Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James Crosby


The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 required teacher assistants (TAs) to obtain their child development associate (CDA) credential by September of 2015. TAs who had not obtained their CDA within the required timeframe were either demoted or terminated from their positions. However, with the increase of working parents, the need for quality early childhood education has risen. In this project study, the barriers TAs confront in regards to their decision to continue their schooling to obtain a CDA credential were examined, as were the factors that deterred or prevented them from enrolling in or completing a higher education program. The purpose of the study was to inform the development of a plan outlining how childcare administration can mentor and encourage TAs in the completion of their CDA program. Knowles's theory of adult learning and Kolb's experiential learning theory provided the theoretical basis and framework for this qualitative case study. Cluster random selection was used to identify 9 participants who were interviewed using a semistructured process. Interview responses were recorded, transcribed, and broken down into 6 themes. Findings showed that 7 out of 9 participants experienced barriers to continuing their education, and 8 of the 9 partipants expressed a desire to participate in a mentoring program. Raising the educational requirements and completion rate of TAs positively affects social change through increased quality of instruction, improved teaching strategies, and enhanced and developmentally appropriate support provided to young children.