Attention LEED APs: Current and Wannabes
There are more than 65,000 design professionals who have earned the LEED Accredited Professional credential by passing an exam. Many more long to join their ranks. Both groups should be aware of major changes to the LEED AP program beginning in February 2009. The details are available at GBCI.org but here’s my “Penny’s Notes” version.
Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), the organization that administers credentialing programs for USGBC, has announced a new 3-tiered structure that will distinguish LEED APs based on their level of knowledge and experience. Each tier will have eligibility, examination, and credential maintenance requirements.
• Tier I, LEED Green Associate, is entry level and requires passing a core exam testing general green building and LEED knowledge. Fifteen hours of continuing education every two years will be required to maintain the credential.
• Tier II, LEED AP+, signifies deeper green building knowledge plus specialization in a particular field such as Interior Design and Construction (old CI), or one of four other tracks. Candidates will be required to pass the core exam plus one or more specialty exams. Thirty hours of continuing education every two years will be required to maintain the credential.
• Tier III, LEED AP Fellow, recognizes professionals distinguished by long service and exceptional accomplishments. The credentialing and maintenance requirements are still under development.
Some other big changes: whereas in the past anyone willing to pay the fee could sit for the LEED AP exam, candidates will now have to agree to a disciplinary policy and demonstrate green building and LEED experience. A percentage of the applications will be audited for eligibility compliance.
Big question: what if I’m already a LEED AP? You will become a Legacy LEED AP with inactive status. Beginning in June 2009, you’ll have two years to opt into the new system by signing the disciplinary policy and agreeing to credential maintenance and associated costs. You will then get to use the new LEED AP+ designation and be listed in the active registry. Those who choose not to opt in by June 2011 will need to retest.
Speaking of tests, the new versions will begin coming online in February 2009 with the beta tests of the Green Associate and LEED AP+ O&M exams. All will be launched by summer’s end. A complete schedule is available at the GBCI website. It is not clear how long the current exams will remain active and available.
I’m happy to see these improvements to the LEED AP program and agree with them for the most part. I do, however, think the 30-hour CEU requirement is excessive. It far exceeds the hours needed to maintain an architectural or interior design license. I do hope GBCI will reconsider. Your thoughts?