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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL • Bilingual • Special education This choice depends on the candidate’s specific experience with young children in whichever of the categories the can- didate is working and where she can be observed functioning as a lead teacher. The candidate may not choose a setting in which she hopes or intends to work in the future. For example, if a candidate is working with infants and toddlers in a center- based program, she may not apply for a center-based preschool credential because she plans to move into a classroom of older children in the near future. She must first acquire a center-based infant/toddler credential because this is the setting in which she presently works and where she will be observed for her CDA. She may, at a later date, work toward a CDA for center-based preschool when she has accumulated 480 hours of experience with children in that age group and completes the credentialing process for that setting. All of the steps must be completed again for this new setting, but some of the training taken for the first CDA may be reused if it covers areas that relate to the second credential type. For example, a course that covered health and safety in child care could be counted toward the second creden- tial, but a course specifically about infants could not be used for a preschool credential (Council for Professional Recognition 2006, 2013). Once you have begun the CDA process and until your veri- fication visit is completed, it is very important that you stay in the particular setting you have chosen. This is because all of your documentation, your CDA Exam, Family Questionnaires, and reflective dialogue with the PD Specialist will be based on that setting. Changing settings will not work. It may be necessary to explain this to your director so such changes are postponed until after this time. If you are a “floater” in a center, working with sev- eral different age groups and settings as needed, you must ask your director to let you settle into one specific setting and age group for the majority of the time while you are working on your CDA. Within three years of applying as a candidate, you must have 480 hours of experience working with children whose ages and setting are the same as those chosen for your application. When you receive The Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program ® and CDA Competency Standards book from the Council, it will be one of three different colors, depending on the specific setting (Family Child Care is blue, Center-Based Preschool is green, and Center-Based Infant/Toddler is yellow). It COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Facts about the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential and Process 7