What Does GA Stand For In LEED? – Your Complete Guide to LEED Green Associate Exam

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What does GA stand for in LEED? It had been a common question among those interested to take green building certifications by USGBC. Before we elaborate in detail, GA stands for Green Associate, a foundational level certification, the LEED Green Associate equips AEC professionals with skills to implement sustainable practices in both design and community.

Earning the LEED Green Associate is your gateway to green building systems and ratings and a step towards amplifying your credentials to advance your career in sustainable building design. Learn more with this simplified LEED Green Associate exam prep.

What does ga stand for in leed

What is The LEED Green Associate Exam All About?

LEED Green Associate exam (also formerly known as LEED GA) is the certification by USGBC for professionals to implement green building practices and support the team working on LEED projects. A global network of Subject Matter Experts develops the LEED exams to reflect the current building principles, design technology and job requirements. An exam is also continuously maintained and updated each year to warrant it remains valid and up to date. 

Those who want to demonstrate their familiarity with green construction in non-technical areas may do so by earning a LEED Green Associate credential. This credential confirms that the holder has proven an introductory level of knowledge in sustainable design, construction, and operations.

What does GA stand for in LEED?

It is an acronym for Green Associate under the LEED standard. However, bear in mind that GA is an acronym that is no longer accepted by USGBC. A professional who has earned the credential will be titled LEED Green Associate and not LEED GA. Whereas the next title is LEED AP and should not be referenced LEED Accredited Professional according the the USGBC.

Scgzero building exterior

What Other LEED Certifications Are There for Architects?

If LEED GA is considered the gateway or the foundation to sustainability and the LEED Rating system, LEED AP (Associate Professional) certification provides advanced knowledge and skills in sustainable building design and construction. Unlike the Green Associate certification, it covers 5 categories, so called specialties in the building industry.

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

The LEED Green Associate credential is the best starting point for anyone interested in green building since it is both advanced and comprehensive, covering more than a hundred distinct topics. Many architects take the LEED GA exam, and then the LEED AP BD+C to demonstrate their skills in building design and construction. You can read more in detail on LEED AP BD+C in our guide to this popular specialty.

Why Should You Pursue the LEED GA Certification?

So what does GA stand for really, other than being the acronym for Green Associate? Simply put, getting the LEED Green Associate certification is a great move for anybody who works in green building design or has an interest in environmental preservation and sustainability.

When it comes to green, energy-efficient construction, nobody does it better than the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating and certification system. A LEED credential or accreditation is valued today in the industry as it denotes proficiency in sustainable design, construction and operations aligned with today’s requirements and technology. 

By earning this certificate, you demonstrate your ability to contribute to the design and construction of LEED-certified buildings and to support the adoption of green building principles in design projects.
It is also a move that will help you advance your career, learn new skills and make a difference in the world. Your credentials build your reputation, keep you up-to-date with the latest trends and skills, connect you with like-minded professionals, and offer you a feeling of purpose and success.

Who Should Take the LEED GA Certification?

This exam is ideal for persons who are just beginning their careers in the green building construction and design industry since it examines candidates’ comprehensive knowledge of green building practices and how to give support to those working on LEED projects.

Although there are no eligibility requirements, it is recommended to have prior exposure to green building concepts as well as the LEED rating system. Many obtain this exposure through either work experience or educational courses.

Man working on laptop on top of table

How Hard Is the LEED GA exam?

The lack of expertise or awareness of the core ideas of green building design makes the Green Associate exam more challenging. If one has strong knowledge of energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainable materials and similar categories that make up a green building would make the exam prep process much easier.
If you do not have a solid prior knowledge of those categories then check out the 20-minutes free LEED training that builds your green building foundation.

LEED Green Associate Exam Content

The exam content for the LEED Green Associate exam is divided into several Knowledge Domains that reflect LEED’s credit categories. Not only do they cover both residential and commercial buildings, but these domains also apply to both new construction and existing buildings.

  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. Projects Surroundings and Public Outreach
Solar panels on top of a roof for green design

How Long Is The LEED Green Associate Exam?

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions spread out over the course of 2 hours. Note that the exam is computer-based. In addition to the 2-hour exam, you also have an optional 10-minute tutorial and an optional 10-minute exit survey, all totaling up to 2 hours and 20 minutes.
You may either take the exam in a Prometric Testing Center or have it proctored remotely from the convenience of your own home. Learn more about the exam’s requirements and how to take the exam remotely here.

Step by step guide to obtaining the LEED Green Associate certification

Taking the LEED Green Associate accreditation is not a tricky process. Simply follow these steps and get ready to obtain your credentials.

Check The USGBC Website

Leed green associate handbook by usgbc
Source: usgbc

On the official USGBC website, you will find up-to-date information on all LEED certification exam procedures. It is important for all candidates to go through the LEED Green Associate Handbook which you can download here, to understand not only the exam content, but also the procedures and policies. You can also check out our articles for helpful guides on everything LEED.

Then you can register and schedule the exam which can be taken either at a local Prometric testing center or as a remote proctored online exam at the comfort of your home.

Read more: How Much is the LEED GA Exam?

Prepare For The Exam

LEED GA (LEED Green Associate) course

Once you have a date for the exam, or even before you do, start studying. It is best to go for a course with comprehensive materials to help you score well in a short time. 

The LEED Green Associate course by Archiroots is a training course that streamlines the preparation process to pass the exam and earn the title without risking failing a non-refundable exam. The course covers the major exam topics as individual modules in easy-to-understand video content.

You can start preparing for free with our LEED Green Associate Exam Prep. At the end of a course, taking practice tests will be extremely helpful. Here is another useful guide from Archiroots to pass the exam: How to Study for The LEED Exam.

Leed green associate training

Get Your Results

To pass the LEED Green Associate exam, the candidate must score 170 or higher. As it is a computer-based exam, the score is instant, displayed at the end of the exam. 

Maintaining Your LEED Green Associate Credential

After passing the exam, one needs to maintain the validity of the credential. The LEED Green Associates have two years from the date of their exam to complete 15 hours of continuing education (CE) to keep the title. The credential maintenance activities can be found in their account. Once the required hours are fulfilled, the candidate can renew the credential

If you want to become a certified LEED Green Associate, this comprehensive course will get you ready for the exam. With our system’s interactive lectures, practice tests, and other study resources, you will be better prepared for the test. Enroll now in the LEED Green Associate program to get started on the path to success.


Become accredited in 2 weeks or less!