Difference between a LEED AP and a LEED Green Associate

The LEED Green Associate is the Tier I green building professional credential in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional credential system. The LEED Green Associate is the first step in a LEED professional's path, evoking good environmental practice and skill in understanding the LEED green building rating system and sustainable design.

The LEED Green Associate credential should appeal to individuals in companies with established sustainability programs as well as to professionals such product manufacturers, marketers, support staff, analysts, designers, students, etc... who may be involved in sustainability and who are interested in learning as much as possible about LEED. Passing the LEED Green Associate exam is a requirement for earning the LEED AP credential.

The LEED Accredited Professional is the Tier II professional credential in the LEED system. Earning this credential demonstrates an in-depth understanding of sustainability, green building and all the details, prerequisites, credits, definitions and rules, etc. of a particular specialty track within the LEED green building rating system. LEED AP specialties include BD+C (Building Design and Construction) for new buildings, ID+C (Interior Design and Construction) for interior design, O+M (Operations and Maintenance) for existing buildings, ND (neighborhood development) and LEED AP Homes. The LEED AP credential is perfect for architects, designers, engineers, etc. who are key decision-makers in a LEED project. To take the LEED AP exam, candidates must already have passed the LEED Green Associate exam.

It is a common role for a LEED AP to work with the sponsors/owners of a LEED project to shepherd them through the certification process and get the buildings certified. The LEED Green Associate credential is intended for those professionals who represent more of a support role in a LEED project.