How Will a LEED Credential Help My Career?

Rob Freeman's picture
Rob Freeman
Vice President
October 9, 2014

LEED accreditation can make you more attractive and competitive with potential employers while helping in your professional career.

Understanding of sustainability is more important than ever before whether you are working for a company or yourself.
Understanding of sustainability is more important than ever before whether you are working for a company or yourself.
Credit: Benjamin Thompson via Flickr

If you are preparing for, or considering, one of the LEED professional credentialing exams, you’re doing the right thing... And it turns out that LEED professional credentials are in greater demand than ever before.

Click here for a list of recent LEED Green Associate jobs.

A recent 2014 USGBC study conducted by Pearson, using data by research firm Burning Glass, found that U.S. employer demand for LEED Green Associates and LEED APs grew by 46% in just 12 months.

What caused this growth?

We believe the increasing demand for LEED knowledge can be attributed to the fact that sustainability skills are not only needed in the industries of architecture, design and construction, but that such demand is indicative of a larger trend toward efficiency in jobs representing a microcosm of the American economy.

The Pearson study found that while the top fields with positions requiring LEED credentials were intuitive (architecture and design), there were other leading professions represented including sales, property management, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, construction management and even software development.

LEED vs. Other CredentialsIn a separate survey, USGBC also asked hundreds of current employers across a range of industries and functions about the value of LEED professional credentials and found that 91% of employers would recommend the credentialing program to peers and 71% reported that they are likely to make holding a LEED professional credential a requirement in the future.

Poplar Network also conducted a separate Internet survey of hundreds of individuals who are interested in sustainability and found that if earning a sustainability or “green” credential was important to them, they overwhelmingly chose LEED.

To explore further, Poplar conducted a second online survey spanning professions including those above, but also including marketing, consulting, administrative personnel, business development and students, where we asked people if knowledge of sustainability had been helpful to their careers.

Greater than 80% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that such knowledge was important to their careers.

This seems to be the case not just in the U.S., but in other countries as well where LEED is expanding. While LEED is the most established and widely recognized green building certification system in the U.S. (and well on its way to being used in every country on Earth) there is also evidence of strong demand for LEED professional credentials from countries in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Trends in Efficiency are More Personal Than Ever

To those who are curious about LEED and wonder “How will this credential help in my career?”, a straightforward response might be a rhetorical, “How can it not?”

Sustainability has helped my career

Many employers want to know that job candidates have efficiency in mind. USGBC noted as much in the recent “LEED in Motion: People and Progress Report”, a focus on the “doers of green building” where it notes that holding a LEED credential denotes an active participant in the green building movement. And the 2013 McGraw-Hill Dodge Construction Green Outlook reports that “Professionals with green credentials are adding value to the individual and the firms that employ them - 68% of firm executives report that having workers with green credentials helped them grow their business.”

But what if you're a freelancer, a student, or independent contractor? Can knowledge of the concepts of sustainability can help you gain an edge?

Absolutely. Indeed, there is a cultural and social shift occurring towards a more independent workforce. One that is more innovative, nimble and efficient. Just as more and more people are crafting professional profiles on LinkedIn, with the hope of being recruited, the democratization of communication and productivity technology on the Internet has enabled people to start to earn money in ways never before possible... All while being as efficient as possible.

Dan Stangler, director of research and policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which aims to foster economically independent individuals through entrepreneurship, said “We’ve had subcontracting forever, but today what’s new is that you can do with it a laptop.” The Kauffman Foundation estimates that about 10% of U.S. workers are freelancers.

If you have not already started, now is the time to learn about the strategies and opportunities being developed in green building technology, renewable energy, and the potential for distributed power.

The trends support the notion that such knowledge will be valuable to you and provide a significant return to you personally, whether you are an entrepreneur or job seeker.


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Livermore, CA
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Project Manager
Matthews, NC


Relevant education and training to consider.

Green MBA Guide

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