FAQs for LEED® Credentials


 

If you have any further questions regarding LEED credentials, please contact CaGBC Education.

General inquiries

Q: What is a LEED credential and how do I earn one?

The LEED credentials are earned by passing the LEED exams, administered by the Green Business Certification Inc. Exam registrations are submitted through the USGBC website.

Please note that you must become a LEED Green Associate before attempting a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) with Specialty exam. You may take the Green Associate exam and one of the LEED AP exams on the same day if you feel qualified.

There are three tiers of LEED Credentials:

Tier I: LEED Green Associate

The LEED Green Associate credential recognizes individuals with a demonstrated basic knowledge of green building fundamentals and a commitment to sustainability and transformation of the built environment. The Green Associate credential is meant for students and professionals who support green building design, construction, and operations in non-technical areas of practices. This could include product manufacturers, real estate agents or brokers, or higher education faculty. Building professionals who are new to green building and LEED can also pursue the Green Associate as an entry level designation, which reflects their level of knowledge. This international credential is a key mark of quality sought by employers and reflects that the individual is at the forefront of the green building industry. This credential must be earned prior to challenging the LEED AP with specialty exam.

Tier II: LEED AP with specialty

Please note that you must become a Green Associate before attempting a LEED AP with specialty exam. You may take the Green Associate exam and one of the LEED AP exams at the same time if you feel qualified, but the Green Associate exam must be passed before you can earn the credential of LEED AP.

The LEED AP with specialty credential demonstrates an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices and specialization relating to a particular LEED Rating System. This credential is best suited for those professionals with hands-on technical experience on a LEED registered and/or certified project. This could include architects, designers, engineers, building managers and other building professionals.

There are five (5) areas of specialization:

  • LEED AP Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
  • LEED AP Homes
  • LEED AP Interior Design +Construction (ID+C)
  • LEED AP Neighborhood Development (ND)
  • LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (O+M)

Tier III: LEED AP Fellow

The LEED Fellow credential distinguishes an extraordinary class of leading professionals. Fellows contribute to the standards of practice and body of knowledge for achieving continuous improvement in the green building field. To be eligible for this designation, you must have been a LEED AP for at least eight (8) years and be enrolled and/or have achieved the LEED AP with specialty designation. The LEED Fellow credential is a peer-reviewed and nominated credential.

 

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Exam Registration and Logistics

Q: How do I register for and write the exam(s)?

Visit the USGBC website and navigate to the credentials page for more information.

You will be prompted to create a USGBC profile or login to your existing account in order to register for the exam. You will need to pay the applicable exam fees (in U.S. dollars) and you will receive an on-screen and email notification to confirm that your exam registration was successfully submitted.

Each notification will include a link to Prometric Testing Centers' online scheduling system where you may register for your exam. Prometric centres are located across Canada. You may choose the location, date and time that is convenient for you, up to three months in advance. The exact address of the Prometric test center in your city/province can be found on the Prometric website. You will have to select an exam in order to view the test centres. When asked who the test sponsor is, enter: GBCI.

You can find a step-by-step guide to the exam applications in the LEED#top v4 candidate exam handbooks which are available as free downloads from the USGBC website.

Q: Which exam should I write?

The Green Associate is suitable for those who do not have the level of technical experience on a LEED registered and/or certified project recommended to earn the LEED AP. The Green Associate can also be a standalone credential for industry professionals who are not likely to be a regular member of the decision making team for a LEED project. Anyone wishing to write a LEED AP with Specialty exam must first pass the LEED Green Associate exam.

The LEED AP with Specialty is intended for individuals who are able to demonstrate active, ongoing participation on a LEED registered and/or certified project in a leadership or management role. Please note that you MUST pass the Green Associate exam prior to attempting a LEED AP with Specialty exam.

Q: Do I have to write the LEED Green Associate exam first?

Yes, however you can choose to book and write both the LEED Green Associate Exam and the LEED AP with Specialty exams together, if you feel qualified. In the event that you register for the combined exam, you must first pass the Green Associate before writing the LEED AP with Specialty portion. The combined exam is not a shortened version; it requires 4 hours of time and consists of 200 multiple choice questions.

