Tennessee and the CDA: What you should know - post

Tennessee and the CDA: What you should know

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Strengthening Early Foundations in Tennessee

Early childhood is a critical period for development that lays the groundwork for a child's future success in school and life. In Tennessee, state leaders have recognized the importance of providing high-quality early learning experiences and support for families with young children.

  • The Voluntary Pre-K Program is one of Tennessee's key early childhood initiatives. Established in 2005, it offers free pre-kindergarten education for 4-year-olds from low-income families or other at-risk categories. As of the 2021-22 school year, over 18,000 children were enrolled in 935 pre-K classrooms across the state.
  • To support program quality across different types of early care settings, Tennessee has implemented a Quality Rating and Improvement System called the Star Quality Program. Child care providers can earn 1 to 3 stars by meeting an escalating set of quality standards.
  • In 2019, Tennessee was awarded a $35 million federal Preschool Development Grant to further expand and enhance the state's early childhood system over three years. Funds have supported initiatives like the Tennessee Birth-5 Child Care Pilot Project in Shelby County.
  • As Tennessee's early childhood programs and supports keep growing, the state is fostering brighter futures for its youngest residents from the start.

Are you an #early-childhood-educator in the state of Tennessee or interested in becoming one? It is important that you have your CDA!

What is a CDA?

The CDA is a national credential awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition.
It is designed for individuals working with children ages birth through 5 years old.
To obtain the CDA, candidates must meet education/experience requirements, complete 120 hours of formal training, and pass an exam. 

Tennessee Requirements:

In Tennessee, the CDA is recognized by the Department of Human Services as meeting the credentialed educator qualifications for #early-childhood-educators.
CDAs allow educators to be approved as lead teachers in licensed childcare centers in Tennessee.

Benefits of the CDA in Tennessee:

  • Holding a CDA can qualify an individual for higher pay scales or pay supplements at many childcare centers and #preschools.
    The CDA meets part of the requirements for several Child Development Associate degrees/certificates at community colleges in Tennessee.

  • To maintain an active CDA, holders must complete 3 hours of continuing education annually. The CDA is valid for 3 years before renewal is required.
    Many childcare employers, the Tennessee Department of Education, and scholarship/technical assistance programs recognize and incentivize attaining the national #CDA credential in the state.

Interested in taking classes for your CDA, or other professional development courses for early childhood? Please check out fulfilling your Child Care Training Needs with ChildCareEd.

ChildCareEd courses are approved in TrainTN by the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) for professional development clock hours.  ChildCareEd is an IACET Accredited Provider. ChildCareEd offers online self-paced and Virtual Instructor-led format trainings.  In addition, our online courses are available in multiple languages. 

#ChildCareEd offers a comprehensive solution to ensure staff development and compliance:

  • ChildCareEd provides a wide range of online courses that align perfectly with the mandated training topics for Tennessee child care providers, including CDA courses
  • Convenience and Flexibility: The online format allows staff to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, making it easier to fit training into busy work lives.
  • Quality-Assured Content: ChildCareEd courses are developed by #early-childhood education experts and meet all relevant quality standards.




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