Becoming a LEED AP

Thu, 2009-09-24 00:34

Let's take a moment to look at some of the impending changes to the LEED AP credential. As many of you may already know, the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) credential is about to undergo significant changes. These changes include:

Tiered Credentialing

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach for each LEED AP exam track, there will now be a more flexible hierarchy of LEED accreditation. As a result, there is now a three tiered system:

Tier One - LEED Green Associate

The “LEED Green Associate” credential will test general knowledge of LEED. How does the LEED process work? How do I know which rating system to use? This credential applies to all LEED systems. Once you earn this level of accreditation you can move on to the next stage:

Tier Two - LEED Accredited Professional

What was previously the only LEED AP designation is now the second tier. This is where you would earn a specialized accreditation for a specific rating system. These specializations include:

    * Buildings Design and Construction (LEED-NC)

    * Commercial Interiors Design and Construction (LEED-CI)

    * Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB)

    * Homes (a new LEED-Homes track)

    * Neighborhood Design (a new LEED-ND track)

A unique characteristic of the LEED 2009 credentialing process is the requirement for LEED AP candidates to document professional work experience on at least one project to qualify for the exam.  

Option for Combined GA/AP Exam:

Part 1: LEED Green Associate: 2 hours

Part 2: LEED AP Exam: 2 hours

The new LEED AP Exam will be a 4-hour test, as compared with the 2-hour LEED AP test that we've all grown accustomed to. Some candidates will qualify only for the LEED Green Associate exam.  

Tier Three - LEED AP Fellow 

GBCI has not released the actual standard just yet. So far all they’ve said is “LEED AP Fellows enter an elite class of leading professionals who are distinguished by their years of experience.” Bottom line is that you can’t become a LEED Fellow just yet, but that will probably change 1-2 years from now. 

Additional LEED AP Requirements

In addition to passing the LEED AP Exam, those who wish to become a Tier II: LEED AP will have to:

1) Agree to the GBCI disciplinary policy. This is basically just an agreement to remain an upstanding citizen and let GBCI know if you become a felon so that they can suspend your LEED AP status.

2) Submit an application. Under the LEED 2009 standard, individuals will have to demonstrate that they’ve worked on a LEED project within the last 2-3 years. Acceptable proof will likely include a letter from your employer saying that you were a participant. You’ll also have to pay $50 when you submit the application.

3) Submit to an application audit. GBCI will audit 5-7% of the applications for the LEED AP title. What that will likely mean is that they’ll want to see more proof that you have actually worked on a LEED project.

4) Pay a biennial maintenance fee. To keep your standard current, you’ll have to pay $50 every two years.

5) Attend continuing education. For LEED Green Associates (Tier I), you’ll have to attend 15 hours of continuing education every two years. Three of those hours must be specific to LEED concepts. For LEED APs, you’ll have to attend 30 hours of continuing education training every two years with a minimum of six hours focused on LEED.