Q: How are the LEED v4 exams different from the 2009 based exams?

The main change introduced with the LEED v4 exams is the inclusion of content focused on Task Domains that reflect the tasks necessary to perform LEED safely and effectively, and Knowledge Domains that reflect the rating systems' credit categories. Knowledge Domains include concepts such as LEED Process, Integrative Strategies, LEED credit categories, Project Surroundings and Public Outreach. Exam candidates should also be familiar with concepts relating to LEED Project and Team Coordination, LEED Certification Processes, Analyses Required for LEED Credits, and Advocacy and Education for Adoption for LEED Rating Systems. You can find more information about these updates in the applicable LEED v4 exam handbooks.

Q: How often are the LEED exams updated?

The LEED professional exams are updated on an annual basis.

Q: What do I need to demonstrate my eligibility for the exams? Do I have to submit a letter?

With the transition of the exams to the LEED v4 rating systems, you are no longer required to submit formal documentation of your eligibility. It is still strongly recommend for the Green Associate credential that you have had some type of exposure to LEED and green building concepts through study courses, volunteering, or work experience. If you are planning to take one of the LEED AP exams, it is strongly recommended to have prior LEED project experience as there will be questions related to it in the exam, such as using LEED Online for submitting project details.

All candidates must agree to the Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy, the credentialing maintenance requirements, must submit to an application audit, and be 18 years of age or older.

Q: Where do I write the exams?


The exams are written at Prometric test centres. Instructions on scheduling your LEED exam can be found in candidate handbooks available as a free download on the USGBC website. They are very helpful and informative resources for LEED exam preparation. Please note that should you fail your exam, you will have to register to retake the exam, as well as pay the registration fee again.

Q: Will I be able to write my exam in French?

All of the LEED Professional exams are available at Prometric test centers in Canada in English, and several of the exams, including the LEED Green Associate, LEED AP BD+C and O+M are available in French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese (simplified).

Q: How much do the exams cost?

The LEED exams fees are as follows:

LEED Green Associate

Exam fee: $200 USD* for CaGBC National Members ($250 for non-members and chapter members, $100 USD** for full-time students)
Maintenance: $85 every two years

LEED AP with specialty

Combined exam fee: $400 USD for CaGBC National Members ($550 USD for non-members and Chapter Members)
Specialty only exam fee: $250 USD for CaGBC National Members ($350 USD for non-members and Chapter Members)
Maintenance: $85 USD* every two years

*Please note all pricing is in U.S. dollars and includes application fees which were previously listed separately.

**A discounted student rate of $100 is available for the LEED Green Associate exam. Full-time students who are currently enrolled in a full-time higher education program are eligible to receive the discount. The discount is not available to part-time students, recent graduates, or individuals registering for a LEED AP exam. To obtain the discount, you must affirm your student status when registering for the exam with the USGBC. You will be asked to provide the name of your institution, your student number and your expected date of graduation

Q: Do CaGBC members receive discounts on the exams?

CaGBC Corporate members are eligible for member pricing on LEED Professional Exams.

To receive the member discount, CaGBC members must call USGBC customer service at +1-202-742-3792 prior to scheduling their exam. This process must be completed by phone.

The USGBC receives updates of CaGBC membership on a monthly basis, so they can verify your information. You will be asked to confirm your Credential account information, your company name and company member ID number. Please note that chapter members are not eligible for discounts for the exams.

Q: How are the LEED exams scored?

All LEED professional exams are scored between 125 and 200, using scaled scoring. A score of 170 or higher is required to pass.

While there are only 100 questions in each exam, each question is weighted differently (e.g. some questions may be worth 1 point, while a harder question might be worth 3 points). Questions are taken from a larger question bank, therefore those in the same exam room will likely have different sets of questions. The exam has both scored and unscored items and all items are delivered randomly throughout the exam. Candidates are not informed of an item’s status and should respond to all the items on the exam. Unscored items are used to gather performance data to inform whether the item should be scored on future exams. If you have additional questions on how the exams are scored, please visit the USGBC website, or contact them through their website.

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Preparing for Your Exam

Q: What resources and materials should I study to prepare for an exam? Do I study on my own?

