Child Development Associate Credential Program (CDA)

Thank you for your interest in the Colorado Shines Brighter CDA Scholarship. The CDA credential is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in Early Childhood Education.  The credential is administered to ensure that CDA educators understand all aspects of child development; emotional, physical, intellectual and social.  The credential is nationally and now globally recognized.


Applications will be reviewed monthly and responses will be sent no later than the 15th of each month.

To apply for the grant there are two steps:

1.  Apply for the grant here.

2.  Complete needed information for grant processing here.

If you have any questions, please call 303-914-6584 or email


Child Development Associate (CDA) Statewide Scholarship Program

No prior work experience is required, however, you must have a high school diploma, GED, or be enrolled as a junior or senior in high school career and technical program in early childhood education to qualify for a scholarship.

To be eligible, you cannot have a prior conviction of a felony child abuse, or a felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior.

For new CDA candidates, if awarded, you will receive funding for CDA training costs (up to $600) and the CDA assessment fee ($425).

For renewal CDA candidates, if awarded, the scholarship can pay for the renewal assessment fee ($125).

All scholarship recipients will receive coaching support.

*Payments will be made directly to the training program and to the Council for Professional Recognition, except in special circumstances.

CDA Timeline:


Child Care Innovations Child Care Development Associate Credential


CDA Study Plan Child Care Innovations


Target Goal 1: Attain CDA Scholarship

Apply Anytime Complete the CDA Application
16th of each month Receive/ Confirm letter of acceptance, denial, or waitlist

Goal 2: Pick a CDA Program

1 week after letter CDA Coach will contact you.
within 1 week of meeting coach Register at
within 1 week of meeting coach Pick your education program.
3-5 days after picking program Red Rocks pays for the program.
3-5 days after program is paid You will receive an email to begin.

Goal 3: Begin & Complete Coursework

within 90 days of start date Complete 60 hours of the program
within 180 days of start date Complete an additional 60 hours of the program
by 5 months of start date If needed, file for an extension at this time.
by 6 months of start date Complete 480 hours of experience

Goal 4: Becoming a CDA

by 6 months of start date Complete portfolio creation
by 6 months of start date Complete CDA observation
by 6 months of start date Complete CDA Test
by 9 months of start date Submit required documents to Coach

Please Note: This program requires monthly meetings with a CDA specialist to track program

progress and provide support.


This program is designed for all participants to complete their training and portfolio within 6 months of their orientation meeting.  Participants will work closely with their ECE Site Coach to develop a timeline for successful completion.

***Regular meetings with an ECE Site Coach are a requirement of the scholarship program.  Failure to meet this requirement may lead to loss of additional funding.


The Colorado Department of Early Childhood is excited to offer a solution for Early Childhood Professionals who are not able to complete the final observation for the CDA due to the Council for Professional Recognition not currently allowing virtual observations and Colorado Public Health Guidance not permitting in-person observations.  Click HERE to view the Waiver available for Early Childhood Professionals seeking CDA Certification.