Is LEED AP BD+C Worth It in 2024? – A Complete Guide

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LEED AP BD+C is a highly sought-after green building certification that demonstrates expertise in sustainable design and construction. The LEED AP BD+C is specifically focused on the Building Design and Construction (BD+C) sector. If you are interested in earning the LEED AP BD+C, then check this simplified LEED AP training course.

What Is LEED AP?

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building rating system that is known all over the world. USGBC launched the LEED AP for professionals to showcase their understanding and ability to streamline the certification process. The LEED certification addresses the environmental issues and health effects caused by the built environment, comprising new markets, building types as well as advances in architectural practice and technology. The organization provides credentials for AEC professionals to educate and demonstrate their sustainable design and construction knowledge. With new versions every 5 years, USGBC created the LEED Green Associate and LEED fellow to provide different tiers for professionals in the field.

Leed certification programme tiers

The LEED professional qualifications program has three tiers:

  1. LEED Green Associate
    This accreditation is given to a professional who passes the exam by proving his/her foundational skills and knowledge in sustainable design. This ‘entry’ exam is suitable for those who already have some experience in sustainability and wish to begin a career in the green building industry. Learn more about earning the LEED Green Associate with this simple training.
  2. LEED AP specialties
    To obtain the LEED AP accreditation, you should first obtain the LEED Green Associate credential and take the exam. We explain more about this accreditation below so make sure to keep reading!
  3. LEED Fellow
    After maintaining the LEED AP credential for some time, these professionals become eligible to apply to be LEED Fellows. A minimum of 8 years of LEED AP specialty experience is the basic requirement for this highest LEED credential. Expect a multi-round evaluation process and an extensive portfolio review as well. 

LEED AP (Accredited Professional)

Leed ap specialties

To measure and prove your knowledge of green buildings and LEED rating systems, architects can obtain the LEED AP certificate. This advanced certification is ideal for architects and LEED experts working on sustainability projects and projects seeking LEED certification. The accreditation serves more than architects – engineers, developers and even HVAC Designers can benefit from the LEED AP BD+C credential.
There are 5 specialties under LEED AP, covering major areas within the design and construction industry.

  • Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
  • Operations + Maintenance (O+M)
  • Interior Design + Construction (ID+C)
  • Neighborhood Development (ND)
  • Homes

Take a look at this guide if you are not sure which LEED certification you should get.

The USGBC credentialing arm, GBCI is in charge of managing LEED for buildings as well as the LEED AP exams and the accompanying professional credentials.

Green business certification logo

It’s important to note that individuals can earn accreditations, but building structures can only become certified. Basically, you as an architect or engineer or a professional in the building industry would be interested in earning the LEED AP BD+C accreditation and the building can earn LEED Gold or Platinum or similar certifications. It is important to understand this difference!

Is Earning LEED AP BD+C Worth It?

In addition to being one of the most known building certifications, the LEED AP BD+C also is a prestigious title for building professionals to earn. Just head to LinkedIn jobs or Indeed or glassdoor or any job listing website. When looking into any job requirement or qualification you will be surprised to see that LEED is either required or preferred in the building industry. For Architects, Mechanical Engineers or any professional in the market.

 Even companies are pushing their employees to acquire LEED. Either by losing their annual bonus if they don’t achieve it. Senior roles have to be accredited. Newcomers must accredited or indicate they will be in a few months. Companies are currently advertising themselves with how many LEED accredited staff work at the company.

The exam is designed to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required to take charge of the design processes of sustainable projects, to support the integrated design and streamline the LEED building certification process. Such a certification will direct architects towards a fulfilling career in sustainable building design and construction. After passing the exam, you are eligible to use “LEED AP” followed by the “specialty” after your name. 

Sustainable architecture firms


BD+C stands for Building Design and Construction. As its name indicates, the LEED grading system and its Accredited Professional degree are aimed at those working in the design and construction (or major renovation) of green buildings.

The LEED AP BD+C credential is one of the most in demand specialties in LEED and in all the green building titles. Its scope is comprehensive; it covers all the new construction and major renovation projects and is the most frequently employed by architectural firms and organizations. 

A LEED AP BD+C professional would have a broad knowledge of the LEED v4.1 principles from new construction and major renovations, distribution centers, warehouses, and storage facilities, full-scale retail (including showroom space and storage spaces), hospitality, and professional services. Buildings such as data centers, hospitals, and schools are examples of those that must adhere to BD+C standards.

The diverse project typologies LEED AP BD+C covers are the main reason this specialty is leading over the other specialties. If a professional wants to accelerate their career, earning the LEED AP BD+C is the best way to participate in green projects and be one of the pioneering individuals shaping the green building future.

