How to Become a

LEED Sustainability Specialist

The complete career guide to be a LEED Sustainability Specialist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $73,480
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 4.8%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Green Jobs
    Career Attribute

LEED sustainability specialists work to ensure new and remodeled buildings meet leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) requirements. They work with architects and engineers to develop plans for LEED-certified buildings and oversee construction to ensure guidelines are adhered to.

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What is a LEED Sustainability Specialist?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in LEED sustainability specialist roles:

  • Assist architects and engineers during the planning and blueprint phases to develop plans for buildings that can be LEED certified
  • Apply knowledge of federal and state LEED requirements to develop innovative and energy-efficient plans for new construction and remodels
  • Monitor construction to ensure that all plans are adhered to throughout the project
  • Inspect completed projects to ensure applications for LEED certification will lead to approvals
  • Liaise between employers/clients and governments to expedite reviews and application processing

A Day in the Life

As the name might imply, a LEED sustainability specialist is a highly-specialized position, with a very distinct set of responsibilities. With environmentally-friendly construction and buildings on the rise, it only makes sense that leading architectural, industrial, and other types of companies would need to make sure that their structures meet the new LEED requirements. However, since the both the concept and the actual position are both quite new, few people are actually suited for the job tasks.

The core occupation of a LEED sustainability specialist revolves around the two jobs of analysis and report generation. For the first, the LEED sustainability specialist will work directly with the architect or constructor to make sure that all building plans comply with green building directives. This requires knowing and understanding all of these state and federal regulations as well as being able to solve complex construction issues while staying within specified parameters.

A LEED sustainability specialist also serves the dual role of being the liaison between their company and the regulatory agencies that award LEED status. As such, the position can be quite challenging and requires specific knowledge that takes years of experience and study to develop. While it may be difficult, there is clearly a future for LEED sustainability specialists, and those that start preparing today may have a bright future tomorrow.

Typical Work Schedule

LEED sustainability specialists typically work full-time schedules during normal business hours. Overtime and weekend work may be required on occasion to meet deadlines.

Projected Job Growth

LEED-certified buildings receive tax breaks that can increase profits of the businesses that earn the status, which is expected to increase demand for adept LEED sustainability specialists in the coming decade.

Typical Employers

For the most part, LEED sustainability specialists work for architectural or engineering consulting companies, or construction companies. Some are self-employed and take clients on a freelance basis.

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How To Become a LEED Sustainability Specialist

Few people identify being a LEED sustainability specialist as their career of choice before attending college, but the rapid gains in green buildings and the importance the job affords have convinced many to tailor their studies to qualify for this career. In general, most LEED sustainability specialists will have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Environmental Science, Architecture, Mathematics, or another science-related field.

While education is extremely important for a LEED sustainability specialist, the truth is that many people transition to this role after working with an employer in another capacity. Because a LEED sustainability specialist must be intimately knowledgeable with many different aspects of a company’s building and environmental practices, promoting from within is common. However, it is possible to become more suited to the position by obtaining LEED certification.

The LEED certification process starts with qualification as a Green Associate and then progressing to the level of LEED Associated Professional, which is divided into a number of classifications depending on the type of construction. With a LEED AP certification and experience working on environmentally-friendly building project, you’ll have the knowledge and skills ready to take on the challenges of a LEED sustainability specialist position.

LEED Sustainability Specialist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do LEED Sustainability Specialist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, LEED Sustainability Specialist's can make an average annual salary of $73,480, or $35 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $50,670 or $24 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #174 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among LEED Sustainability Specialists

  • 4%   Doctorate
  • 17.3%   Masters
  • 39%   Bachelors
  • 9.8%   Associates
  • 18.1%   College
  • 10.1%   High School
  • 1.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does LEED Sustainability Specialist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 48,000 jobs for a total of 1,046,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 4.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #444 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most LEED Sustainability Specialists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 172,900 -16,600 -17%
Management of companies and enterprises 62,200 3,100 3%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 55,500 900 1%

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