Download the CDA brochure (PDF format)

Photo of children playing while an adult supervisesThe Child Development Associate (CDA) is a national credential for those in the early care and education field. Started in 1971, the CDA program was designed to enhance the quality of childcare by increasing and recognizing the competence of those who care for young children. A CDA may be earned for Preschool, Infant/Toddler, or Family Child Care.

The first step in earning a CDA credential is to complete 120 hours of training from an agency or institution with expertise in early childhood teacher preparation. In January 2007, Southwestern began to offer CDA classes for college credit. Students will take four courses, three on-line and one face-to-face class, for a total of 11 credit hours.

Eligible students may apply for a TEACH scholarship for the CDA Classes. Students must take a minimum of nine credits within one calendar year. Students may contact the TriUMPH office or T.E.A.C.H. for more information.

The TriUMPH Early Childhood program will support CDA students by offering additional facilitation and advising services to those counties covered by the Dekko grant. Outside counties may access these services for an additional fee.

Required Classes

  • ECE 103 Intro to Early Childhood Education (online)
  • ECE 133 Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition (online)
  • ECE 243 Guidance and Interaction (online)
  • Choose ONE of the following:
    • ECE 221 Infant Toddler Care and ED (I/T or FCC CDA) (online)
    • ECE 158 Curriculum I (PS or FCC CDA) (online)
    • ECE 159 Curriculum II (PS or FCC CDA) (online)
  • ECE 106 Child Development Associate Standards (online Fall 2008)
    • You must have completed at least three of the required CDA courses and have a minimum of a 2.0 in EACH class.
    • You may take your fourth course at the same time as this course! Or take all four BEFORE this course!

Total:  13 Credit Hours

Students may be required to take a Composition class before starting the ECE classes.

How to Apply for a T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship


Stacie Steveson
T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Iowa
5525 Meredith Dr. Suite F
Des Moines, IA 50310
Phone: 515.331.8000, ext. 14
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text32058+'<\/a>'; //-->

How do I register as a student at SWCC?

Apply online as a Southwestern student.

How do I register for one of the required classes?

Call the SWCC admissions office at 641.782.1421 to make an appointment with an admissions counselor or to enroll in one or more of the required classes.

If you have questions about the on-line classes or if the online option is for you, call SWCC's distance education office, 641.782.1524.

Consider continuing at Southwestern for an associate of arts degree with an early childhood emphasis.

Recommended Program of Study Outline (PDF)