Child Development Associate (CDA) Support


CDA applicants are required by the Council for Professional Recognition to complete the following requirements for application for the Child Development Associate Credential.

Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) provides tuition assistance and textbooks for four (4) college courses. These four courses meet the training requirements required by the Council. The four courses are:

To see when these courses are offered next view the Southwest course schedule.

For information on financial assistance visit the Tuition Assistance page.

Once students complete the college coursework, they need to work with the TECTA to complete the CDA application materials.

Documentation of Competence

Reflective Statements of Competence

The Reflective Statements of Competence are written reflections of a teacher's own teaching practices and reflections.

CDA Candidates are required to write 6 (six) Reflective Statements of Competence. Each statement should be no more than 500 words and should include each of the functional areas associated with each Competency Goal as outlined in the CDA Competency Standards book. View the CDA Competency Goals and Functional Areas.

Professional Portfolio

The Professional Portfolio is intended to be a reflective professional development experience for child care providers. It is a collection of materials that early childhood professionals use in their work with young children and their families. It is a working resource. It should be useful in a Candidate's career in early childhood education.

Within the Portfolio, Candidates place the following items:

  • CDA Professional Portfolio Cover Page (found in the CDA Competence Standards book)
  • Summary of My CDA Education
  • Family Questionnaire Cover Page
  • Six Reflective Statements of Competence
  • Resource Collection for the Standards
  • Professional Philosophy Statement

Specific information regarding how it should be organized and what belongs in each section may be found in the CDA Competency Standards book. If you are a TECTA supported Candidate, you may obtain a copy of this from the TECTA Office.


Once a candidate is ready to apply for the Credential, he or she needs to find a Professional Development Specialist (PDS) to conduct their Verification Visit. Candidates must gain permission from the child care center director for the Verification Visit to take place within the program. He or she then completes the CDA application online or via the paper application in the CDA Competency Standards book.

Demonstrating your Competence

After a Candidate's application has been accepted by the Council, the Candidate may schedule the Verification Visit and Exam.

Verification Visit

The Verification Visit includes a Review of the materials, an Observation of the Candidate as the lead teacher in your classroom, and Reflection with the Candidate. The R.O.R. Model™ (Review – Observe – Reflect) allows for Candidates to receive feedback from the Professional Development Specialist regarding their strengths.

CDA Exam

The CDA exam is a multiple choice exam. It is taken on a computer at a PearsonVUE testing location.

TECTA supports the CDA process through scholarships for college courses and mentoring services for the CDA documentation and application process. If you are interested in TECTA assisting you in the process, please call 901-333-5541.