Child Development Specialist Program

Child Development Specialist Program

child dev

Child Development Specialist Program

Program Description:  The Child Development Specialist (CDS) program is made up of nine courses covering the tenets of child development, positive guidance strategies and curriculum planning methods that meet the standards of developmentally appropriate practice.  In addition, students learn strategies that foster parent-teacher partnerships and learn instructional strategies to support accommodations for children with learning differences in an inclusive setting. Emphasis is placed on language development and emergent literacy across the curriculum and reflective practice in a professional setting.  Courses are comprised of classes that include discussion of concepts and theories and hands-on practical application of that information and on-the-job training at a licensed child care center.  Classes combined with on-the-job training meet the career pathway principles of an apprenticeship.  One of the nine courses prepares the student for the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential exam application process sponsored by the Council for Professional Recognition.  Also, a graduate of the CDS program is eligible to apply for the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Credential.

Educational Objectives:  To provide participants with:

  • the preparation to apply for the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Program’s Child Care Development Specialist Credential that is geographically transferable and recognized;
  • courses that have been assessed by Thomas Edison State University’s Academic Program Review process;
  • proficiency in NAEYC’s national accrediting standards pertaining to professional development;
  • supervised practicum experience in which they can be observed by a mentoring teacher to gain skills in child observation and recording strategies that will inform classroom practices;
  • comprehensive understandings of child development and personal understandings of one’s dispositional attitudes influencing the participant’s performance as  a teacher of young children;
  • a practical knowledge-base of various early childhood educational curriculum models that respect and affirm cultural and ethnic diversity;
  • an examination of  the complex process of teaching and learning relationships which provide the scaffold for an integrated curriculum within an experiential, print-rich environment leading to age-appropriate literacy skill development, and
  • the preparation to apply for the Child Development Associate Credential sponsored by the Council for Professional Recognition that is geographically transferable and recognized.

Program Scope:
Participants are prepared for two national credentials that are geographically transferable. This course work may be eligible for:

  • 18 credits through the Hudson County Community College
  • 22 credits at Thomas Edison State University
  • 19 credits at Passaic County Community College
  • 15 credits at Felician University’s Department of Education’s ‘Step Up Program’

This program consists of nine (9) courses.


Delivery Methodology:  Lecture, Discussion, Applied experiences, Simulations, Educational DVDs, Collaborative learning projects, Practical hands-on supervised internship field experience

Pre-requisites High School Diploma or GED

Program Length:  944 hours over 32 weeks (FT), 48 weeks (PT) and 64 weeks (Evening) including class hours and internships weekly

Program Scope: Participants are prepared for two national credentials that are geographically transferable.  This course work may be eligible for 15 – 22 credits through Hudson County Community College, Passaic County Community College, Thomas Edison State University and Felician University’s Department of Education’s ‘Step Up Program’.  This program consists of nine (9) courses.

Graduation Requirements: 90% attendance and cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for all courses.

Credential Awarded: Child Development Associate Certificate may be awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition and the Apprenticeship for Child Development Specialist Credential may be awarded by the Bureau of Apprenticeship Program, U.S. Department of Labor

Occupational Focus: Teacher Assistant

Teacher assistants also are called teacher aides, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, education assistants, and paraeducators.

Teacher assistants work with or under the guidance of a licensed teacher. Generally, teachers introduce new material to students while teacher assistants help reinforce the lessons by working with individual students or small groups of students. For example, after the teacher presents a lesson, a teacher assistant may help a small group of students as they try to master the material.

Teachers may seek feedback from assistants to monitor students’ progress. Some teachers and teacher assistants meet regularly to discuss lesson plans and student development. Teacher assistants sometimes help teachers by grading tests and checking homework.

Some teacher assistants work only with special education students. Some of these students attend regular classes, and teacher assistants help them understand the material and adapt the information to their learning style. Teacher assistants may work with students who have more severe disabilities in separate classrooms. They help these students with basic needs, such as eating or personal hygiene. With young adults, they may help students with disabilities learn skills necessary for them to find a job or live independently after graduation.

Some teacher assistants work in specific locations in the school. For example, some work in computer laboratories, teaching students how to use computers and helping them use software. Others work as recess or lunchroom attendants, supervising students during these times of the day.

Although most teacher assistants work in elementary, middle, and high schools, others work in preschools and childcare centers. Often, one or two assistants work with a lead teacher to provide the individual attention that young children need. They help with educational activities. They also supervise the children at play and help with feeding and other basic care.

Program Disclosures 
Tuition: $9,965

  • Registration Fee: $100
  • Materials: $332 (CPR/First Aid, TB Test, Background Check, Class Trip)
  • Direct Assessment Application Fee: $425 (national test)
  • Books: $355


Total: $11,177

Students enrolled in this program may be eligible for federal student aid.

Retention Rate (July 2015 to July 2016): 83.5%

On-time Graduation Rate (July 2015 to July 2016): 83%

Job Placement Rate (July 2015 – July 2016): 81%

Transfer-out-Rate (July 2015 – July 2016): n/a

Median loan dept by category for students completing the program from July 2015 to June 2016

Title IV loan debt $4,053

Private Education Loans $0

Institutional Financing Plans $0

CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) Crosswalk to SOC (Standard Occupational classification) Code: http://online.onecenter.org/crosswalk

CIP Code #13.1501: Teacher Assistant/Aide
SOC Code #25-9041: Teacher Assistant

Gainful Employment Disclosure