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Professional Recognition Without a Degree

The nationally recognized Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™ offers recognition for valuable knowledge about working with children and helping them reach their full potential. It is often a first step into a career educating young children. Child Care Aware of Minnesota offers several supports for educators pursuing or renewing their CDA®, including training cohorts, advising services, and financial supports.

The Council for Professional Recognition awards the CDA® and is the go-to resource for more information about the CDA® assessment and requirements.

Young children learning the English alphabet with their parents

The Minnesota CDA (MNCDA) was designed to provide the core training required for the Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™. Cohorts are held face-to-face throughout the state and online through Eager-to-Learn.

What to expect:

  • 120 hours of professional development in all eight CDA® subject areas. Trainings incorporate and align with key early childhood education standards, including Minnesota’s Knowledge and Competency Framework and the Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress.
  • Guidance to complete your Professional Portfolio. Participants who complete the homework assignments will have most of their Professional Portfolio materials ready for review upon completion of the MNCDA.
  • Support from a Learning Community Coordinator and connections to other early education professionals.
  • Prioritized eligibility for CDA® application fee and training reimbursement after completion.

Interested in finding an upcoming MNCDA learning community?

Complete the CDA® Learning Community Interest Form.


As you prepare to apply for the CDA®, it can be helpful to have additional support completing your Professional Portfolio. Child Care Aware of Minnesota offers free access to a Portfolio Specialist who can help with the following tasks:

  • Review the work you have already completed.
  • Provide feedback to expand on ideas.
  • Answer general questions about portfolio requirements and CDA® requirements.
  • Share CDA® resources.

This opportunity is available to CDA® candidates who are not enrolled in an MNCDA learning community through Eager-to-Learn or a Child Care Aware of Minnesota district office. Complete the CDA Portfolio Assistance Request Form to receive up to five hours of support from a Portfolio Specialist at no cost. Space is limited and based upon availability.


CDA® Awards help candidates pay for the required training, application, and renewal of the nationally recognized Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™.

To learn more about the financial support available, visit the CDA® Awards page.


No matter where you are in their process of earning or renewing your CDA®, Professional Development Advisors are available to offer support and guidance. Contact your local Professional Development Advisor for one-on-one assistance regarding goal setting, training verification, and more.