub­mit their scor­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to the CDA Council.

Not inter­est­ed in becom­ing a CDA PD Spe­cial­ist, but need to find one for your own Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Vis­it? Read our blog: Who is my PD Spe­cial­ist?

An important job

Accord­ing to the CDA Coun­cil, the integri­ty of the CDA assess­ment process rests pri­mar­i­ly on PD Spe­cial­ists. The Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­ment Spe­cial­ist is a crit­i­cal job!

Are PD Specialists paid?

Yes! Accord­ing to the CDA Coun­cil, after each Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Vis­it you com­plete, you will receive a $100 honorarium. 

The integri­ty of the CDA assess­ment process rests pri­mar­i­ly on PD Spe­cial­ists.

- The cda council

How to become a PD Specialist

First, deter­mine if you are eli­gi­ble. Read the list* of require­ments below to deter­mine your eligibility. .

To be eligible, you must …

  • have a work­ing email address and access to the internet
  • be flu­ent in the language(s) of the assess­ments you plant to conduct
  • be avail­able to con­duct ver­i­fi­ca­tion vis­its dur­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness hours
  • know state and nation­al licens­ing reg­u­la­tions for ear­ly child­hood programs
  • hold a min­i­mum of a BA** or AA*** degree from an accred­it­ed col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty in 
    • ear­ly child­hood education/child devel­op­ment, or
    • home economics/child devel­op­ment, or
    • ele­men­tary education/early child­hood edu­ca­tion, or
    • a degree in a close­ly relat­ed field or major + a min­i­mum of 18-semes­ter or 24-quar­ter hours of course­work in ECE/CD cov­er­ing chil­dren from birth through five.

*For a more detailed list, vis­it the CDA Coun­cil’s website

**If you have a BA, you must also have at least two years work­ing in a child­care set­ting with chil­dren birth to five. At least one year must have been work­ing direct­ly with chil­dren and one year facil­i­tat­ing the pro­fes­sion­al growth of adults.

***If you have an AA, you must also have a min­i­mum of four years work­ing in a child­care set­ting work­ing with chil­dren birth to five. At least two years must have been work­ing direct­ly with chil­dren and two years facil­i­tat­ing the pro­fes­sion­al growth of adults. 

So, you’ve determined that you are eligible! 

If you qual­i­fy, the next step is to com­plete and sub­mit an online PD Spe­cial­ist appli­ca­tion.

The Coun­cil reviews every appli­ca­tion. Once they approve your appli­ca­tion, you will receive an email fur­ther explain­ing the process.

All PD Specialist applicants must

  • Com­plete the Coun­cil’s appli­ca­tion. Don’t miss any­thing! The Coun­cil will reject an incom­plete application.

PDS online training

Appli­ca­tion approved? Awesome! 

On to the next step: PDS online train­ing though the Coun­cil’s web­site. The train­ing will give you all the resources and infor­ma­tion you will need to be a suc­cess­ful PD Specialist. 

Next you must … pass the exam!

How long does it take?

After you take the exam, allow for the CDA Coun­cil to fin­ish pro­cess­ing your appli­ca­tion. This can take about 45 days. 

And then … you’ll be a PD Specialist! 

Care Courses and the CDA Council 

In July 2017, the CDA Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Recog­ni­tion award­ed Care Cours­es the new CDA Gold Stan­dard cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in recog­ni­tion of the qual­i­ty of our cours­es, the unlim­it­ed, free sup­port ser­vices we pro­vide our stu­dents, and our effec­tive online and book train­ing options. In 2022, Care Cours­es became an offi­cial part­ner of the CDA Council. 

Care Cours­es offers CDA Cre­den­tial train­ing and sup­port. Click to view blogs about prepar­ing the Pro­fes­sion­al Port­fo­lio and the Top five rea­sons to get a CDA!

CDA Council Official Partner Logo
Offi­cial Part­ner of the CDA Council

Care Courses Support

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

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