LEED Certification Process: Before the Exam
Achieving a LEED Credential can be quite a process. It requires more than simply taking an exam and calling it a day. The purpose of attaining such a certification is to demonstrate one’s expertise in the green building industry. This persona should be supported by extensive preparation, experience, knowledge, and maintenance. In fact, the USGBC requires that a LEED candidate undergo multiple criteria to be eligible for different tiers in the LEED Rating System.
The mandatory first step for an individual is to take LEED Exam Prep training. The main benefit of taking a LEED preparation course is the time that it saves. A student who attends a training course easily saves 3-4 hours of time for each hour that they spend in a concentrated learning environment. For example, someone taking a class might spend 14 hours in the classroom and another 20 hours studying for a total of 34 hours, compared to an individual studying on their own who might easily spend more than 100 hours trying to get to the same level of competency. So, the question is really about how someone values saving 70 hours of their time.
To choose a good program, a student should look at third-party indicators of their quality. Is the program from an accredited school? Is the organization offering the program an education provider for the U.S. Green Building Council? What do online reviews from former students say about the program?
The programs that waste students’ money most often are from small and inexperienced companies who do not have the expertise to properly design a course to successfully prepare students for their exam. Does the program reference former clients? Are they partnered with large corporations and universities for delivery of their classes?