Child Development Associate Certificate

Format: On Campus
Application Deadlines
  • Spring 2022 Priority Deadline: November 4, 2021
  • Spring 2022 Regular Deadline: January 6, 2022

Offered in partnership with the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (PDI) the Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate at the CUNY School of Professional Studies is the only compre­hensive credit-bearing Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate in New York City. The program provides students not only with the required coursework but also advisement, writing support, portfolio creation, career services, and classroom observation in pursuit of the Child Development Associate Credential. 

Students in the program:

  • Demonstrate the use of the developmental perspective in their work with young children and families.
  • Support second-language learners and children with special needs in early childhood education programs effectively.
  • Examine and reflect on their teaching, both orally and in writing.
  • Apply effective classroom practices and create developmentally appropriate learning environments.
  • Use strategies and techniques to strengthen connections between their centers and children's homes.
  • Use skills and resources to assist parents in caring effectively for their children.


120 hours of supervised fieldwork per course is required, regardless of whether a student intends to pursue the CDA. Fieldwork will be supervised by a course instructor or assigned fieldwork observer. A vital source of evidence of a student’s skills is actual hands-on work as a teacher with children and families, which also provides a student with an opportunity to learn through experience. Fieldwork offers a student an opportunity to see her practice in light of new knowledge from the CDA course work. 

Students currently employed by a licensed program serving children birth – 5 years can utilize their place of employment for their fieldwork hours. Students who are not employed by a licensed program will be placed in a site that is agreed upon by the instructor and student. Students are required to complete 480 hours of fieldwork prior to completion of the certificate program.

Career Prospects

The certificate is designed for preschool teachers, childcare workers, and other individuals looking to work in Early Childhood Education. The nationally recognized Child Development Associate Credential has been accepted as a state requirement for working in many early childhood centers.

The structure and curriculum of the CDA Certificate are designed to complement the Child Development Associate National Credentialing Program’s Competency Standards. Students who complete the requirements of these credit-bearing courses, with faculty advisement, can go on to submit a portfolio to the Council for Professional Recognition in order to earn the CDA Credential.

Credits earned through the successful completion of these CDA courses may also be applied to degree programs, thus establishing the foundation for career advancement.

Scholarship Opportunities

Eligible students can take advantage of the following scholarship opportunities:

Custom Programs

For more information on how the CDA Certificate can benefit your staff and organization, please contact Claudine Campanelli, Director of Career Services and Higher Education, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute: or Maxine Barton, College Assistant:

Articulation Agreements

Articulation agreements are formal agreements between CUNY SPS and two-year colleges and universities, allowing students to transfer the maximum number of credits with ease to our CDA Certificate from institutions with which we have an established transfer process in place.

Admissions Criteria

Candidates for admission to undergraduate level certificate programs must possess a high school diploma or a High School Equivalency diploma from New York State (also known as TASC or GED). Applicants are required to submit a personal statement. Current employment and background as an assistant teacher is an advantage but not essential for admission.

Application Deadlines

  • Spring 2022 Priority Deadline: November 4, 2021
  • Spring 2022 Regular Deadline: January 6, 2022
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Recent News About Child Development Associate Certificate

Kadeatrice holding children's book

Child Development Associate Certificate Students Publish Children's Books

June 29, 2021

CUNY SPS is proud to celebrate the publication of three children’s books written by students in the School’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate program.

How the Credit-Bearing CDA Shapes Careers: Janell Barron’s Story

June 23, 2021

New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute

Claudine Campanelli, who oversees the CUNY SPS undergraduate Child Development Associate (CDA) and the graduate Children’s Program Administrator Credential (CPAC) programs, interviews CDA alum Janell Barron on the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute blog. During their conversation, Barron shares how the credit-bearing CDA program has shaped her career in the last five years.
CDA Gold Standard Comprehensive Seal

CUNY SPS Awarded CDA Gold Standard

November 30, 2020

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is proud to announce that its Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate program has been granted the prestigious CDA Gold...

Birth of a Teacher: A Special CDA® Program at CUNY SPS

September 22, 2019

Shontae Ferguson-Pryce was determined to attend her graduation.

Shontae dreamed of standing onstage with the 46 other students who'd earned their Child Development Associate (CDA®) Credentials from the City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS).