Certifiably Skilled: A Guide to Lighting Certifications

By Craig DiLouie | Feb 15, 2017




As demand for LED lighting and controls increases, the lighting world is becoming more complex, which raises demand for expertise to produce good lighting solutions. Unlike other professions, lighting designers do not require state licensure. To encourage and promote expertise, the lighting industry has developed a series of certifications that demonstrate proficiency while providing confidence. In this month’s column, I review the major lighting certifications.

Lighting Certified (LC): The LC designation is managed by the National Council for the Qualification of the Lighting Professions (NCQLP) and demonstrates proficiency in lighting design and application. Candidates must either hold a bachelor’s degree plus at least three years of lighting-related experience or have at least six years of lighting-related experience and pass a four-hour, 180-question exam. The U.S. General Services Administration requires all federal building lighting design projects to be performed or supervised by an LC designer. For more, visit

Certified Lighting Designer (CLD): In 2015, the International Association of Lighting Designers launched the CLD, an evidence-based certification in architectural lighting design. The process assesses an individual’s proficiency in serving as a lead architectural lighting designer. Candidates must have at least three years of experience as a lead lighting designer. No test is required; candidates are evaluated based on written responses to application questions along with exhibits that support the responses. For more, visit

Certified Lighting Management Consultant (CLMC): The International Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) maintains the CLMC, the oldest lighting certification. It demonstrates proficiency in the operation and maintenance of lighting systems. NALMCO also maintains the Certified Sustainable Lighting Consultant, which demonstrates proficiency in lighting energy management, and the tiered Certified Senior Lighting Technician and Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician designations, which demonstrate proficiency in professional lighting-management services at the job site. CLMC candidates must pass an exam and have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of experience as a lighting management professional. For more, visit

Certified Lighting Controls Professional (CLCP): In October, NALMCO launched the CLCP designation, which demonstrates proficiency in the fundamentals of lighting-control system design, application and commissioning. Candidates must pass a two-hour, 100-question online test based on the Lighting Controls Association’s Education Express curriculum (available free to the industry). 

Certified Lighting Efficiency Professional (CLEP): The Association of Energy Engineers’ (AEE) CLEP designation demonstrates proficiency in delivering energy-efficient nonresidential lighting systems. Candidates must have one of several recognized degrees and three to eight years of work experience in lighting efficiency or 10 years of work experience. The candidate must complete a CLEP training seminar and pass a four-hour, open-book exam. For more, visit

Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program: In 2010, a consortium of organizations launched the California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (CALCTP) to train the state’s electrical workers on how to install, test, commission and maintain nonresidential lighting controls. State-certified general electricians are eligible and must complete several prerequisite online courses at the Lighting Controls Association’s Education Express program, 10 hours of classroom lecture and 40 hours of laboratory installations. After passing a final exam, they can become certified.

In 2012, the California program expanded to train and certify Acceptance Test Technicians (CALCTP-AT), required by the state in projects complying with the latest iteration of its energy code. Since 2014, building projects must employ an Acceptance Test Technician to certify all lighting controls are properly installed and functional prior to issuance of an occupancy permit. For more, visit

The core training model has been adopted in other states, giving rise to the National Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (NALCTP), which shares the goal of increasing adoption and efficacy of advanced lighting controls. Illinois, Michigan and Washington adopted NALCTP in 2013; Ohio in 2014 (reportedly, though it is not on their website at this time); and British Columbia in 2016. For more, visit

Residential market: In the residential lighting market, certifications include Certified Lighting Consultant and Lighting Specialist designations, both offered by the American Lighting Association. More information is available at

These certifications denote a high degree of knowledge in their respective areas and can lead to business opportunities. The education that drives certification can also generally result in better quality projects.

By combining generalized knowledge with product training, electrical professionals can become more competitive in the increasingly complex field of lighting and control.

About The Author

DiLouie, L.C. is a journalist and educator specializing in the lighting industry. Learn more at and

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