How to become a LEED AP?
Many people request information on obtaining their LEED AP credentials. In this post we will cover the exam format, optional paths to becoming a LEED AP and general requirements. LEED accreditation is widespread and sustainability is in demand due to rising prices and economically concision developers. Yes we did say economically conscious. One of the common misconceptions is that LEED project certification is an added cost. In fact, if planned and designed correctly, a LEED project can incur a minimal additional cost as well as reduce energy savings over the life of a building project.
Why Become a LEED AP?
LEED is the worldwide leader in sustainable construction projects and is required by many state and local governments through out the world.
How to become a LEED AP?
Becoming a LEED AP can be broken down in to multiple steps with your end goal in becoming a LEED Accredited Professional. LEED accreditation (certification is for buildings) is a two tier system.
With an overall goal of becoming a LEED AP, you can achieve your goals by two different options: Pass the GA then the AP exam or decide to take the combined exam.
Step 1 Become a LEED GA (New To LEED)
The LEED Green Associate Exam is the first tier exam. You must either take this exam separately or combine it with your LEED AP exam. Becoming a LEED GA will designate you as understanding the fundamentals of the LEED certification process. Your participation on a LEED project will not gain your project an automatic point for your participation but this designation will help your employer or developer trust your basic knowledge of the certification process. The GA exam does not cover specific certification credits per specialty but covers the base information about certifying a project.
Requirements for the GA exam:
Currently no eligibility requirements exist for the LEED GA exam. It is recommended to take a sustainable class covering the basic LEED information but it is not currently required.
GA Exam Format:
The LEED Green Associate exam is 100 randomly generated multiple choice questions that must be completed in 2 hours. The total testing time for the LEED Green Associate exam will be 2 hours and 20 minutes including a tutorial and short survey.
Step 2 Becoming a LEED AP (already a LEED GA or candidate wishing to take the combined exam)
The AP specialty designation is the desired credential for professionals that seek to establish themselves as ready to help projects become LEED certified. It is beyond basic knowledge and dives in to the specifics of the LEED rating system including project point options, base calculations, product selection and overall credit knowledge with an understanding of how the credits work together to achieve maximum potential.
LEED AP Exam Requirements:
Previous project management experience is required to take the LEED AP exam within the last 3 years. This can be shown through access and participation from LEED online or through a Letter of attestation depicting the participation in management position for a LEED project.
LEED AP Exam Format:
The LEED AP exam is comprised of two parts if the candidate is not already a LEED GA, each part contains 100 randomly selected multiple choice questions and each part must be completed in 2 hours. Total time allowed for the combined GA and AP exam will be 4 hours and 20 minutes including a tutorial and short satisfaction survey. For those candidates that have already obtained their LEED GA designation prior, the exam will be 2 hours and consist for 100 randomly selected multiple choice questions with an additional 20 minutes including tutorial and short survey.
After completion of the exam you will be instantly graded on a scale system determined by the GBCI. A passing grade will instantly grant you a LEED AP specialty designation that you tested under. Congratulations! You have become a LEED AP.