As the building industry becomes more environmentally conscious, earning a credential in green technology can have a significant impact on a person’s career. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, means that the person who has earned the credential has received advanced training in environmental practices and passed the testing required for his or her specific designation.
The LEED AP designation, specifying a LEED Accredited Professional, can be especially beneficial to architects, designers, and those in the construction industry.
The Difference Between LEED Certification and LEED AP
In an industry with a lot of acronyms, some confusion continues to persist about these two in particular. The certification is for a building or structure itself while only individuals can earn the LEED AP credential. To obtain LEED certification, a building project must follow rigorous requirements established by LEED and provide extensive documentation to earn one of four levels of recognition.
LEED AP is an advanced credential that enables workers to demonstrate their knowledge about green building practices. They can also test in one or more specialty areas. Those who opt to receive personal certification must first meet the requirements for the credential of Green Associate before they can sit for the LEED AP Exam.
LEED AP Requirements and Testing Expectations
As of early 2019, test takers will pay a fee ranging from $350 to $550 depending on LEED membership status and whether they are taking the full exam or a specialty section. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and should have experience in projects registered with LEED. The specialty exam has 100 multiple choice questions while the combined exam has 200 multiple choice questions. A score of 70 or 170 is required to pass.
Salary Ranges for Professionals with the LEED AP Credential
The salary that someone with the LEED AP credential can earn varies significantly by years of experience and job title. For example, the median income for an LEED AP professional with less than one year of experience is approximately $51,000 while those with more than 20 years of experience make nearly $97,000. In terms of professions, an April 2017 survey of 5,625 people with this credential indicated a low of $53,000 for interior designers and a high of $83,000 for a project manager at the mid-career level.
Case Study: Rishabh Kislawil
Rishabh Kislawil is currently a Managing Director at Kamal Cogent Energy Pvt. Ltd. The organization is a joint venture between a business in the United States and a business in India. Its primary services include analytics, energy consulting, sustainability solutions, and commissioning of buildings.
As one of the organization’s key employees, Mr. Kislawil had already earned a bachelor and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Even so, he went on to obtain LEED AP certification and feels it was instrumental in his career.
Mr. Kislawil obtained the LEED AP in 2007 when it was a new concept and practically unheard of in India. He feels that it helped to significantly broaden his understanding of sustainability and that it has affected how he approaches each new project.
In addition to his two college degrees, the credential helped him to stand out in a competitive field. He advises anyone looking to advance their career and improve their service to clients to invest the time and money necessary to pass the LEED AP exam.
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