The concept of a nation-wide association of professional career practitioners originated in 1988 after a discussion between careers teachers at Willunga High School in Adelaide. Later that year, a group of interest career practitioners met to establish this new body.
The Career Development Association of Australia (formerly Australian Association of Career Counsellors) was incorporated in South Australia on February 1989, with Chris Summers as the Association's first President.
Within a decade, the Association's membership had doubled, incorporating members from 25 different interest groups.
In 2007, the Association voted to change its name to the Career Development Association of Australia. Seven years later, CDAA celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special edition of the Association's Australian Career Practitioner Magazine.
Since its inception in 1988, the Association has been a major contributor to developments in the profession, and to research, government policy and national and international forums.
The Association now has more than 1,300 members in every state and territory and across all sectors of the profession. The national office remains in Adelaide.