Early Child Care Education/CDA

Top Early Child Care Education/Child Development Associate Program in Northeast Ohio & Cleveland Area

Questions? Call us NOW at (440) 891-7600!

(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. 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, 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.

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 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 a background check, obtain necessary immunizations/titres, and a TB test. Note: Field experience hours will vary between 6:00 AM and 6:00 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.

Learn the CDA Observation Method, R-O-R (Review, Observance & Reflect) and plan for the Verification Visit.



FALL 2015
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
September 2015 – June 2016

Tuition Fee: $6,995 (includes non-refundable materials fee of $685)
Tuition includes textbooks, supplies, Infant/Child CPR, Communicable Disease, First Aid and Child Abuse Recognition training and certification fee, and CDA application fee.

Student can expect the following additional costs: physical exam, immunizations and/or titres & TB test, and background check.

Program Resource

Course of Study


Gainful employment information – Student Policies & Financial Aid Consumer Handbook

Click here to view the Gainful Employment Disclosure. Students were enrolled in 2013-2014 and graduated in the 2014-2015 school year.

Early Child Care Education/CDA 2014-2015 Advisory Members

Ms. Rene Buchtel, Holy Family Child Day Care
Ms. Christine Davis, Mather Early Learning Center
Dr. Marlene Gombach, Cleveland State University
Ms. Jennifer Penttila, Guidestone – Family Life Centers
Ms. Jane Pernicone, First Baptist Church Child Care Center
Ms. Kathy Phillips, Mary Hart Preschool and Childcare
Ms. Jackie Saggio, Parma Preschool
Ms. Jennifer Schwelik, INFOhio
Ms. Kim Surniak, Parma Preschool
Ms. Melissa Wolfe, Smart Start LC Inc.