Whether you work in a home-based day care center, a licensed day care facility or a state-operated school environment, the CDA — or Child Development Associate — license is required. The certification program assures that all people who work with children are trained and that the training is consistent across the state of Florida.
A CDA training program will fulfill your education requirements to apply for your National Child Development Associate Credential. This associate degree and corresponding licensing, allows you to work in any one of three types of child care environments, including center based, family or home based or home visitor situations. Renewing an existing CDA is free. Only accredited CDA certification programs are accepted by the state of Florida.
Requirements for a Florida CDA
To award a CDA, Florida requires 120 hours of early childhood instruction courses and 480 hours of contact with children, birth through age 8. Two certifications are also required. The first is Birth Through Age Five, which used to be called the CDA Equivalency Program. The second is School Age, which used to be called the Florida School Age Certificate. Each accredited school that offers the CDA uses its own names for the classes it develops. By joining an accredited program, you’ll be assured that you’ve completed all of the coursework and credit hours necessary to receive your CDA.
Florida CDA Certification Classes
Most institutions offer a number of categories of classes, and students need to complete a certain number of classes within each category. CDA candidates take classes specific to working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers or school-age children. The school may require or offer an introductory class as well as courses on communicating with children of different ages; working with children from diverse ethnic groups and those with special needs; health, safety and literacy; social and emotional development; and classes for prospective center directors or administrators. Since the state of Florida recognizes the number of course hours and not the number of course credits completed, it’s important to select classes based on the number of course hours offered.
Locations to Get Florida CDA Certification
Colleges often compete for CDA students. This means you’ll have a wide variety of schools to choose from, including those offering distance learning and on-site instruction. Distance learning involves online learning as well as studying with books sent to you via mail. If you thrive in a classroom setting, an on-site institution is ideal. Students who need more time to study or prepare, as well as those who thrive working independently, can take advantage of distance-learning programs. As long as the school is accredited, both are acceptable for receiving your CDA in Florida.
To complete the CDA credentialing process you must:
- Meet all eligibility and training requirements.
- Purchase a CDA Competency Standards book in the setting of your work with children.
- Complete the documentation collection: Professional Portfolio, Family Questionnaires.
- Submit a completed CDA application with full payment.
These are all the pre-requisites to getting a Child Development Associate License in Florida.