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A Better Credential Experience is Here

Published on Written by , Erin Emery Hartz Posted in LEED

One of LEED’s greatest strengths is its ability to evolve and improve along with the industry, continuously raising the bar on green building practice.

The same is true of the LEED Professional Credentials – the industry-respected LEED AP with specialty and LEED Green Associate designations. These credentials call on professionals to constantly enhance their knowledge and skills, and the credentialing program itself must be nimble and adaptable.

Today we’ve announced the most significant updates to the LEED Professional Credentials since the specialty credentials and credential maintenance program (CMP) were introduced in 2009.

The improvements are the result of feedback from professionals throughout the industry, and they are designed to achieve two important goals: Preserving the rigor of the LEED credentials while making them simpler and more straightforward to maintain, and giving LEED APs a better opportunity to get back into the community through earning a specialty credential.

From applying for an exam to reporting hours, we’ve worked hard to eliminate 50 percent of GBCI’s front- and back-end rules, streamlining the process from start to finish. These real, thoughtful changes will ensure that your LEED credentials fit better into your daily professional lives.

Here’s what’s improved:

Credential Maintenance improvements

  • Easier reporting. You no longer have to report categories, and there are fewer limits on your CE hours.
  • Simplified activity types. Now there are only four activity types: education, LEED project participation, volunteering, and authorship. Volunteering has a 50% hour limit and the other activities have no limit.
  • Better forms. The simpler reporting forms mean you only have to fill in the basics.
  • Automatic reporting. Education providers will soon have the ability to automatically upload your continuing education hours when you take a course.
  • Improved course catalog. We’re hard at work on improving functionality for USGBC’s course catalog, which will soon offer course ratings so professionals can chose the educational options that best fit their needs.
  • Prescriptive alternative and new chance to upgrade to a specialty credential

    We're thrilled to introduce Principles of LEED, a free, intensive, six-hour webinar series that will give LEED APs a specialty credential and can be used by those already opted in as an alternative to prescriptive CMP.

    • All LEED APs can take the six-hour series to earn a BD+C, ID+C or O+M specialty credential.
    • LEED APs with specialty doing prescriptive CMP can use the series to satisfy their prescriptive credential maintenance and LEED-specific requirements and shift their reporting period from prescriptive to regular CMP.
    • All other LEED APs with specialty and LEED Green Associates can use the series to earn up to six LEED-specific CE hours for free.

    To learn more and register for the series, visit Principles of LEED now »

    Exam improvements

    • Streamlined exam applications. Exam application and registration steps have been cut in half, and letters of attestation are no longer needed up front.
    • No more eligibility requirement for the LEED Green Associate. Anyone over age 18 is eligible.

    We’re excited about these improvements to the LEED credential experience, and we invite you to learn more. The power of LEED to change the marketplace comes from the innovations of its practitioners and the ability of the program to react to the lessons learned by professionals and the feedback they provide. These newest improvements to the LEED Professional Credentials are the next step toward a marketplace transformed by cutting-edge green building practice.

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    Erin Emery Hartz made 10 contributions in the last 6 months

Erin Emery Hartz

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design

30 commentsLeave a comment

McCrone, Inc.

Hi Erin, thanks for the post, definitely helps clarify the new option. I'm still a bit hesitant on jumping into the new option though. Since I'm in the prescriptive pathway, are there any major disadvantages of switching? I haven't earned many CMP hours under my current cycle that ends next year so I don't think that would be an issue. Thanks!

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi William,
This alternative is completely optional, so if you'd prefer to continue doing prescriptive credential maintenance, you're more than welcome to. Some people prefer to have detailed and specific instructions on exactly what type of activities to complete; if that's your situation, staying on prescriptive may be best for you. You can still take Principles of LEED for free and enjoy six free LEED-specific hours of our most advanced and up-to-date LEED education yet.
Our intention with Principles of LEED is to offer a no-strings-attached, free, high-quality program that provides an opportunity for you to earn your future hours in a more flexible way, and in the subjects that make the most sense for your professional focus and expertise.

Programmer/Planner, Texas A&M University

Hello Erin,

This is a fantastic opportunity, but I have a few questions for you:

I am a LEED AP who opted in to complete the prescriptive maintenance path. I do not yet have my LEED specific hours and plan to take the six modules.

When we complete these modules, my understanding is that our reporting period will convert to a regular CMP. Does this mean we need to complete 24 more hours to finish the reporting period or do we start a new 30 hour CMP reporting period? If we start a new 30 hour reporting period, how does the start date work? I have hours I have completed recently for the prescriptive path that I do not want to loose credit for.

Thank you,
Amy Kircher

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Amy,
You're correct. Since you already have an open reporting period, you will need to complete however many hours you have left in it. The six Principles of LEED credits will count, and you will not lose any of the work you've already done. So, for example, if you've already done 9 hours before taking all 6 from Principles of LEED, then you'll have 15 left to do (30 total minus 6 minus 9). Those remaining can be taken in any topic without restrictions. Does that help?

Programmer/Planner, Texas A&M University

Yes this has answered my question. Thank you!

HKS, Inc.

I have completed all of the presecriptive requirements under the old program...all the hours in each category, all the LEED specific, and all of the total LEED. The button to update my credentials indicates incomplete status. I wrote customer service, got a case number and haven't heard long should this response take?

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Hi Kevin,
It looks like you're 0.5 hours short in the Stakeholder Involvement in Innovation category. If you rearrange your hours to account for that, you should be good to go.

Principal, Director of Sustainable Design, EwingCole

I was at Greenbuild and saw a great talk comparing LEEDv3 2009 to LEEDv4 (LEEDv4 Technical Requirements). Will that Powerpoint be made available for those of us who need to educate our staff of LEED APs? Is it on this site somewhere?

Industry Marketing Manager - Building Design, Autodesk

Don, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed that session. Greenbuild conference proceedings are available for purchase at The package includes audio and slides from all sessions.

Bassetti Architects

I just logged onto MyCredentials to self report CE hours. It shows old format, not new, and I cannot open any category to report hours. I don't need the 6 hour webinar series to achieve the required hours. Is USGBC forcing that now as a pre-requisite to any kind of self reporting?

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