Child Development Associate Certificate

Format: On Campus

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:

Educational Incentive Program (EIP)

Patti Lieberman Scholarship for Early Childhood Education

Helena Rubinstein Continuing Education Scholarship

Custom Programs

For more information on how the CDA Certificate can benefit your staff and organization, please contact Claudine Campanelli, Higher Education Coordinator:

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.

Borough of Manhattan Community College – A.S. in Child Care/Early Childhood Education (PDF)
Hostos Community College - A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education (PDF)
Kingsborough Community College – A.S. in Early Childhood Education / Child Care (PDF)

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.


Students who have applied and have been admitted into the program may register for classes by downloading and completing the registration form (PDF).

Please return your completed registration form to the Registrar's Office:

Via mail:

CUNY School of Professional Studies
Attn: Associate Registrar
119 West 31st Street, Suite 123
New York NY 10001


Via fax:

Attn: Associate Registrar, Jennifer Lee
Fax: (646) 664-8722

Application Deadlines

Applications for Fall 2019 are due by August 8, 2019

Apply Now

Recent News About Child Development Associate Certificate

Accessible Child Care

August 02, 2016

The New York Times

Sherry Cleary, who works closely with our CDA and CPAC programs, penned an honest and thoughtful letter to The New York Times regarding accessible child care.