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I've got a question! Taking a LEED professional exam

Published on Written by Posted in LEED

We often get asked questions about our LEED professional credentials.

We want to make things as easy as possible, so here are some answers to our recent most frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Q. What is the difference between the LEED Green Associate and and LEED AP?

A. USGBC offers two types green building professional credentials. The 1) LEED Green Associate and the 2) LEED AP.

  1. The LEED Green Associate demonstrates a solid understanding of green building principles and practices. It is ideal for  professionals newer to sustainability and LEED, as well as product manufacturers, students, real estate professionals, and contractors. Prerequisites: none; Exam fee: $250; CE Hours: 15 hours every two years
  2. The LEED AP affirms advanced knowledge in specialized areas of green building and LEED certification. It is suited for practitioners actively working on LEED projects to showcase their deep technical knowledge of LEED in both principle and practice. Prerequisites: LEED project experience strongly recommended; Exam fee: $550; CE Hours: 30 hours every two years

Q. Does studying for the LEED AP exam mean that you have covered everything in the LEED Green Associate exam?

A. If you plan to take a LEED AP exam, you should be prepared to have a strong knowledge of of the concepts covered in the LEED Green Associate exam. When it comes to taking a LEED professional exam you have three options. You can take 1) the standalone LEED Green Associate core exam, 2) the standalone LEED AP specialty exam, or 3) the combined LEED Green Associate core and LEED AP specialty exam.

If you do not already hold a LEED Green Associate credential before sitting for your LEED AP specialty exam, you will have to take the LEED Green Associate exam. You can do this the same day as your LEED AP specialty exam (option #3 above) or you can schedule your Green Associate and AP exams for different days (but remember the Green Associate exam must come first!).

If you already hold a LEED Green Associate or a LEED AP with specialty, you only need to register for the standalone LEED AP specialty exam.

Q. Do I have to complete the LEED Green Associate exam in order to take the LEED AP exam? 

A. You have two options for taking a LEED AP exam: 1) you can take the combined LEED Green Associate core and LEED AP specialty exam in one sitting, or 2) you can take the standalone LEED Green Associate core exam in a first sitting and the standalone LEED AP specialty exam in a second sitting.

View more exam FAQs

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    Nora Knox made 10 contributions in the last 6 months

Nora Knox

Digital Marketing Manager U.S. Green Building Council
USGBC Articles can be accessed in the USGBC app for iOS or Android on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
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31 commentsLeave a comment

I completed my 15 CE hours but not the 3 LEED specific hours for Green Associate. Can you tell me more of this requirement and where i can find more information on the same
Interface Engineer & SAS Engineer, Hill International, Inc.
Im planning to register for LEED AP BD+C combined exam. is there a package study material cover this exam or I have to purchase the study material separately for both exams ?
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Thank you for your interest in becoming a LEED AP BD + C credential holder. To learn more about the exams, especially the references used to develop them, please view the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP BD + C candidate handbooks. LEED Green Associate: LEED AP BD + C: Most of the reference material used to create these exams is the same. The main difference is the addition of the full LEED Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction for the LEED AP BD + C exam. You might consider purchasing a study bundle for the Green Associate exam: There are also a few valuable exam prep courses. Here is a link to one of the exam prep courses for the LEED Green Associate ( and one of the LEED AP BD+C exam prep courses ( I hope this helps and I wish you the best luck on your exam!
Dear Glenn, I did all these things, (1.Register your project by completing key forms and submitting payment. 2.Apply for LEED certification by submitting your completed certification application through LEED Online and paying a certification review fee. 3.Review. Your LEED application is reviewed by GBCI. ) So, I dont know what after that?????? Thank you,
Director of Sustainability @ GBRI, Green Building Research Institute (GBRI)
USGBC Education Partner GBRI has introduced LEED v4 Exam Prep Scholarships for students, recent graduates and professionals - check this out -
Intern Architect, JRA Architects
I haven't completed my CE's for LEED GA and the reporting period is almost over. If I take and pass my LEED AP exam before my CE reporting period expires, will I be okay? Or do I need to do my CE's for LEED GA before I take the AP exam?
., U.S. Green Building Council
Thank you for your interest in earning a LEED AP with specialty. Yes, you may sit for a LEED AP with specialty exam as long as you have an active LEED Green Associate credential without having completed all of the CMP requirements. However, we encourage you to maintain your credential in the event that you do not pass the LEED AP with specialty exam. If you opt not to maintain your LEED Green Associate, you only have until the end of your Green Associate reporting period end date to pass the LEED AP exam. If you do not pass by that time, you will have to take both exams in order to earn her LEED AP. You can learn more about maintaining your LEED Green Associate here: You can learn more about the specialty credentials in the respective candidate handbook here:
Level III Project Engineer, Turner Construction Company
Does taking the combined GA and AP exam (option 3) save my company any money or is the cost the same as taking both separately. I want to get the AP credential, not justy the GA. Thanks.
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Yes, candidates from both membership organizations and non-members save $50 overall by taking the combined exam, in comparison to taking the Green Associate and Specialty exam sections separately. Please note that the combined exam, consisting of both the LEED Green Associate exam and a specialty exam is administered during a single, consecutive four-hour session.
Dear Madam,Nora, I am interested in appearing for LEED GA exam from DAMMAM, Saudi Arabia, Can one appear from here? Please inform. Thank you.
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