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The CLD certification is an evidence-based assessment of your proficiency in lighting design over seven domains of practice. Candidates are required to submit two types of evidence:

  • Written information. This includes responses to a set of questions as well as descriptions of projects.
  • Exhibits. This material supports your written responses to demonstrate your competency in each required domain.
Each completed application is evaluated by trained reviewers. The review process takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

5 Reasons to Earn Your CLD

  1. Achieve global recognition. CLD is the only internationally recognized evidence-based benchmark of performance.
  2. Increase visibility. Set yourself apart from your professional competitors.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency. Show your clients you have proven proficiency in developing, guiding, and completing lighting design projects.
  4. Invest in your career. Attract new business from clients who understand the value of the CLD.
  5. Earn the respect you deserve. Confirm your professional status in the eyes of peers, managers, design team colleagues, legislators, and the general public.

Why Develop the CLD

Practitioners should be the ones to define the architectural lighting profession. However, in the absence of an officially codified definition, a real risk existed that those outside the profession and others in the legislative or public spheres would seek to define it instead.

As a result, IALD initiated conversations with stakeholders from around the world within the lighting profession and industry to determine whether it would benefit the profession to create a certification that identified and assessed the unique abilities of architectural lighting designers. These conversations also involved stakeholders from related professions such as architecture and interior design.

Based on those discussions, IALD assembled an international Credentialing task force in 2010 to continue the conversation and determine the feasibility of a global certification. The Professional Lighting Designers' Association (PLDA) played an important role by providing representation on the taskforce. After extensive international research involving surveys, webinars, in-person interviews, and meetings, the task force decided that a pressing need existed for a globally recognized professional certification and set about developing one. 

The CLD Development Process

  • 2010 – Credentialing Task Force convened.
  • 2011-2012 – Job Task Analysis. In keeping with certification best practices, the task force conducted a careful job task analysis to clearly define the work of architectural lighting designers. Task force members worked with numerous stakeholders to explore professional core competencies and define seven areas of competency called domains of practice. These domains encompass all aspects of practicing lighting design, including meeting owner and occupant needs, achieving maximum energy efficiency, and collaborating with the project design team.
  • 2012 – Global Survey. To ensure the validity, reliability, and defensibility of its work, IALD conducted a global survey to determine how well the domains of practice identified through the job task analysis reflected what architectural lighting designers actually do.
  • 2013 – Alpha Study. The task force initiated an Alpha Study with a select group of IALD members to test the framework of the CLD certification and ensure that the application process was clear and workable. 2013 – Application Modification. The CLD certification application was modified based on feedback from the Alpha Study. 2013 – Beta Studies. Designed to confirm that the standards of the certification and the application process actually measure competence, Beta studies involved a group of lighting design professionals. As with the Alpha Study, participants were selected to ensure diversity in geographical location, gender, length of time in practice, and size of practice.
  • 2014 – Procedure Development/Administration. The application and review processes were finalized, and relevant procedures, forms and informational materials were developed. These include online registration and access to the application, the web site and the CLD Candidate Handbook.
  • 2015 – Candidates may officially begin applying for CLD certification.