GBCI to Develop a New Professional Credential for SITES

image: ASLA

image: ASLA

In a recent GBCI survey, 80 percent of respondents said that they planned on implementing SITES in their organization or practice, and 89 percent indicated interest in earning a professional credential, such as SITES-accredited professional.

Development of a new professional credential called the SITES Accredited Professional (SITES AP) is currently under way at GBCI.

The new SITES AP credential will not only establish a common framework to define the profession of sustainable land design and construction, it will also provide landscape professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and commitment to the profession, and will help scale and educate the market on SITES.

What is involved in the process of creating the SITES AP?

1.    Conception: GBCI will bring together leading experts in the fields of sustainable landscape design to form a Job Analysis Committee. This committee will include landscape architects, planners, consultants, horticulturalists and water, soil and human health specialists from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The committee will be responsible for creating content areas that lay the groundwork for building the SITES AP exam.

2.    Validation: GBCI will enlist the help of a wider group of subject matter experts, who will review the content areas and their relative importance through the SITES AP Job Analysis Survey. The survey will give experts in the sustainable landscape community an opportunity to contribute to the SITES AP credential. GBCI will then gather and analyze results to create an exam blueprint, which will outline weight distribution for exam questions by content area.

3.    Development: Once the blueprint is finalized, GBCI will enlist subject matter experts to write and review questions to appear on the SITES AP exam. With expert consensus, a well-rounded exam will be created and launched for the SITES AP credential. The exam will be finalized and placed into the testing platform for aspiring SITES AP candidates.

The SITES AP exam will be an important tool for all professionals practicing sustainable landscape design who are looking to grow their careers and impact the direction of land development and management.

  • If you would like to contribute as a subject matter expert and help write or review test questions that will shape the first generation of SITES APs, please fill out our call for volunteers survey to get involved.
  • We are also conducting an online job analysis survey to seek industry feedback on what a professional should know and do to perform competently as a SITES AP. Take the SITES AP Job Analysis Survey.

GBCI will begin offering testing for the SITES AP in October 2016. For more information about the Sustainable SITES Initiative, visit  For questions on the Sustainable SITES Initiative please contact Linette Straus, Professional Practice Manager at or directly at 202-216-2327.

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