appropriate Competency Standards book from the Council for
Professional Recognition. You will specify one of these settings
when ordering. Ordering can be done by calling 1-800-424-4310 or
by going online at www.cdacouncil.org.
The CDA candidate is assessed on the basis of six national
CDA Competency Standards. The six standards are the criteria
used to evaluate a caregiver’s performance with children and
families. These same six standards are used for all of the settings.
These are the six CDA Competency Standards:
I. To establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning
environment II. To advance physical and intellectual competence
III. To support social and emotional development and
to provide positive guidance
VI. To establish positive and productive relationships
V. To ensure a well-run, purposeful program respon-
sive to participant needs
VI. To maintain a commitment to professionalism
(Council for Professional Recognition 2006, 2013)
The six Competency Standards are defined in greater detail by
thirteen Functional Areas. These Functional Areas describe more
specifically the functions that a caregiver must perform to meet
the criteria of each Competency Standard. These functions will
vary according to a candidate’s particular child care setting and the
age groupings of the children.
Within six months of your application, you will distribute
and collect Family Questionnaires. You will also assemble your
Professional Portfolio, including the Resource Collection, six
Competency Statements, and your Professional Philosophy
As a candidate, you will prepare a Professional Portfolio. The
portfolio will include various pieces of documentation, a Resource
Collection, six Competency Statements (based on the CDA
Competency Standards), and a Professional Philosophy Statement.
Specific instructions for assembling and preparing this portfolio
are included in chapter 4 for a preschool setting, chapter 5 for an
infant/toddler setting, and chapter 6 for a family child care setting.
Also prior to applying for a CDA, you will need to locate a
PD Specialist. This is a person who has been trained and certified
by the Council to conduct CDA verification visits. Read more
about the PD Specialist later in this chapter.
Facts about the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential and Process