6 Environmental And Sustainable Designations And Certifications For Green Jobs


It’s one thing to say you’re a “green” professional, but if you want to be able to prove it, you’re probably going to need to obtain a green designation or certification.

Green designations exist for many different disciplines and professions, ranging from technical to financial to creative.

Depending on the designation and its certification process, you may need to write exams, pay application and membership fees, and acquire at least a few years of work experience.

However, many of these green certifications and designations have student-friendly options, which means you show employers that you’re passionate about growing a green career early on!

Here are six environmental, sustainable and just plain green designations and certifications, and their specializations, which span a variety of industries:

Environmental Professional in Training (EPt)

The Environmental Professional in Training (EPt) option offered by ECO Canada is a stepping stone toward the EP designation, and an ideal starting point for new grads who are just beginning their green careers in the areas of environmental protection, resource management, environmental sustainability, environmental management, environmental auditing and/or greenhouse gas reporting.

To be eligible to apply to become an EPt, you simply need to have an interest in pursuing an environmental career, and a degree or diploma from a recognized post-secondary institution. You may apply for EPt in your final year of study, although certification will not be finalized until you’ve officially graduated. There is a one-time application fee of $125 and an annual maintenance fee of $100.

Environmental Professional (EP)

Once you have been an EPt for five years, you should upgrade to the Environmental Professional (EP) designation. There is a one-time application fee of $250 and an annual maintenance fee of $200. EPs must renew their certification every five years.

Within the EP designation, there are also many unique specialization areas, which cost an additional $100:

Environmental Auditors

  • Compliance Environmental Auditing: EP(CEA)
  • Environmental Management Systems Lead Auditor: EP(EMSLA), with further fields of specialization in Environmental Management Systems and Sustainable Forestry Management

Greenhouse Gas Reporting professionals: EP(GHG)

  • Quantification – Inventory Quantification or Project Quantification
  • Verification – Quantification Expert, Auditing Expert or Team Lead

Professional Meteorologists: P. Met

  • Operational Meteorology
  • Research Meteorology
  • Applied Meteorology


Certified Sustainability Professional (CSP)

Certified Sustainability Professionals make businesses more sustainable. The Canadian Professional Sustainability Institute offers the CSP designation to its members who demonstrate competency and understanding in the sustainability field through an online exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions.

The exam tests for competency in the installation and application of sustainability in organizations, and you must achieve an overall score of 65% in order to pass the exam.

Students can become members of the Canadian Professional Sustainability Institute for $55 per year, and take the CSP credential examination for an additional $55. Professional members pay $135 annually and $115 for the exam.

Sustainable Investment Professional Certification (SIPC)

In a few years, the “responsible investment” market is expected to reach between 15 to 20% of total global assets – in other words, many trillions of dollars. Sustainable Investment Professionals in the finance, investment and corporate worlds help people and organizations not only make money from their investments but also create positive environmental and social impacts through them.

The SIPC program, offered through the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, is an online self-study program divided into six modules – Sustainability Overview, Governance, Ethics, Social Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability and Sustainable Investing – consisting of online lectures, reading, training sessions and case study assignments.

To apply, you must have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, at least one year of work experience, and an interest in learning about and implementing sustainability programs. The total cost of the program is $1650.

LEED Professional Credentials

You probably already know about LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – as it relates to buildings. LEED is a suite of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods. Well, who do you think designs, constructions and operates those green buildings? Increasingly, it is LEED-accredited professionals.

According to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), “LEED credentials distinguish professionals across many disciplines by representing fundamental knowledge of green building and a commitment to sustainability. They serve as a mark of qualification, education and influence, and assure employers, industry peers, policymakers and other stakeholders of an individual’s exceptional competencies.”

There are three tiers of LEED Professional Credentials:

  • LEED Green Associate – the least technical of LEED credentials
  • LEED Accredited Professional (AP) – signifies an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices and reflects the ability to specialize in a particular LEED Rating System:
    • Building Design and Construction
    • Building Operations and Maintenance
    • Interior Design and Construction
    • Homes
    • Neighbourhood Development
  • LEED Fellow – a highly accomplished class of individuals nominated by their peers and distinguished by the caliber of their contributions to advancing the field of green building

Fees and requirements vary depending on tier and specialty, but professionals applying for accreditation within the first two tiers are typically required to pay application and exam fees, as well as renewal fees every few years.

National Associate of Realtors’ Green Designation

NAR’s Green Designation is a real estate designation designed for agents looking to learn about issues of energy efficiency and sustainability in the various facets of real estate. This program provides training in green building and sustainable business practices to help realtors understand and effectively market properties with green features.

To earn the Green Designation, you must complete three courses and pass each exam with a score of 80% of higher, submit an application, and maintain memberships with the Green REsource Council and the National Association of Realtors.

Attend the Green Jobs Forum on Sept. 17, 2012 in TorontoIs your dream job a green job? Attend the Green Jobs Forum on Sept. 17, 2012 in Toronto – admission is free! Register now.


To learn more about getting a green job and hatching a career in the green economy, visit TalentEgg’s Green Jobs Career Guide.

With files from Leah Ruelicke
Photo credit: epSos on Flickr