Green Credentials Overview

The green building industry is doubling every three years, and more professionals with expertise are needed. Learn about the #1 green building rating systems in the world (and their respective credentials) by reading this page.

What is Green Building?

Image of the 8 LEED category icons, a visual summary of what green building means or isThe green building movement’s focus is to increase the positive impact of the built environment on its occupants, the local, natural environment, and the larger ecosystem while reducing negative factors.  Sustainable building practices apply not only to design, construction, and renovation projects but to the entire life cycle of buildings and their sites.  Everything from material and site selection to energy and water consumption and measurable environmental quality markers are key elements of green building.

Sustainable Building Industry Outlook

The green building industry is doubling every three years, and more professionals with expertise are needed.  A green building credential can set you apart in your field, offer a competitive advantage on your resume, and showcase your unique knowledge of sustainable best practices for the built environment.  Whether you are a seasoned professional, a student, or anything in between, a green credential by your name can gain your access to countless opportunities.

About Green Building Credentials

There are currently eight main global green building credentials.  Two tiers (three if you consider LEED Fellow designation a tier) and six professional credentials exist under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).  There are two stand-alone AP (Accredited Professional) credentials:  WELL AP and SITES AP.  All credentials are earned by passing a 100-question exam administered and certified by GBCI and are maintained by meeting continuing education requirements during each two-year credentialing period.

Below are a few things that these programs focus on to help paint a picture of how they differ from each other. Note, there are dozens and dozens of green building concepts and best-practices that these programs incorporate (not just the handful that are listed):

3 project examples of 3 major green building programs in the world, LEED, WELL, and SITES with caption summaryies of the 3 green building programs

Photos and logos courtesy of,, and






Credential Comparison

Deciding which credential is right for you depends on your current job function and your future career goals.  Once professionals see the true value of green building credentials, many continue and earn multiple accreditations.  Although there is no one-size-fits-all education path, the LEED Green Associate credential is a great place to start for students and professionals alike as it widely recognized, provides a good green building foundation of knowledge and is a prerequisite for LEED AP specialty credentials.  Keep in mind green credentials are complementary in nature and continuing education courses often provide credits for multiple credentials.

a chart of everything you would want to know when comparing the different leed, well, and sites credentials with logos at the top and price discounts at the bottom






Ready to Earn Your Green Credential?

At GBES, we’ve been helping professionals like you earn career-advancing sustainability credentials for over 13 years as the #1 provider in the industry (over 150,000 satisfied customers). Our mission is to advance the green building movement, and we’re committed to providing resources that help you pass any green building exam the first time you take it.  We’re also the fastest and most affordable way to meet your credential’s continuing education requirements.

No Experience Required

Did you know? There is no longer a project experience requirement to sit for any of the LEED exams!

Learn More About The Most Popular Green Building Credentials

LEED Green Associate

Click to learn more about the LEED GA credential

The LEED Green Associate is typically the first step in your green building credential journey. Earning the LEED Green Associate confirms that you have general knowledge of green building practices for both commercial and residential spaces, and both new construction and existing buildings, as well as how to support other professionals working on LEED projects.

Click to learn more about LEED AP credentials

You may know someone who took the LEED exam many years ago, and who did not transition into one of the LEED AP with specialty credentials. These are called Legacy LEED AP professionals. Trailblazers and trend-setters, these Legacy LEED APs were among the first in the building industry to differentiate their expertise with a green building credential. Although Legacy LEED APs do not have to complete continuing education to maintain their credential status, their credential without specialty may not count for an Innovation credit on a project pursuing LEED certification.








Click here to learn more about the WELL AP credential

The WELL AP is a relative new credential that verifies your understanding of the WELL Building Standard, a building rating system that addresses health, comfort, well-being, and happiness if the occupants.








Click here to learn more about the SITES AP credential

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is an all-inclusive rating system established to alter the current development practices in a more sustainable way to improve the surrounding ecosystems and make projects and landscapes in a more sustainable way.

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