Question: Justin asks: Hello, I was wondering what the LEED AP requirements were. I just graduated from NC State University in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Water Resources and am quite interested in becoming a LEED AP.
Since I just graduated I don’t have much experience with LEED outside the classroom, but believe being a LEED AP can give me an edge in the job search endeavor while helping firms be more conscious of the environment. Any help would greatly be appreciated, and I understand if I need to be a PE or have experience in the field to be accredited. Thanks for your help.
Thanks for your question.
Once you have passed the LEED Green Associate, you may seek to earn your LEED AP credential. You have the option to take both the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams in the same sitting, but it isn’t recommended because of the amount of material that must be memorized for each portion.
There are a range of LEED rating systems (and corresponding professional LEED AP specialty tracks):
- LEED for New Construction (LEED BD+C)
- LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB O+M)
- LEED for Commercial interiors (ID+C)
- LEED for Homes (Homes)
According to GBCI, to earn the LEED AP credential, candidates should have experience, within three years of their application, working on a project that is registered for, or has achieved certification through, one of the LEED Rating Systems.
Note: The project experience used to be a requirement with GBCI, but now it is only recommended that exam takers have project experience because it will help them pass the exam.
If you have LEED project experience already, that’s great. And having a Letter of Attestation (LoA) from a supervisor, client, or project manager describing your involvement on the LEED project can be useful when applying for a job as an architect, engineer, project manager, etc. with a firm that does energy efficiency consulting or green building certification.
Preparing for the LEED AP exam
Don’t short-change yourself on study time. While I know people who’ve claimed that they didn’t even study for the LEED AP exam, I know a couple of people who compared the LEED AP exam to the Bar exam in terms of difficulty preparing.
I took a long time to prepare as I was working full time, etc. Some of my personal tips and tricks for passing the LEED AP exam are listed here.