CDA – Child Development Associate Credential

Free CDA Preschool Teacher Training Program at MWCC Can Lead to a Rewarding Career & College Degree

MWCC’s Early Childhood Education Child Development Associate (CDA) program offers 120 hours of supervised professional experience and academic training to students who want a professional credential to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach young children. The CDA program follows the curriculum for the National Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).

CDA students will have the option to choose between three concentrations or teaching specializations: 1) Preschool Center Based, 2) Infant/Toddler, or 3) Family Child Care. A unique feature of the CDA program is that it uses an online, video-based classroom observation tool so that teachers in training can see their own performance and their supervisors can provide them with additional feedback.

MWCC has a grant that allows us to help interested students and early childhood educators advance their careers while receiving free classes towards a CDA credential, as well as receiving free English-language and tutoring support. In the past, as funding allowed, we have also been able to help students with other course-related costs.

Who Should Apply to the CDA Program?

Please apply if you already work in the field of early childhood education or if you are a high school graduate who will begin working in the field within three months of starting the CDA program.

How much does the CDA program cost at MWCC?

This grant-funded program is free to qualified students. In addition, some students may qualify for a stipend to cover the cost of child care and transportation.

ECE Grant Program Information Request

When are CDA classes held?

Classes are held during evenings and weekends to make it easier for working adults to participate.

What can I do after I graduate as a CDA? What can I do as a CDA?

Students who complete the program will meet the state requirements to work as EEC Lead Teachers at preschool centers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

What if I don’t speak English? What if I don’t have a high school diploma?

Additional courses are included free of charge to support students who require training in English as a second language (ESOL) and/or preparation to take the HiSET (GED) Exam. These additional courses, called CDA Plus, will be taught at the MWCC Leominster campus.

Do I need a CORI/SORI or Background Record Check?

CDA students must be able to pass a BRC (Background Record Check) and must be fingerprinted. For more information, read these FAQs about the BRC process.

Can I earn college credits in the CDA program? Can I transfer to a different college?

CDA graduates can transfer up to 10 credits from the CDA Program straight to MWCC’s ECE Certificate with an Infant Toddler Teacher Track or Preschool Teacher Track. To complete MWCC’s ECE Certificate, a CDA graduate will need just 15 or 16 more college credits or about 4-5 courses.

Students who complete both the CDA program and the ECE Certificate are able to apply their credits toward an associate degree in Early Childhood Education at MWCC. Students can become an A.S. Early Childhood Education – Career or A.S. Early Childhood Education – Transfer with only 36 more college credits, or about 10 – 12 courses.

After graduating from MWCC, students can choose to go on to get a bachelor’s degree at Fitchburg State University or transfer their credits to a different college or university.

What is the funding source for the CDA program?

MWCC’s CDA program is funded by the Early Childhood Education Career Pathways Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). The Career Pathways Grant was created by EEC to assist Massachusetts community college partners in promoting and expanding professional development opportunities and higher education certificate and degree attainment for the early childhood education and out-of-school time (ECE/OST) workforce. Initiatives supported through the grant focus on identifying the recruitment and training needs specific to the ECE/OST workforce, expanding opportunities for career advancement and retention, and early education and care stakeholder, employer and industry collaboration.