When the LEED system arrived on the scene a number of years ago it was really quite simple to attain the accreditation. As the system has continued to mature so has the system for accrediting individuals. Now it takes a more knowledge, work and dedication to become a LEED AP with a Specialty.
The first step is to become a LEED Green Associate. This can actually be gained as a standalone credential or as part of becoming a LEED AP with Specialty. There are a number of basic requirements, taken from the USGBC website:
For professionals who support green building design, construction, and operations, the LEED Green Associate credential denotes basic knowledge of green building principles and practices and LEED.
Candidates must have experience in the form of
• EITHER documented involvement on a project registered or certified for LEED
• OR employment (or previous employment) in a sustainable field of work
• OR engagement in (or completion of) an education program that addresses green building principles.
Credential maintenance requirements:
LEED Green Associates must maintain their credential by earning 15 continuing education (CE) hours every two-year reporting period.
As you can see even gaining the basic level within the LEED AP tree a candidate must some substantial experience in the green and sustainable building fields or at the very least a fairly robust education which addresses those issues.
The most important aspect is that continuing education is now a requirement even for the base level of LEED Green Associate. This prevents the accreditation from being a “get it and forget it” addition to one’s business card.