CDA Credentialing

Certificate of Successful Completion - New Mexico Child Development Certificate

(Sample of Certificate with Child Development Certificate written on it in the yellow box, a requirement)

Both New Mexico Child Development Certificates exceed the requirements of the CDA Credential. And, most importantly, the requirements include four (4) of the courses (11 credits) required for an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. 

There are two (2) New Mexico Child Development Certificates:

  1. New Mexico Child Development Certificate with Infant/Toddler Specialization
  2. New Mexico Child Development Certificate with Preschool Specialization.

In order to qualify for either New Mexico Child Development Certificate, an applicant must request, complete and submit a certificate packet. 

Certificate requirements include successful completion of:
  1. Four Courses with at least a C:
    • Child Growth, Development and Learning
    • Health, Safety and Nutrition
    • Family and Community Collaboration
    • Assessment of Children and Evaluation of Programs
  2. Professional Resource File
  3. Family Opinion Questionnaire
  4. Observation
  5. Oral Interview
Completed packets must be submitted to:
NM Office of Child Development
P.O. Drawer 5160
Santa Fe, NM 87502

Arizona and Utah Credentialing for Navajo Head Start

Arizona and Utah Applicants: National CDA Credentialing
Consider the following before making the commitment to pursue a CDA Credential:
I. You will be asked to demonstrate your competence in an early childhood education setting based on the six CDA Competency Goals and 13 Functional Areas.
II. You may apply for the CDA Credential only if:
  • You hold a high school diploma, or equivalent, or you are a junior or senior in a high school career / technical program in early childhood education.
  • You are able to speak, read, and write well enough to perform the responsibilities of a CDA
Before submitting a CDA application, you need to complete the following prerequisites:
Anytime before application
I. Formal training
You must complete 120 hours of formal early childhood education training, covering the growth and development of children aged from birth to 5 years, with no fewer than 10 training hours in each of the following subject areas:
  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Building productive relationships with families
  • Managing an effective program operation
  • Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Understanding principles of child development and learning
While formal education hours can be for credit or noncredit, they must be earned through an agency or organization with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. The agency or organization must verify your education in the form of an official transcript, certificate, or letter.
Within last three years
II. 480 hours of professional work experience
This experience needs to be in a group setting with children aged 3 through 5 years.
Within last six months
III. The Professional Portfolio
You are required to put together a collection of reference materials related to your work. Please follow the detailed instructions in your Competency Standards book to prepare your Professional Portfolio.
IV. Family Questionnaires
You are required to distribute and collect Family Questionnaires. These questionnaires offer parents an opportunity to give their opinion on your work with their children. The Competency Standards book includes a blank questionnaire with instructions of how to distribute the questionnaires.
V. Find a CDA Professional Development Specialist
The CDA PD Specialist will bring the mentoring/coaching skills and ECE expertise needed to assess your competencies and facilitate your self-reflection during the Verification Visit. Before submitting your CDA application, you must identify a PD Specialist who is willing to conduct your Verification Visit after the Council approves your application.
Once you have completed all prerequisites listed in Step 2, you are ready to fill out and submit your CDA Application. We encourage candidates to submit their applications online for an easier and faster application experience. 
Benefits of Applying Online
If you submit a CDA Application online using the YourCDA online application you can:
  • Check status of your credentialing process anytime
  • Receive and submit your Director and PD Specialist statements electronically
  • Pay the assessment fee electronically (you can pay via credit card, check, money order, or agency scholarship)
  • Communicate quickly with the Council
  • Get automatic updates as to where you are in the process
The non-refundable / non-transferable application fee of $425 must be submitted with your application. Make sure to secure the funds before you submit your application.
The CDA Application will ask you to:
  • Confirm that you meet eligibility requirements
  • Confirm that you completed all prerequisites
  • Select English or Spanish as your preferred language for the CDA Exam – New!
  • Provide the identification number of your CDA Professional Development Specialist.
  • Obtain your Program Director’s signature
  • Include a $425 Application fee or pay it online (for online applicants only)
Note: The Council does not assign CDA Professional Development Specialists to CDA Candidates. You are encouraged to find a PD Specialist in your community. 
How to Apply 
Please apply online or mail a completed paper application with the assessment fee to:
Council for Professional Recognition
2460 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009-3547
Please do NOT mail any other documents to the Council. The Council will not return these documents to you. Follow the application instructions to make sure you submit a correctly COMPLETED CDA Application.
Application Deadline
You may submit your application any time of the year.

Credential Resources & Downloads

Arizona: (to purchase a Preschool CDA Competency Std’s Book)
CDA Nat’l Credentialing: