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.


You may apply for the application at any time. 

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:

The grant application will re-open - January 2023.

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



Complete by

Tasks to be completed


Complete CDA application

16th of the month

Receive letter of acceptance, denial or waitlist



1 week after in take form complete

Schedule meeting with CDA Specialist (coach will attempt to contact participant 3 times via email and 3 times via phone, if there is no response, the participant will lose their place in the scholarship)

1 week after first meeting with CDA Specialist

Pick education program

3-5 days after picking program

Program is paid for by Child Care Innovations

1 week after education program is paid for

Participant completes all necessary steps to complete enrollment in the education program

2 weeks after participant is fully enrolled in education program.

Participant and CDA Specialist will set a schedule to meet regularly based on the participants needs, but no less than monthly 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.