Child Development Associate – Center-Based

This exciting course is designed to provide you with a working knowledge of early childhood education and prepare you for the Child Development Associate® (CDA) certification process of the Council for Professional Recognition with content review, assessment practice, and portfolio preparation.

The course will include a thorough introduction to early childhood education. Topics covered include how children learn and grow, safe and healthy environments, physical and cognitive growth, social and...

6 Months / 120 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

George Mason University

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Course code: GES2124

What you will learn

  • Evaluate and make recommendations for modifications of regulations regarding children's health, safety, and learning environments
  • Identify typical stages of cognitive, linguistic, physical, social, and emotional development
  • Develop a list of developmentally appropriate activities and materials that encourage physical, linguistic, cognitive, creative, social, and emotional development in children from birth to age five
  • Implement appropriate guidance techniques for specific situations relating to children's behaviors
  • Demonstrate skills in practical application of developmental principles and theories, observation techniques, and recognition of growth and development patterns
  • Apply the competency statements into practice in an early childhood setting
  • Prepare to become a certified child development associate professional
  • Communicate qualifications for employability

How you will benefit

  • Build a portfolio for your verification visit with PD Specialist feedback
  • Know how to team with parents and guardians to track milestones or identify developmental delays
  • Develop appropriate lesson plans with accommodations
  • Complete one of the leading CDA classes

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 6 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 120 course hours
  1. Getting Started
  2. How to Take This Course
  3. Why Earn a Child Development Certification?
  4. The Portfolio Introduction
  5. Principles of Child Development and Learning
  6. Planning a Safe and Healthy Learning Environment
  7. Advancing Children's Physical and Intellectual Development
  8. Supporting Children's Social and Emotional Development
  9. Building Productive Relationships with Families
  10. Managing an Effective Program
  11. Observing and Recording Children's Behavior
  12. Achieving High-Quality Care
  13. Final Portfolio Review
  14. CDA Prep and Taking Your Exam
  15. Employability
  16. Final Exam
  17. Resources

Kerri Welch

Kerri Welch has over 20 years of extensive experience in the field of early childhood education. More specifically, with the CDA credential, she previously served as an instructor and field supervisor at Dutchess Community College in New York and as a PD Specialist for the CDA Council. She is currently teaching child development classes at Houston Community College.

Kerri has successfully trained a diverse population of students by helping them advance in their careers in early childhood development through implementing a child-centered, developmentally appropriate curriculum that uses positive guidance techniques. She has a Master of Science in early childhood education with a focus on students with disabilities, a bachelor's degree in elementary education, and an associate degree in early childhood education.

Kerri is on the advisory board of Informed Green Solutions, a national non-profit that has pioneered environmental education on green cleaning products for early childhood programs. She is extremely passionate about children's health, nutrition, and safety, especially regarding children with special needs.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Certification Requirements:

To be eligible for the CDA certification:

  • You must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, or be a junior or senior in a high school career and technical program, and
  • Complete 120 hours of formal early childhood technical education (this course meets CDA requirements)
  • Complete a CDA professional portfolio (this course assists with portfolio preparation)
  • Complete a CDA verification site visit where a PD Specialist observes you working with children

Please note: Within three years of submitting your application, you must also have 480 hours (about three weeks) of professional work experience at a center-based program with experience in all three age groups.

For more information on the CDA requirements, please visit the CDA Council website.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • Childhood Development Associate Manual, Infant-Toddler & Preschool Editions

The following eBooks will be provided in the course:

  • Beginning Essentials in Early Childhood Education, 3rd edition, by Ann Gordon, Kathryn Williams Browne (eBook)
  • Infants & Toddlers: Caregiving and Responsive Curriculum Development, 10th edition, by Terri Swim (eBook)

Yes. You will be prepared for the Child Development Associate® (CDA) certification and credentialing process for two of the four available pathways. This course will prepare you for the Infant-Toddler and Preschool pathways of the CDA certification. The Infant-Toddler and Preschool pathways will prepare you to work as an educator in a childcare center.

The education hours earned can be applied toward both pathways. However, you will need to prepare a different Professional Portfolio and have a separate CDA Verification Visit for each age group to be certified in both pathways. For more information on the CDA requirements and to learn more about the four available pathways, please visit the CDA Council website.

No, this course prepares students for the Infant-Toddler and Preschool pathways/exams of the CDA.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course whenever you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations before enrolling in courses preparing for certification.

After you register, you will receive 6 months to complete the course. The time allotted for completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

The course instructor will be available by email to answer questions and provide feedback on your performance. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.

Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school or organization you registered.

ed2go courses will help you gain the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. However, you should always research the job market in your area before enrolling.

ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA, and Pell Grant. Vocational rehab or workforce development boards may provide funding to take our courses in some states. Additionally, you may qualify for financial assistance if you meet certain requirements. Learn more about financial assistance.

Representatives are available via LIVE chat if you have questions not answered on our website. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you visit us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.