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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL and schedule her own verification visit and CDA Exam. By allow- ing the candidate to take charge of her own CDA, the Council is encouraging her to be a responsible and goal-directed professional. How Many People Have a CDA Credential? Since 1975, the total number of caregivers who have achieved a CDA Credential is well over 300,000. As a result of an increased demand for trained and qualified staff by employers in both the public and private sectors, more than 15,000 child care providers apply for the CDA Credential each year. In addition, forty-nine states plus the District of Columbia include the CDA Credential as part of their child care licensing regulations (Bailey 2004). Who Earns a CDA? More than half of CDAs are between the ages of twenty-six and forty, with a continued increase in the number of CDAs over the age of forty. The majority of people who have earned a CDA are female. Those who are CDAs tend to be more diverse with regard to race/ethnicity (Bailey 2004). Why Is Getting a CDA Important? Working through the CDA process can be worthwhile and rewarding. In so doing, a candidate can benefit through these achievements: • Earn a nationally recognized Credential • Evaluate his or her own work as it compares to national standards and improve on skills • Receive one-on-one advice, support, and feedback from early childhood professionals who have experience working with young children and knowledge of child development • Improve upon existing skills to the benefit of young chil- dren, as well as the candidate (Council for Professional Recognition 2006) The field of early childhood education is a vibrant one, show- ing much potential for increased employment opportunity in the future. The National Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that employment for child care workers is expected to grow by at least 20 percent by 2020, which is a faster average employment in- crease than that of any other occupation. With continued research COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Facts about the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential and Process 3