The GBCI literature is confusing to say the least. There are about 12 places to look and they all overlap or contradict each other. If for no other reason than to organize my own thoughts, I need to post a clear explanation of how to maintain my credentials. Hopefully this will help someone else as well. There are 3 options... with 3 very different price tags.***NOTE: This post applies to those of us who took the LEED NC v2.2 AP exam prior to the LEED v3 debut - LEED APs without a specialty. My examples list dates for people who passed the test prior to July 31, 2009. If you need date information for later test times, please let me know and I will post them.
OPTION 1 | 'I have no desire to spend any more money. I just want to be recognized as a LEED AP.'
cost? $$$ zero dollars spent
what do I do? Don't do a thing. If you passed before July 31, 2009, you have until July 30, 2011 to decide to not do anything. After that, options 2 and 3 on this list are no longer available to you.
what will happen? You will be listed in the LEED AP directory indefinitely without specialty.
Pros? No more money spent. No more time spent. And you still get to use 'LEED AP' in your signature.
Cons? Over time, without a specialty designated to your credential... it will become outdated. People in the field will notice that you have the kind of LEED credential that was earned before 2009 and does not require any continuing education. They may begin to question your knowledge. But this won't happen for a few years probably.
OPTION 2 | 'I just spent a huge amount of time and money to get here. I want to have a lasting credential without retesting for anything.' I chose this option, by the way.
cost? $$$ the price of maintaining your credential through continued education. (follow my posts if you want to find cheap ones!)
what do I do? Log in to 'My Credentials' on the GBCI website. Under the heading 'Current Options', scroll down to the second group of options. Select the option that allows you to enroll in 'prescriptive credentialing maintenance'. Read and sign everything. Next, read my post about CMP options and begin your 30 hours of fun (finish before summer 2011).
what will happen? At the end of your reporting period, assuming all of your educational credits have been approved, you will be listed as a LEED AP with a specialty in Building Design and Construction (BD&C).
Pros? Only 30 hours of time, plus the number of hours it takes you to find cheap classes to take. Depending on your bargain hunting skills, you could get away with spending very little or a lot. I'm aiming for very little.
Cons? If you had intended to use your AP credential towards a job in LEED Homes or Neighborhood Design, you might be better off with a specialty that reflects one of those interests. In which case, please move on to Option 3.
OPTION 2 | 'I'm really interested in LEED Homes or Neighborhood Development. I'd like to be recognized especially in one of those fields.'
cost? $$$ the price of retesting under a specialty exam PLUS the price of maintaining one or both credentials over the years to come.
what do I do? Log in to 'My Credentials' on the GBCI website. Under the heading 'Current Options', scroll down to the second group of options. Select the option that allows you to enroll in 'a new specialty examination'. Chose a new specialty; Read and sign everything. Then start studying again.
what will happen? Once you pass your specialty exam, you will be listed as a LEED AP with a specialty in whichever you chose. You will still have to maintain this credential, and if you want you can maintain the BD&C specialty as well (which you would have obtained through Option 2).
Pros? You will be special! You will have a credential which accurately reflects your interests and/or field of work, possibly earning you a higher salary.
Cons? You enter into study hell once again, and you fork out the ridiculously high testing fee once again.