Become a LEED Professional

Your LEED Credential proves your level of green building expertise to employers, clients, and other stakeholders, putting you among the most qualified, educated, and influential green building professionals in the marketplace.

Becoming a LEED AP in Canada

Exams and credential maintenance are run through the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), a US sister organization to the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Because every LEED Professional earns their credential through the GBCI, there is no difference in status between a LEED Professional in Canada and anywhere else in the world.

While CaGBC and the CaGBC Greater Toronto Chapter do not administer the exams, collect any exam fees, or have influence over the credentialing process, our organizations are the local authority on LEED and LEED training. CaGBC National certifies LEED projects and the CaGBC chapters deliver LEED education (including for exam preparation and credential maintenance).  Your local Chapter provides the training, information and access for Canadians to earn LEED Credentials and build successful LEED certified buildings.

What You Need to Know

Below, we outline the basics to earning your credential.  Need more information?  Join us for our 1-hour comprehensive Lunch + LEED presentation, which will answer all questions about what it takes to become a LEED Professional and how to fulfill on the Continuing Education requirements.

  • Tier I -- LEED Green Associate

    For professionals who want to demonstrate green building expertise in non-technical fields of practice, this credential denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction, and operations. It is the required first step toward earning your LEED AP credential.  Learn More.
     

    Who Should Be a LEED Green Associate?

    Those who need to have and/or demonstrate basic LEED and green building knowledge, such as:  Product manufacturers and sales, property owners and managers, developers, real estate agents, marketing professionals.  (This list is not exhaustive.)

    Exam Format 

    • 2 hour computer-based test
    • 100 randomly delivered multiple-choice questions
    • Score available immediately
    • Passing score: 170+/200

    Fees

    • Application: $50
    • Full exam: $200 ($150 for full-time students and employees of USGBC and CaGBC Corporate Members)
    • Maintenance: $50 every two years

    Unfortunately, Chapter Members do not qualify for exam discounts, only employees of companies that are corporate members of either the CaGBC or USGBC. You will need to find your corporate membership number to receive this discount.

    Process

    There are no longer elibility requirements in order to apply for the LEED Green Associate exam.

    • Create a free account with GBCI
    • Complete an application
    • Receive your eligibility ID within 1 business day
    • Schedule your exam through Prometric within a year of application
    • $50 cancellation or rescheduling fee within 30 days of your appointment

    Preparation

    The LEED Green Associate is not an exam you should expect to fly through -- often people say it is tricky and tries to catch you.  Depending on your experience and background, you can expect to spend 10-16 or more hours studying.

    1. Attend Lunch + LEED

    Our Chapter regularly offers a 1-hour presentation on LEED Accreditation to answer all your questions about GBCI, CaGBC, the exam process, credential maintenance and more.  We highly recommend attending so you understand the process and have the chance to get all your questions answered.

    2. Read the Candidate Handbook

    GBCI's free guide to the exam.  It covers all the logistical details you will need.

    3. Take a Study Course
    Our Chapter offers a 2-day intensive exam preparation course that provides the foundational knowledge for the LEED Green Associate exam for you to attain your first level of credentialing. We offer it approximately 6 times a year and it's our most popular course!

    4. Review Study Materials

    While the USGBC offers a plethora of study guides, the Chapter highly recommends Studio4 guide offered via the CaGBC.  We find it much more complete, comprehensive and affordable than the USGB guides.  Note that the Studio4 guide is included at no cost (along with the 101 Questions & Answers, flash cards and prep exams) when you register for the Green Associate Study Course.  250 pages, PDF, $35-45.  You can find the USGBC's prep materials by clicking here.

  • Tier II -- LEED AP + Specialty

    LEED AP
    For specialists in a particular LEED Rating System. The LEED AP Specialty exam is both the LEED Green Associate & the Specialty exam. LEED APs with specialty hold a thorough understanding of the LEED rating systems and are well prepared to guide project teams through the certification process. You must be able to demonstrate experience on a LEED project in order to qualify for the specialty exam. Learn more.

    Who Should Be a LEED AP?

    Those who are actively working on LEED projects, designing and/or preparing LEED submissions for certification, such as:  Architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, project managers, consultants, commissioning agents, operations managers, municipal planners, homes builders.  (This list is not exhaustive.)

    Exam Format

    • 4 hour, 2-part computer-based test
      • Part 1: LEED Green Associate Exam (must be completed in the first 2 hours)
      • Part 2: LEED AP Speciaty Exam (must be completed in the second 2 hours)
    • Each exam is 100 randomly delivered multiple-choice questions
    • Score available immediately
    • Passing score: 170+/200

    Eligibility Requirements

    Experience working on a LEED-registered project within the past 3 years.  Details.

