How to Become a LEED AP

LEED Accredited Professional   August 10, 2009

Hello. This is Greg Zimmerman, executive editor of Building Operating Management magazine.

Today’s topic is how to become a LEED Accredited Professional.

Increasingly, facility executives, architects, and many others are using the LEED AP designation at the end of their names to indicate an expertise in green building in general and LEED specifically. But how do you get that designation?

The short answer is that you have to pass an SAT-like exam. Recently, the US Green Building Council turned its certification program over to a new organization called the Green Building Certification Institute. According to its Web site,, the organization was created to allow for balanced, objective management of the LEED Professional Accreditation program, including exam development, registration and delivery.

Facility executives interested in becoming a LEED Accredited Professional need to register on the Institute’s Web site for a scheduled exam. To pass, a score of 170 is needed on a multiple choice exam that is graded on a scale between 125 and 200. The exam covers all areas of LEED, from knowledge of the intent and technologies behind individual credits to how to gather data for and document the LEED certification process as a whole. It takes about 2 1/2 hours total.

Both USGBC’s Web site and the Green Building Certification Institute’s Web site have study materials and sample questions available. Exams are available to become accredited in LEED for New Construction, LEED for Existing Buildings, and LEED for Commercial Interiors. The cost of the exam is $300 for USGBC members and $400 for non-members.


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