Achieving the LEED AP BD+C certificate demonstrates that you have the practical knowledge and experience to effectively contribute to a LEED project team to streamline LEED projects and provide green building expertise for greater design and execution efficiency.

Leed certification benefits

Benefits of LEED AP BD+C

  1. You will be taking in the lead amongst your peers for better job opportunities. There is a growing demand for LEED AP certified professionals as the AEC industry keeps a firm focus on sustainability issues. 
  2. Having an in-demand qualification means a better chance for a higher salary. It has been reported that professionals with green building credentials earn better than those without. 
  3. It will also give you a competitive edge when bidding for projects. 
  4. Attracting better and bigger clients is easier as you have proven your skills. Many large organizations and companies are pledging to reduce carbon emissions and as a sustainability expert, you are the perfect to guide them.
Leed ap bd+c

Requirements for LEED AP BD+C Accreditation

So what are the requirements to register for the accreditation exam?

As A Current LEED Green Associate

Earning the LEED AP accreditation demonstrates a high level of expertise in the practical application of sustainable design and construction techniques. To become a LEED AP, you must demonstrate expertise in a certain area as mentioned above. Each is for a specific niche within the construction industry.

The LEED Green Associate is the one and only requirement to be eligible for the LEED AP BD+C exam.

Those who can demonstrate an in-depth, current grasp of contemporary green building concepts and practices may earn the LEED Green Associate certificate by preparing and passing the official exam. For many, this is just a milestone toward more advanced qualifications like the LEED AP with the specialty.

After passing the LEED Green Associate test, you may choose to specialize in one of five areas by taking the LEED Accredited Professional exam. Just register your choice of LEED AP specialization and take the exam.

Not A Current LEED Green Associate?

The LEED Green Associate certificate is necessary to take the LEED AP exam, hence you would be required to take both exams. In such cases, both the LEED Green Associate and the LEED AP exams are available, and candidates have the option of taking them simultaneously or independently. Note that failing the Green Associate exam will restrict you from being eligible to apply for the LEED AP exam.

Read more: Where Can I Take the LEED Green Associate Exam?

LEED AP Exam Fees

A specialty exam costs $250 for USGBC members and $350 for non-members. For the combined exam, USGBC members will have to pay an additional $150 while non-members pay an additional $200.

Leed ap bd+c certificate

LEED AP BD+C Pass Rate

The LEED AP is known to be a difficult exam, it was primarily the only LEED exam. Due to it’s difficulty, USGBC created the LEED Green Associate credential as a first step to learning about LEED. Roughly the LEED AP BD+C has a pass rate of 30% but with proper LEED AP training you can pass easily.

The Exam Format

The LEED AP BD+C official exam is entirely computer-based, consisting of one hundred multiple-choice questions. There are no other question formats including essays. You have two hours to finish what has been handed to you. You should submit the completed answer sheet and log out within the allocated time. If you are taking a combination of LEED Green Associate and LEED AP, the total duration of the exam will be 4 hours (with an optional 20-minute tutorial plus exit survey). Here is a free sample of the LEED AP BD+C Practice Exam by Archiroots. 

After submission, your score will be almost immediately presented as a pass or fail. A pass is a score of 170 or more out of a possible 200. For the combined exam, you need a score of 170 or higher for both parts. 

During the exam, you will have access to a menu that will enable you to skip, go back, flag, and review any question. Do not leave any questions blank since they will be valued as wrong. There is no grade reduction for any mistake other than the wrong answer, so never keep a question unanswered.

2 hours duration is more than enough to complete the test – 2 minutes per question to be exact – since you have 2 hours to finish 100 questions.

The Knowledge Domains in The LEED AP BD+C Exam

  1. LEED Process
  2. Integrative Strategies
  3. Location and Transportation
  4. Sustainable Sites
  5. Water Efficiency
  6. Energy and Atmosphere
  7. Materials and Resources
  8. Indoor Environmental Quality
  9. Project Surroundings and Public Outreach
How to achieve the leed ap bd+c

LEED AP BD+C Exam Prep

When it comes to preparing for your test, you may use a few different reference sources. USGBC suggests both free and paid resources. Be sure to give the candidate handbook a thorough reading all the way through. It is the second-best free resource since it includes two sample questions that give you a clear picture of the official exam flare.

LEED AP BD+C Study Guide by Archiroots

Meanwhile, we proudly recommend our free resources to accelerate your certification journey. From registering to maintaining the credential, the study guide covers all the basic information you need to take the exam. In addition, you will also get useful free resources and a 2-weeks study plan to ace the exam. 

Forget the long study guides and books. Save your time and money and get started with our simplified free guide to earning the Green Associate and the free LEED AP BD+C training to make sure you pass the LEED AP BD+C exam through our streamlined video content. 


Become accredited in 2 weeks or less!