    Fees

    • Application: $100
    • Full exam: $450  ($300 for employees of USGBC and CaGBC Corporate Members)
    • LEED AP Speciality Only (for LEED Green Associates):  $250  ($150 for employees of USGBC and CaGBC Corporate Members)
    • Maintenance: $50 every two years

    Unfortunately, Chapter Members do not qualify for exam discounts, only employees of companies that are corporate members of either the CaGBC or USGBC. You will need to find your corporate membership number to receive this discount.

    Process

    • Create a free account with GBCI
    • Complete an application & prove your eligibility
    • Receive your eligibility ID within 1 business day
    • Schedule your exam through Prometric within a year of application
    • $50 cancellation or rescheduling fee within 30 days of your appointment

    Preparation

    The LEED AP Specialty exams are technical and complex, and questions are intentionally worded to be tricky.  Depending on your experience and background, you can expect to spend 20-80 hours studying.

    1. Attend Lunch + LEED

    Our Chapter regularly offers a 1-hour presentation on LEED Accreditation to answer all your questions about GBCI, CaGBC, the exam process, credential maintenance and more.  We highly recommend attending so you understand the process and have the chance to get all your questions answered.

    2. Read the Candidate Handbook

    GBCI's free guides to the LEED AP Specialty exams.  It covers all the logistical details you will need.

    3. Take a Study Course
    Our Chapter offers courses specific to each rating system, that will help prepare you for your exam. We also have a 2-day intensive exam preparation course for the LEED AP BD+C credential specifically geared toward providing the foundational knowledge you need to pass the exam.

    4. Review Study Materials

    Check out the USGBC's preparation materials.

  • Tier III -- LEED Fellow

    LEED AP FellowThe LEED Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry. LEED Fellows are a highly accomplished class of individuals nominated by their peers and distinguished by the caliber of their contributions to advancing the field of green building.  They must be nominated by their peers and have at least 10 years of experience in the industry. Learn more.

     

    There are 2 LEED Fellows in Canada, Stephen Carpenter of Enermodal Engineering (Kitchener) and Paul Marmion of Stantec (Vancouver).  Read more about these two individuals and their contributions to the green building industry.

  • Why become a LEED Professional

    (From USGBC) The LEED rating system has evolved significantly since the program was first launched in 2000. Technological and scientific innovations, increased resources and wider consumer acceptance have resulted in a sophisticated and dynamic industry that continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

    Recognizing the need for LEED Professional Credentials to keep pace with the green building market, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) created a new suite of credentials: the LEED AP with specialty. These credentials allow green building professionals to designate specialized expertise in five fields within green building: building design and construction, interior design and construction, operations and maintenance, homes, and neighborhood development.

    A LEED AP with specialty credential shows the market, employers and clients that its holder is keeping up with green building innovation and that his or her knowledge of standards and practices is current. Additionally, all candidates for the LEED Fellow distinction, which honors the most accomplished green building practitioners in the field, must hold a LEED AP with specialty to be eligible for nomination.

    Individual Benefits:

    • Detailed expertise in green building practices and technologies
    • Proven green building knowledge
    • Marketable credential to prospective employer or client
    • Personal listing in the LEED AP directory
    • Recognition for involvement in the LEED Certification process (1 credit)

    Employer Benefits:

    • Automatic credit towards the certification of a LEED building
    • Value and marketability in the building design and construction industry
    • Competitive edge
    • Company listing in the LEED AP directory
    • Demonstrated commitment to green building and the LEED Rating Systems

    See what people are saying:  Videos: "Why I Became a LEED Professional"
     

  • Changes to the LEED Accreditation Process

    **LEED APs can still upgrade to LEED AP + Specialty by taking Principles of LEED, a 6-hour online webinar series. Learn more.**

    As of 2009, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) now provides the third-party administration and verification of  LEED professional credentials.  GBCI recently changed the LEED professional credentials in two key ways:

    • There are now three tiers of LEED professional credentials: Green Associate, LEED AP with specialty, and LEED Fellow.  The LEED AP specialties include: Building Design and Construction (BD+C), Interior Design and Construction (ID+C), Operations and Maintenance (O+M), Homes or Neighborhood Development (ND). The LEED AP without specialty credential was retired in 2009 with the introduction of these credentials.
    • LEED Professionals (LEED Green Associates and LEED APs with specialty) must maintain their credentials by earning Continuing Education (CE) hours or retesting every two years, according to the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP). The CMP is designed to keep LEED professionals current with change to green building technology and the LEED rating systems.

    Those individuals who wrote the Canadian LEED AP exam before January 17, 2010, did not have a specialty associated with their LEED AP credential and are considered Legacy LEED APs.  To allow existing LEED APs without specialty to upgrade their credential to LEED AP with specialty, GBCI created a special upgrade process that was available until October 27, 2011.  This option is no longer available.

    Legacy LEED APs have the option of keeping their LEED AP credential indefinitely, or upgrading to a LEED AP with specialty by writing the LEED Green Associate and LEED specialty exam.

    For more information on any of these topics, please visit the LEED AP Credentials FAQs section of the GBCI website.