The Land Environment Economics and Development (LEED) credentialing program allows designers, builders and other professionals the opportunity to prove that they are current in knowledge about green building and the LEED rating system. To become a LEED Accredited Professional (AP), you must meet certain requirements, such as having experience working on green projects or in sustainability. You also must pass the appropriate tests.
When you first decide to become a LEED Accredited Professional, you must determine which level of accreditation you would like to pursue. The LEED credentials that were available as of November 2010 were those of LEED Green Associate, LEED AP Homes, LEED AP Interior Design + Construction, LEED AP Building Design + Construction, LEED AP Operations + Maintenance and LEED AP Neighborhood Development. All of the designations require that candidates possess experience in green building or sustainability. This experience can be had on LEED-accredited projects or through professional development as well as through a course of accredited educational programs.
To become a LEED Accredited Professional, taking an exam is also necessary. For instance, to attain certain LEED AP statuses, you must take the LEED for Homes Green Rater exam. This exam requires you to participate in training beforehand, including a series of self-guided, online modules and a two-day classroom workshop. To become a LEED Accredited Professional at the LEED Green Associate level, for instance, only one part of this exam is necessary, compared with two for the LEED AP designation.
The test consists of 80 questions that cover most every aspect of the LEED rating system, including the five main topic areas of green building and sustainability: indoor air quality, materials and resources, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites and water efficiency. You must score 170 or above on the required section of this exam to become a LEED Accredited Professional. If you pass, you will then be notified of your success and will be able to begin using your LEED credentials.
If you fail, LEED permits you to register for exams two more times while your application to become a LEED Accredited professional is still active. You also can submit an appeal to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization that oversees the entire LEED certification process. This appeal process, however, is worthwhile only if you believe that certain questions were technically inaccurate.