Early Child Care Education/CDA

(930 Hours) Financial Aid Eligible Program (For those who qualify)

The Early Child Care Education/Child Development Associate (CDA) is the most widely recognized credential in early child care education (ECE) and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in ECE. The Polaris Career Center CDA program is designed to prepare students to successfully complete the requirements for the nationally recognized CDA credential.Employment opportunities include, Pre-K or Infant/Toddler teacher, teacher assistant, or family child-care provider.

The CDA credential is based on a core set of competency standards which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children. CDA students will learn how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual, literacy/language and social development of children. Students will also learn employability skills. The CDA student will gain knowledge of how to put the CDA Competency Standards into practice and an understanding of why those standards help children move with success from one developmental stage to another. With the new Step-Up-to-Quality requirements, earning a CDA credential will enhance a student’s job opportunities in the field. Learn the CDA Observation Method, R-O-R (Review, Observe & Reflect) and plan for the Verification Visit.

Students will receive 450-hours of classroom training and have the opportunity to gain practical experience in a 480-hour unpaid required field experience/externship at an area Step-Up to Quality child care center.

A minimum of 90% attendance with a C average or better is required for students to participate in the externship opportunity. Prior to the field experience/externship, students will be required to have and show proof of a physical exam, complete and pass a background check, obtain necessary immunizations.

Note: Field experience hours will vary between 6:00 AM and 6:30 PM and will be determined by the child care center.

Upon completion of the CDA program, the student will be eligible to apply for the CDA credential.

Certifications/Licensure include:
CPR, Communicable Disease, First Aid and Child Abuse Recognition and Prevention Training.
CDA (Child Development Associate)


Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
September 12, 2016 – June 26, 2017

Tuition Fee: $6,995 (includes non-refundable materials fee of $822)
Tuition includes textbooks, supplies, Infant/Child CPR, Communicable Disease, First Aid and Child Abuse Recognition training and certification fees, and CDA application fee.

Student can expect the following additional costs: physical exam, immunizations and background checks if necessary.

Students completing the Early Child Care/CDA. 930 hour program and earning the Child Development Associate (CDA) awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition, Washington D.C. will qualify for the One Year Option College Credit Affirmation Program approved by the chancellor and the Board of Regents of the State of Ohio.  Students will be awarded 30 college technical credit hours toward their Associate of Technical Studies Degree upon enrollment at an Ohio institution of higher learning.

For more information, call our Transitions Coordinator at (440) 891-7697.

Program Resource

Course of Study


Gainful employment information – Student Policies & Financial Aid Consumer Handbook

Click here to view the Gainful Employment Disclosure.

Early Child Care Education/CDA 2015-2016 Advisory Members

Ms. Rene Buchtel, Holy Family Child Day Care
Ms. Christine Davis, Gordon Square Early Learning Center
Dr. Marlene Gombach, Cleveland State University
Ms. Jennifer Penttila, Family Life Child Care Center of Berea
Ms. Katheen Phillips, Mary Hart Preschool and Childcare
Ms. Jennifer Schwelik, INFOhio
Ms. Becky Volle, Family Life Child Car Center of Lakewood
Ms. Melissa Wolfe, Smart Start LC Inc.