LEED Certification

Getting Your LEED License

If you work in the construction or real estate industries, you've probably heard about LEED. Green buildings earn a designation called LEED Certification. People can also earn a designation showing their understanding of LEED building practices. But it's NOT called a LEED License.

Getting Your LEED License

There is no such thing as a “LEED License.”

Many people confuse the terms license and certification, so let’s get that out of the way right now.

Licensure = mandated by the state to practice a profession or offer a service within that designated scope of practice

Certification = provided by a private organization comprised of trade-specific professionals who identify tasks and duties that best represent a competent professional in the industry

But wait, I thought you said that “green buildings earn a designation called LEED Certification.” I am a person, not a building…

Right. As a person, you’ll want to earn LEED Accreditation.

People Get LEED Accredited

I know, it doesn’t roll off the tongue very easily. But buildings and people both can’t be certified – that’d be confusing. So buildings get LEED certified, and people get LEED Accredited.

The first step to LEED Accreditation is called LEED Green Associate.

To become a LEED Green Associate accredited professional, you have to pass a 100-question, multiple-choice exam.

LEED Green Associate is the required first step for ALL candidates, regardless of occupation, education, or experience.

Now, going back to our original topic about licensure…

The Relationship Between Licensure and LEED

The professionals commonly involved with LEED Certification building projects are architects, engineers, and facility managers who already possess a state license specific to their trade.

For example…

To become a licensed architect

  • Earn an architectural degree from a NAAB-accredited program or meet your jurisdiction’s education requirement

  • Gain and document the required experience or Architectural Experience Program (AXP)
  • Pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE)
  • Meet any extra jurisdictional requirements. Some boards require additional experience or a location-specific supplemental exam before licensure.
  • Have your NCARB Record sent to the jurisdiction where you would like to be licensed.
    To become a licensed engineer

  • Graduate from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Work as an engineer for four years
  • Pass the Professional Engineering (PE) licensure exam
    To become a licensed general contractor

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be able to work legally in the U.S.
  • Have a clean work record in construction or an adequate explanation of any job-related incidents
  • Specific requirements vary by state
    To become a licensed interior designer

  • Have at least six years of combined interior design work experience and college-level education
  • Pass the exam given by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ)
    To become a licensed landscape architect

  • Pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE)
  • As these professionals orient their careers to offer more sustainability-related services, they add onto their existing license by pursuing LEED Accreditation.

    That’s not to say that you can’t learn about LEED unless you have a license.

    Can I Learn LEED Without a License?

    Yes! If you are changing careers or simply want to provide sustainability-related services, LEED Accreditation can help be a foot-in-the-door to job interviews for admin and office roles.

    There are occupations in the building industry that benefit from LEED knowledge, even if those professionals aren’t directly working on building projects.

    Office jobs where LEED Accreditation can be helpful:

  • Product manufacturers
  • Salespeople
  • Marketing professionals
  • Customer service representatives
  • Although they aren’t working in the field and managing LEED building projects, these professionals still have to talk-the-talk and understand the terminology and processes.

    You can’t adequately sell your product without understanding the greater context of how it benefits LEED building projects.

    The reality is, LEED Green Associate is an entry-level credential that has no prerequisites. The reason for that is because the topics introduce everyone to LEED and are applicable to a wide range of occupations.

    If you’re ready to learn more, start with LEED Green Associate Exam Prep training. Our course provides a thorough introduction to LEED building practices. Regardless of whether you go on to take the LEED Green Associate exam and earn the accreditation, you’ll gain a wealth of knowledge.

    Register now for LEED Green Associate

    About Lesley Baulding

    Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.