CDA Resource Center

What is the Child Development Associate® (CDA) National Credentialing Program?

The CDA National Credentialing Program is a professional development opportunity for early educators working with children ages birth to 5 years old to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the early childhood education field. The CDA credentialing program assesses Candidates using multiple sources of evidence, including an exam, observation and professional portfolio with resources and competency statements prepared by the Candidate. Visit the Council for Professional Recognition’s website for Frequently Asked Questions regarding the CDA Credentialing Program.

There are four CDA settings:

  • PRESCHOOL: A center-based preschool setting is a state-approved child development center where a Candidate can be observed working with a group of at least eight children, all of whom are ages 3 through 5 years old.
  • INFANT-TODDLER: A center-based infant-toddler setting is a state-approved child development center where a Candidate can be observed working with a group of at least three children, all of whom are under the age of 3 years old.
  • FAMILY CHILD CARE: A family child care setting is a family child care home where a Candidate can be observed working with at least two children 5 years old or younger who are not related to the Candidate by blood or marriage. The setting must meet at least the minimum level of applicable state and/or local regulations. Family child care settings are also eligible in localities where there is no regulation of family child care.
  • HOME VISITOR: A home visitor setting is an established program of home visits (to families with children 5 years old or younger) that supports parents in meeting the needs of their young children. In this setting, regular home visits are the primary method of program delivery. Candidates for a Home Visitor credential follow a slightly different assessment process than the other credentials. See the Council’s website for more information about obtaining a Home Visitor CDA.

How can KCCTO help you earn your CDA?

We know that, in addition to working through the CDA Credentialing process, many CDA Candidates have busy professional and personal lives. We want to provide you with the support and resources you need to meet all of the requirements to earn your CDA, with as little stress as possible.

KCCTO supports CDA Candidates through the following:

  • CDA Credentialing Process Quick Tips: Check out an explanation of the 6 Steps to earning your CDA, learn how to review training, and read about the CDA Training Track for initial and renewal CDA Candidates.
  • CDA Specific Courses: KCCTO offers 3 CDA specific courses. These courses help you gain an understanding of the overall initial CDA Credentialing process and begin work on your CDA Professional Portfolio. Additionally, most KCCTO courses will apply toward CDA professional education requirements!
  • KCCTO CDA Training Tracks: Let us help you meet the professional education requirements for your Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family Child Care CDA, whether you’re a first-time CDA Candidate or working on renewal. We’ll help you choose your courses and plan out your schedule.
  • Scholarships: We offer scholarships for both CDA training and the online CDA application fee. Visit our scholarship page to see if you are eligible!
  • CDA Technical Assistance: Our Training and Technical Assistance Specialists want you to be successful in your KCCTO courses, and use what you’ve learned from our courses in your work with young children. As you take KCCTO courses, our T/TA Specialists will check in with you to answer any questions about the courses or the CDA Credentialing process. Visit our Technical Assistance page to learn more!

Apply for the KCCTO CDA Training Track

First Time CDA CandidatesRenewal CDA Candidates
Who Can Apply?Kansas residents working in licensed Kansas child care programs 

Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family Child Care CDA Candidates
Kansas residents working in licensed Kansas child care programs 

Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family Child Care CDA Candidates
PrerequisitesKCCTO Online Course
Orientation to the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
Current CDA Credential
Online Training HoursUp to 120 KDHE approved clock hoursUp to 45 KDHE approved clock hours

How do I apply?

KCCTO uses an application system called Apply KCCTO to process CDA Training Track applications.

New to Apply KCCTO? 

  • Fill out this survey. KCCTO will provide you with the login information needed to begin your application! 
  • Apply KCCTO requires a unique email address. Please use an email address that you do not share with others. This email address will be used for any future applications or courses with KCCTO.  

Already Have an Apply KCCTO Account? 

  • Login to Apply KCCTO here.  

Forgot Your Apply KCCTO Login Information? 


Have questions about how KCCTO’s CDA assistance works? Visit our CDA Frequently Asked Questions page for more information!