The LEED Professional Exams are administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) for professionals seeking to earn credentials and certificates. The exams test knowledge based on the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating Systems.
LEED Professional CredentialsEdit
The LEED Professional Credentials were developed to encourage green building professionals to maintain and advance their knowledge and expertise. A LEED Professional Credential provides employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders with assurances of an individual’s current level of competence and is the mark of the most qualified, educated, and influential green building professionals in the marketplace. All the LEED Professional Credentials require adherence to the LEED Professional Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy and require ongoing credential maintenance requirements either through continuing education and practical experience or through biennial retesting. Starting in 2009, newly credentialed individuals must maintain their credential on a two-year cycles; if not, they expire. There are three tiers in the LEED Professional Credentialing program:
- Tier 1: LEED Green Associate
- Tier 2: LEED AP (with specialty)
- Tier 3: LEED Fellow
Additionally, the LEED AP exam was offered from 2001 to June 30, 2009. This credential has been grandfathered in, does not require credential maintenance, and does not expire.
LEED Green AssociateEdit
For professionals who want to demonstrate green building expertise in non-technical fields of practice, GBCI has created the LEED Green Associate credential, which denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction, and operations.
The eligibility requirements for the LEED Green Associate exam no longer require candidates to have experience in the form of EITHER documented involvement on a LEED-registered project OR employment (or previous employment) in a sustainable field of work OR engagement in (or completion of) an education program that addresses green building principles. Candidates are still required to agree to the Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy and Credential Maintenance Program and submit to an application audit.
The LEED Green Associate exam consists of 100 randomly delivered questions which must be completed in 2 hours. The content of the exam focuses on the LEED project process (including integrated design), core sustainability concepts, green building terminology, and various aspects of the LEED rating systems.
The fees associated with the LEED Green Associate are a $50 application fee, a $150 exam fee (per exam appointment) for USGBC national members and full-time students or $200 exam fee (per exam appointment) for all others, and a $50 biennial CMP renewal fee.
The LEED AP (Accredited Professional) credential will continue to signify an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices; it also will reflect the ability to specialize in a particular LEED Rating System. The LEED AP exam is divided into two parts. The first part is the LEED Green Associate exam, which demonstrates general knowledge of green building practices. The second part is a specialty exam based on one of the LEED Reference Guides.
The specialties are:
- LEED AP Building Design + Construction
- LEED AP Homes
- LEED AP Interior Design + Construction
- LEED AP Neighborhood Development
- LEED AP Operations + Maintenance
The eligibility requirements for the LEED AP exams are to have documented professional experience on a LEED project, within the last 3 years, with verification through LEED Online or employer attestation. Candidates are also required to agree to the Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy and Credential Maintenance Program and submit to an application audit.
The LEED AP exams consist of two parts, the LEED Green Associate exam and the applicable LEED AP specialty exam; each part contains 100 randomly delivered multiple choice questions and each part must be completed in 2 hours. Individuals must score at least 170 out of 200 in order to pass. While the LEED Green Associate focuses on concepts and terminology, the LEED AP with Specialty exam tests a candidate's in-depth understanding of one of the five main rating system categories. Candidates have to memorize performance thresholds (percentages of energy savings for example) and perform calculations during the exam.
The fees associated with the LEED AP exams are a $100 application fee, a $300 exam fee (per exam appointment) for USGBC national members or $450 combined exam fee (per exam appointment) for non-members for the exam and a $150 exam fee (per exam appointment) for USGBC national members or $250 exam fee (per exam appointment) for non-members for the specialty exam only, and a $50 biennial CMP renewal fee.
GBCI reports that there will be a credential known as LEED Fellow, representing a higher tier of credential than LEED Accredited Professional. The application process is currently under development, this credential will distinguish an extraordinary class of leading professionals. LEED Fellows contribute to the standards of practice and body of knowledge for achieving continuous improvement in the green building field. As of March 2011, the LEED Fellow program is currently in its first stage. 100 professionals are being considered for the first award.
LEED Professional CertificatesEdit
There are currently two LEED Professional Certificates under development, both expected for release in 2010:
- LEED for Homes Green Rater [coming in 2010]
- LEED Reviewer [coming in 2010]
Future professional certificates are planned for healthcare, schools, and retail.