We advise all exam candidates to review the relevant candidate handbook to ensure they understand what references have been used to develop the exams. The basis for all of the current exams is the LEED v4 rating system. While students can study on their own, many benefit from taking part in a study course. Study courses can help frame study content in a manageable and logical manner.

For candidates choosing to study on their own for the LEED Green Associate exam, we recommend the Green Associate Study Guide, the Green Associate Online Practice Exams (4 exams at 100 questions each) and the Green Associate 101 Questions Answers Document. You can find these resources on our store by clicking here.

Q: Is there a CaGBC study course that I can take to help me prepare for a LEED exam?

CaGBC currently offers several different options to help people prepare for and pass the Green Associate exam. With the transition to LEED v4, the CaGBC has up to date courses available both in-class and online formats, as well as through higher education offerings. 

Click here to view our course options.

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Credential Maintenance and Use

Q: How do I maintain my credential?

LEED Green Associates must complete fifteen (15) hours of credential maintenance every two years, while LEED AP's with specialty must complete thirty (30) hours. For Green Associates, three of the fifteen hours must be LEED-specific, which is defined as an activity that has an explicit connection to processes, procedures, or concepts (i.e. intents, requirements, and strategies) found in any of the current LEED rating systems. For LEED APs with specialty, six (6) of the thirty hours must be LEED-specific and related to their area of specialty. All CE hours are reported through your LEED credentialing account on the USGBC website (the same account used to apply for your exam). If you experience login difficulties, please contact USGBC customer service, by phone at +1-202-742-3792 or through the Credentialing questions portal on the Contact Us page of their website here.

You do not need to report any continuing education to CaGBC; however, you can continue to look to CaGBC for quality, leading edge education to help you maintain your credential and stay at the forefront of the green building industry, while also helping you to maintain your LEED credentials. Please review the information further down in this FAQ for more information about how we can help you stay current.

Looking for an easy way to maintain your credential? Have a look at CaGBC’s On Demand bundles Maintaining your Green Associate Bundle and Maintaining your LEED BD+C Bundle that allow you to learn online at your convenience. Visit our registration page for a listing of all courses.

Q: What happens if I am unable to meet the continuing education requirements to maintain my credential?

LEED Professional credential(s) will expire if an individual fails to complete the CMP requirements and submit their credential for renewal 90 days after their reporting period. You can view your reporting period by logging into your USGBC account after passing your exam. Please note that any continuing education hours reported within the 90 day grace period must have been earned during your reporting period. You may not use courses or project experience earned outside of that time. If unforeseen circumstances prevent you from being able to complete your credential maintenance in your two-year reporting period, you may request a waiver or extension. Please review the current Credentialing Maintenance Program (CMP) Guide on the USGBC website for more details.

Q: How do I know when my reporting period begins and ends?

Your reporting period begins on the date you passed your exam (or enrollment date for original LEED APs) and ends two years minus one day later.

Q: When will I receive my certificate indicating my LEED designation?

Once your exam results have been processed, you can download your certificate through your LEED credentialing account. Certificates are available in two forms: PDF (printable) soft copy (available by download at any time for free from your credentialing account), or a hardcopy that is available at a cost of $25 USD each.

Q: How should I note my LEED credential on my business cards, email signature etc?

When you pass the LEED Green Associate exam, you may use the title “LEED Green Associate”, “LEED Green Assoc.” and/or the logo. Please note that “LEED GA” is not an approved abbreviation for the LEED Green Associate, and should not be used under any circumstances.

When you pass the LEED AP exam, you may use the title “LEED AP” followed by your specialty(ies): BD+C, Homes, ID+C, ND, O+M and/or the logo. While LEED is a registered trademark, USGBC and GBCI do not require LEED Professionals to use the '®' or 'TM' symbols in email signatures or on business cards. Please review the LEED professional credentials section of the USGBC Trademark Policy and Branding Guidelines for additional guidance.

Q: Do my hours count with my Architectural Association?

While we do not have an ongoing agreement with the various architectural associations across the country, many do recognize the CE hours from the CaGBC. Please check with your provincial association.

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