Register for CDA Prep

Satisfy your CDA credential requirements with three fully online, formal education courses

A critical part of earning your CDA credential is fulfilling 120 hours of formal education recognized by the Council for Professional Recognition. Not only do these three fully online courses satisfy that requirement, but they are also college-level credits that can transfer seamlessly into an ECE Associate's degree at Rasmussen College. 1


  • Foundations of Child Development

    You’ll learn how to meet emotional and learning needs for young children of different ages and circumstances. Students will begin to explore the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential standards and application requirements.

  • Curriculum and Instruction

    You’ll learn how to plan and teach developmentally appropriate curriculum in an early childhood environment. Students will continue to explore the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential standards and application requirements.

  • Health, Safety and Nutrition/CDA Application

    You’ll learn how to create and maintain safe environments for young children. Students will explore the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential standards and application requirements and, if eligible, may apply for the CDA Credential at the completion of this course.

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Accelerated Coursework Can be completed in as few as 4.5 months

1 course at a time for school/life balance

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Enrollment Agreement Deadline Start Date
August 6, 2020 August 12, 2020
September 29, 2020 October 5, 2020
November 5, 2020 November 12, 2020
December 29, 2020 January 4, 2021
February 4, 2021 February 10, 2021
March 30, 2021 April 5, 2021

Enrollment agreements are due by 6 p.m. (Central). For more information on the program, contact our advisors by email at or call 855-297-2939.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • About the Program

    About the Program

    • How long does the CDA Prep take?

      The CDA courses take approximately four and half months to complete. Courses are offered one at a time for work/life balance.

    • When are the CDA Prep courses offered?

      The program includes three courses, which must be taken in order and one at a time to preserve school/life balance. Start dates for the first course are in January, February, April, May, July, August, October and November.

    • What happens after my CDA Prep is complete?

      Upon completion of your CDA Prep, additional steps are required to obtain your CDA credential through the Council for Professional Recognition. To learn more, visit:

    • Partnership with CDA credential and Council for Professional Recognition

      Seal: Proud Partner of the CDA and the Council for Professional Recognition Seal: CDA Gold Standard Training Certification Comprehensive, Expires 7/27/2020 Our curriculum includes a focus on preparing students to apply for their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition. Rasmussen is a proud partner of the CDA Credential and the Council for Professional Recognition and is honored to be among a select group of early childhood education training organizations to be awarded the CDA® Gold Standard Training Certification. The certification helps ECE students find the high-quality training and support services they need to prepare for the CDA Credential.

  • Getting Started

    Getting Started

    • How do I get started?

      To enroll, please visit the online Enrollment Application here .

    • What are the next steps after I enroll?

      After you complete the online application, you will receive a confirmation email verifying your application submission. This email provides you access for a mandatory student orientation, which must be completed before your first course begins.

  • Taking Online Courses

    Taking Online Courses

    • Are the courses available fully online?

      Yes. CDA Prep is offered fully online. This means you must have reliable access to a computer for assignments throughout each week of the course. Assignments are unable to be completed or turned in on phones or tablets.

    • What if I don’t want to take online classes?

      Courses are only offered online, but with online tutoring and 24/7 technical support, we make them easy to learn and fit into your schedule.

    • Do I have to be online at a certain time each week?

      You aren't required to be online at a specific time, but there are specific due dates for your assignments. Attendance in your online course is met by posting work—either by submitting an assignment or completing a discussion post. If you have not posted work in your course for 14 consecutive days, you may be administratively withdrawn from your course.

  • Courses in the Program

    Courses in the Program

    Our CDA Prep is made of three courses:

    Class 1: Foundations of Child Development

    • Explore characteristics and needs of children at different ages.
    • Learn developmentally appropriate practices for meeting a child’s needs and building their self-esteem.
    • Learn interpersonal and communication skills for classroom and childcare settings.
    • Study the function of family and the culture, social class and ethnic variations in the family as a social system.
    • Begin exploring the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential standards and application requirements.

    Class 2: Curriculum and Instruction

    • Learn how to help children grow academically, socially and emotionally.
    • Learn what makes a good lesson plan, learning activity and behavior-improvement strategy, and how to create them.
    • Study different models of curriculum, including strategies to involve parents and families.
    • Explore the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential standards and application requirements.

    Class 3: Health, Safety and Nutrition/CDA Application

    • Learn how to create and maintain safe environments for children.
    • Understand your state’s rules and regulations for keeping children safe at school, childcare and at home.
    • Learn strategies for keeping classrooms free of injuries and illnesses, and how to respond to the health issues of individual children.
    • Carry out a detailed observation of an early childhood professional in an educational setting.
    • Explore the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential standards and application as well as the eligibility requirements to apply for the CDA credential at the completion of this course.
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“I talk about the importance of education every day to my sons, and to everyone at the center, so after working in the field for 25 years, I knew it was important for me to go and get my degree.”

Learning center director and Rasmussen College ECE grad

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Additional Support

Supporting Your Education

Rasmussen College makes it easy to navigate the ins and outs of taking college courses. With Support Services, you’re connected to the answers, planning and resources you need to be successful. You have both in-person and real-time access to everything from academics to financial aid.

Whom Should I Contact if I Have Additional Questions?

If you have questions or want to learn more, contact our partnership advisors, who are dedicated to working with candidates through the enrollment process, at

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  1. See Rasmussen College course catalog for transfer policies.

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