LEED Certification

WELL AP Compared to LEED AP: Popularity, Exam Difficulty & Usefulness

Though both certifications aim to improve human health, LEED is far more recognized and practical.

WELL AP Compared to LEED AP: Popularity, Exam Difficulty & Usefulness

If you work in the sustainability industry, you’ve likely come across two professional designations: LEED AP and WELL AP. The two are related, in that they both provide strategies to improve the human experience in our homes and workplaces. However, LEED AP also looks at holistic building strategies that reduce water and energy use, while WELL AP looks exclusively at human-centric design and health goals. Nevertheless, both certifications are well-known, so we’re going to compare them.

This post will compare the professional credentials by three metrics:

  1. Statistics
  2. Exam difficulty
  3. Professional usefulness

Note: LEED Certification is technically for buildings and that I am actually writing about LEED accreditation here (which is for people).

comparing LEED AP vs. WELL AP banner

Statistics Comparing WELL AP and LEED Certifications

Jobs near me on Indeed

1431 jobs calling for LEED AP

34 jobs calling for WELL AP

Google Searches

3,250,000 for “LEED AP”

243,000 for “WELL AP”

Professionals with Certifications

LEED Credentials Held: Over 200,000

*Estimated as of 2018

WELL APs: 985

*As of January 2020

As you can see, LEED is massively bigger than WELL AP. That makes sense, given that LEED is about 20 years older and is more firmly established. For background, WELL AP started about 5 years ago and was co-founded by Rick Fedrizzi, who also helped start the USGBC, which manages LEED.

Exam Difficulty

With tens of thousands of students trained, we have a lot of insight into the exam difficulty levels. Simply put, LEED is harder than WELL.

For you, a harder exam means it is more of a differentiator, which makes it more valuable.

But what if you are not a good test taker? Don’t worry, our LEED Green Associate training has a 99% pass rate and an exam guarantee (yes, that is a blatant plug for our training}.

Professional Usefulness

While I have my issues with the USGBC and their lack of serious progress / vision for the past decade, I believe that the LEED rating system is the single best approach to defining what it means to build a green building.

Studying the LEED rating system happens to be the best way to learn all aspects of green building. When I teach, students walk away inspired to go propose new concepts on their projects. Simply put, the process of studying for LEED will change the way you think about what is possible.

Even if you are not in the construction industry, I recommend LEED. It will open your eyes and you will learn something new.

WELL is also good, but it is still developing. I honestly think it needs about another decade to become practical and useful.  

Personally, I am passionate about both the environment and human health. At the end of the day, I would recommend LEED over WELL AP.

Learn more about LEED Green Associate

About Jonathan Boggiano

Jon is an innovator, leader, and investor who focuses on forging organizations that positively impact the greater good. His twin passions are building things (products, experiences, and companies) and mentoring professionals.