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5 ways to earn your LEED and AIA CE hours without breaking your bank

Posted by: Dr. Evelyn Greenholt DDS at 24/11/2020 4,431 views

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Learning is a lifelong process. Wouldn’t you agree? In order for us to stay on top of the latest and greatest advances in our industry, we have to continuously update and upgrade ourselves. It’s like the software we have on our system. With time, the software needs to be updated to be more current. Now for LEED and WELL Professionals, Continuing education or “CE” hours are the hour's LEED and WELL professionals spend in credential maintenance activities. CE hours are calculated differently depending on the activity.

Which Credential is right for you?

If you are planning to earn a credential, there are so many to choose from. LEED Green Associate, LEED AP (with multiple specialties), WELL AP, SITES AP, and so on. GBRI- An AIA and USGBC Education Provider recently announced a sustainability COVID scholarship thus providing FREE Exam Prep for LEED Green Associate, LEED AP, and WELL AP Exams. More information here- https://www.gbrionline.org/scholarship/

How many hours do I need in the first place?

If you are a LEED Green Associate, you must earn 15 CE hours (three must be LEED-specific) every two years to maintain your credential. Twelve of those hours can be “general”, meaning they are related to general green building concepts but not specific to a particular rating system.  Three of those hours must be specific to any of the LEED rating systems.

If you are LEED AP, you must earn 30 CE hours (twenty-four of the hours are general CE related to green building and six hours must be “specific”, or technology related to your specialty) every two years to maintain your credential.

LEED APs with multiple specialties must earn an additional six LEED-specific CE hours for each additional specialty.

This means LEED professionals have two years minus one day from the date of earning the credential to complete the required CE hours. For example, if you pass your exam on October 2, 2019, your credentialing period ends on October 1, 2021, and the next period begins on October 2, 2021.  As of 2019, the credential maintenance renewal fee is $85. If you fail to meet your continuing education requirements, you will have to complete the entire registration and testing process again.

All AIA architect members, on the other hand, must earn 18 Learning Units (LUs) each year, 12 of which must be in the topic area Health Safety, and Welfare (HSW).

What exactly are rating system-specific CE hours?

Rating system-specific CE hours are continuing education hours earned from doing activities that are specific to a rating system (for example, LEED Green Associates and LEED APs with specialty must take LEED-specific courses in order to fulfill LEED-specific CE hours, SITES APs must take SITES-specific courses in order to fulfill SITES-specific CE hours, and WELL APs must take WELL-specific courses in order to fulfill WELL-specific CE hours).

Why CE hours?

The intent of the rating system CE hours is to continue to ensure that the credential holder is knowledgeable in the current version of the rating system they are certified under. Rating system-specific activities have an explicit connection to the prerequisites, credits, (LEED and/or SITES) concepts, or features (WELL) of a given rating system.

How can I earn my rating-system-specific CE hours in an affordable way?

Rating system-specific CE hours can be earned through any of the five different activity types allowed in the credential maintenance system-

Education from approved providers

Taking courses from AIA and USGBC Education Providers such as GBRI will give you peace of mind because your hours will be reported on your behalf and you are guaranteed they will be approved. Education should be relevant to green building, which includes environmental sustainability and human health and wellness. Education for general CE hours can come from learning activities that are approved by GBCI, or from non-GBCI approved courses.

Please note that GBRI’s courses are pre-approved by USGBC as well as AIA for LU/HSW units, so you can earn all of your CE hours in one place!

FREE AIA and LEED CE Hours

There are plenty of CE hours that can be obtained for FREE such as GBRI’s FREE CE Hours. Make sure they are pre-approved if you are taking it from other providers. Below this article, we have provided a FREE video on HVAC and COVID. The course video is approved for AIA and LEED CE. Not only will this help you with your CE requirements but also help us all prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Education from non-GBCI approved providers

Examples of non-GBCI approved courses that may be eligible for general CE hours include college and university courses, simulated project participation, workshops, courses and conference events. GBCI recommends using the LEED credit categories/concepts as a guideline to help you determine what constitutes general green building topics.

Please note that courses can only be counted towards credential maintenance once, and the same course cannot be reported in multiple reporting periods.

Both participants and instructors receive 1 CE hour per hour of educational contact time, and those who develop content also receive 2 CE hours for each course they develop. Under the continuing education activity type, rating system-specific credit can only be achieved through GBCI approved education designated as LEED-specific.

You can attend events and conferences related to sustainability and green buildings. Take advantage of GBRI’s FREE CE courses and events at gbrionline.org/leed-ce

Project Participation

Work on projects registered for LEED certification count for 1 rating system-specific CE hour per credit or feature for credential holders working on projects certified under the system or standard related to their credential. Project administrators can claim an additional 2 CE hours per project.

Please note that the intent of project participation is to work on projects that are intended to be implemented. This excludes simulated project participation provided through education programs.

GBRI’s LEED Project Experience Program is approved by USGBC, GBCI, and AIA for LEED Specific CE hours and AIA LUs/HSWs for up to 15 hours, so you can master LEED v3 and v4 by working on a real LEED project and earn all your LEED CE hours.

Volunteering (no more than 50% of total CE hours)

Volunteering includes participation in leadership positions, steering committees or working groups; LEED credential exam development and maintenance activities; or local USGBC community boards, committees, or other volunteer organizations that support the LEED system or role in which they further their knowledge about green building.

Volunteers can claim 1 hour per hour of participation. LEED-specific hours are designated for volunteering that is directly related to LEED technical content.

Authorship

Authorship is a credited contribution to a print or digital publication and is worth 3 CE hours per published article and 10 CE hours per published book. LEED-specific hours are designated for authoring that is directly related to LEED technical content.

Special LEED CE Packages offered by GBRI:

As mentioned above, all GBRI’s courses or packages are pre-approved by USGBC as well as AIA for LU/HSW units. They are listed below:

6 LEED Specific CE Hours (BD+C, ID+C, O+M, ND and Homes)

This package costs $99.00 and includes all 6 LEED-specific CE hours for your credential. You may choose from BD+C, O+M, ID+C, ND, or Homes specialties, and will have access to 3 courses that are 2 CE hours each. All courses in this package also meet the CE requirements of LEED Green Associate Credential.

GBRI Learning Hub Subscription

Learning Hub @ GBRI is your one stop shop for all your Continuing Education and Training needs. Sustainability should not have any boundaries. Fulfill All Of Your LEED, WELL & AIA CE Requirements In One Place & Without Breaking the Bank! Learning [email protected] redefines sustainability with 100s of course videos, articles, and training materials. Whether you just need a few CE hours, LEED specific content, WELL CE, or AIA HSW LUs, we have it all. GBRI is also providing FREE exam prep for LEED and WELL within its learning hub now.

FREE AIA and LEED CE Hours

As mentioned previously, there are plenty of CE hours that can be obtained for FREE such as GBRI’s FREE CE Hours. Make sure they are pre-approved if you are taking it from other providers. Below this article, we have provided a FREE video on HVAC and COVID. The course video is approved for AIA and LEED CE. Not only will this help you with your CE requirements but also help us all prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

 

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