The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is a practical green building certification program that recognizes and tests future professionals on the best-in-class building strategies and practices available. LEED professional credentials were developed to encourage green building professionals to maintain and advance their knowledge and expertise. LEED Professional Credential provides potential policymakers, employers, and other stakeholders with quality assurances of an individual’s level of competence. It is the industry standard mark of the most educated, qualified, and influential green building professionals available in the marketplace. LEED credential showcases your skills, knowledge, credibility and experience in the professional green building marketplace and shows one’s clear commitment to professional growth, while underscoring your value to LEED project teams and sustainability-focused organizations.
The LEED Green Associate credential is held by a variety of professionals, both in and outside of the green building industry, including:
• Interior Designers
• Project and Facilities Managers
• Real Estate Agents
• Product Manufacturers and Representatives
• …and anyone interested in a career in the green building industry
The LEED Professional Exam is the 1st tier exam for LEED v4 and is administered by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) for professionals seeking to earn quality recognizable credentials and certificates. The exams test knowledge based on the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating Systems and is primarily for people who are not yet eligible to take a LEED AP specialty exam.
The Green Associate exam will test your knowledge of:
• The LEED Application Process
• Project Site Factors
• Water Management
• Project Systems and Energy Impacts
• Acquisition, Installation and Management of Project Materials
• Stakeholder Involvement in Innovation
• Project Surroundings and Public Outreach
• Synergistic Opportunities between various LEED strategies
The AP certification exam goes far beyond the basics and is taken after the LEED Green Associate exam. The LEED Professional Exam assumes in-depth knowledge of LEED building design, construction rating systems and the only way to pass the test is to read, master, and in some cases memorize key parts of the different AP Reference Guides.
The eligibility requirements for the LEED AP exam is either previously passing the LEED GA exam or planning on taking a combined exam with both the Green Associate sections as well as the AP sections. It is not required but is recommended to have documented professional experience on a LEED project, within the last 3 years, with verification through LEED Online or employer attestation.
Potential candidates are also mandated to agree with the Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy and Credential Maintenance Program and submit to an application audit.
The LEED Associate Professional exams consist of 100 randomly delivered multiple choice questions which must be completed in 2 hours. Individuals are required to score at least 170 out of 200 in order to pass. The LEED Green Associate Exam focuses primarily on relevant concepts and terminology, to test a candidate's in-depth understanding of the main rating system categories. Candidates have to memorize several performance thresholds and perform calculations during the exam.
Practice materials for the LEED Green Associate Exam include the BD+C Reference Guide, which is optional but useful even after the exam. Browsing around the USGBC website which gives users valuable information about what each credit is really about, you can also visit the forums to clarify anything you are not sure of. For a fee you can also get the Green Associate Study Guide and practice exams found on the internet. You would be well advised to read the Candidate Handbook very carefully, especially the parts explaining the materials you need to know and take as many practice tests as you can get your hands on.