Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Professional Accreditation
Q1: What is a LEED AP?
A: LEED AP stands for LEED Accredited Professional. This is a professional credential earned by an individual person, and reflects a level of competence and education relating to green building.
Q2: What is the difference between the Green Associate credential and the LEED AP credential?
A: The Green Associate credential was introduced in 2009 and is intended for professionals who support green building design, construction, and operations, and take an exam focusing on basic knowledge of green building and LEED. The LEED AP credential is intended for professionals who participate in the design and construction phases of green buildings, and take an exam that focuses on knowledge of green building, LEED, and the project certification process.
Q3: How do I become a LEED AP or Green Associate?
A: Candidates must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass a multiple choice examination. See http://www.gbci.org/main-nav/professional-credentials/exam-guide/application/how-to.aspx for details.
Q4: What do the different LEED AP specialty designations stand for?
A: BD+C = Building Design and Construction. ID+C = Interior Design and Construction. Homes = Homes. O&M = Operations and Maintenance. ND = Neighborhood Development.
Q5: Where can I get more information on these credentials?
A: Through the GBCI website, at http://www.gbci.org/main-nav/professional-credentials/credentials.aspx#
For current LEED APs:
Q6: What does “LEED AP without specialty” mean?
A: Anyone who took the LEED exam and earned their LEED AP credential between 2001 and 2009 was designated as a “LEED AP”, or LEED Accredited Professional. In 2009, this credential was modified to reflect different specialties to show differentiation amongst different markets and LEED rating systems
Q7: How can I tell if I have a specialty?
A: Go to www.gbci.com, click on Log Into My Credentials, and log in to your account. The website will show your current designation or lack of one, as well as your contact information, credential maintenance status, and allow access to the appropriate professional logos.
Q8: How does a LEED AP without specialty transition into the new system to become a LEED AP with specialty?
A: LEED APs without specialty can go through enrollment, a free, voluntary, one-time process to either enroll in credential maintenance or re-test to earn a specialty credential. See http://www.gbci.org/CMP/Enrollment.aspx for details. If you are ready to sign up, log into My Credential at www.gbci.org and follow the instructions.
Q9: What if I can’t log into My Credentials, or I logged in and my info is not correct, or I want to choose a different specialty than the one that is being offered?
A: There are some conflicts in the database due to name changes, data errors, etc. so you may need to call 1-800-795-1746 for assistance or use the contact form at http://www.gbci.org/org-nav/contact.aspx. The specialty listed is based on the exam that you took, but you can request to change it by using the contact form.
TIPS! We have seen examples of people who are LEED APs, and who were not listed in the database. If you are not listed, the online sequence will not allow you to register for credential maintenance. Pull out your records and collect the date of your exam, the site where you tested and call 1-800-795-1746. Your information will be verified and updated quickly and THEN – you can enroll in credential maintenance.
Q10: Do I have to become a LEED AP with specialty, and enroll in credential maintenance?
A: No. If you choose not to enroll with specialty, you will continue to be a LEED AP and be listed as a LEED AP without specialty in the Professional Directory.
Credential Maintenance (Continuing Education):
Q11: How many hours are required to keep my credential current?
A: Green Associates are required to have 15 continuing education hours every 2 years, of which 3 hours must be LEED-specific. LEED APs are required to have 30 continuing education hours every 2 years, of which 6 hours must be LEED-specific. See http://www.gbci.org/cmp/about.aspx for full detail on the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP).
TIP! LEED APs who gained their credential before July 2009 must complete the “2-year cycle” of 30 continuing education hours by JULY 30, 2011. July 2011 is the horizon for moving from LEED AP to “LEED AP with specialty designations (see above) using the continuing education path. A LEED AP can always retest to gain the designations. Using this one-time window to earn specialty designation will save you money (less cost than taking more exams) and allows learning at your pace. You always have the option to study for test, pay for test, take test and hopefully pass the test!
Q12: What would the advantage of a specialty designation be? If I am already a LEED AP – who needs more letters?
A: Specialty designations create an opportunity to learn new information and remain competitive in a fast and growing building environment. All professional organizations require continuing education. We encourage you to evaluate the coursework, study if the content is audited to assure quality, and determine if the learning process is useful to you.
TIP! All professional organizations require continuing education. The important feature of the USGBC approach is to work on quality and high content. This is why the ERB providers list has been developed (see Q13). Your participation and review will improve the course content – get involved! There are also a number of webinars and online programs that are free. There are many opportunities to achieve the continuing education hours without spending a lot of money. See following…”how can I find other coursework.”
Q13: How can I get the needed continuing education hours?
A: Continuing education hours can be earned through courses, live presentations, self-study, volunteer work, authorship, and LEED project participation. All programs that have been approved by an Education Reviewing Body (ERB) will count. The CMP Guide places restrictions on the number of hours that can come from other sources including:
Up to 4 hours from volunteer work with USGBC chapters
•- Up to 5 hours from non-ERB approved providers such as luncheons, live webinars, and employer training
•- Up to 10 hours from working on LEED projects
•- Up to 5 hours from self-study through books, archived webinars, etc.
Q14: What hours can I get through USGBC New Mexico?
A: Typically, luncheons can be used toward the general non-ERB hours, and longer chapter workshops apply to the LEED-specific and ERB-specific hours. You can earn hours in the volunteer category by serving as a chapter officer (2 hours) or participating in chapter committee meetings (0.5 hours per meeting). If you have questions about the CEUs for a particular chapter event, please contact our Executive Director at 505-227-0474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q15: How can I find other courses, on demand webinars, etc. to earn credits?
A: There is a large database of courses, live webinars, on-demand webinars, conferences, etc. at https://www.usgbc.org/coursecatalog/coursecatalog.aspx
Q16: How do I report LEED continuing education?
A: All CE hours are self-reported through the GBCI website. Go to www.gbci.org, sign in and go to My Credentials, then click on Review/Report CMP Activity and list the info on the transcript under the relevant category. You may also want to save a course handout or other materials, because there are random audits which may request documentation proving attendance.
Q17: Under what category do I report LEED project administrator hours?
A: You can report these under the category of your choice, or under the categories that best relate to the credits you are involved in.
Q18: Under what category do I report chapter volunteer or leadership hours?
A: Enter these hours under the category “Stakeholder Involvement in Innovation”, subcategory “Ways to Earn Credit”.
Q19: I’m still confused…
A: You may want to watch the GBCI webinar “I’m Enrolled, Now What?” and take advantage of the CMP ToolBox to simplify the process. See http://www.gbci.org/main-nav/professional-credentials/cmp/toolbox.aspx