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The Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) credential is the foundational step toward a career in sustainability.

The SEA credential covers core sustainability concepts to include demonstrated familiarity with the core issues, trends, concepts and frameworks of sustainability. It’s designed for those interested in sustainability concepts and seeking to better understand sustainability strategies and initiatives that they support in their organization, including:

  • Students, recent graduates or early career professionals
  • Aspiring and active sustainability professionals 
  • Professionals seeking to implement and support sustainability initiatives in organizations and roles of all industries, including mid-career professionals who might not directly support sustainability as part of their job such as staff across a wide range of roles like HR, purchasing, finance, operations, etc.

Move your career in sustainability forward

  • Learn the foundational concepts and strategies needed to pursue sustainability in an organization or business
  • Provide credibility for employers of your established skillset through a third-party verification
  • Demonstrate competency to lead sustainability initiatives at organizations and communities of any kind with prospective employers and your professional network
  • Gain access to a growing community of credential holders
  • Advance career opportunities by standing out in a quickly-expanding and competitive field 

Get started

Register for the Sustainability Excellence Associate exam

First, read the SEA Candidate Handbook. Then, create or log into a GBCI site account and visit your credentials page to register for the exam.

The SEA exam includes 75 multiple choice questions focused on Core Sustainability Concepts. The exam can be taken online from home or in a testing center.

Study and prepare

Study materials are available from the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. It is recommended to take a month to prepare using these resources.

  • SEA Study Guide: Walk through the Core Sustainability Concepts tested by the SEA exam, broken down into 10 chapters that highlight a set of Key Concepts.
  • SEA Flash Cards: Covering more than 300 sustainability terms and their definitions.
  • SEA Exam Practice Questions: This contains 42 questions that probe your understanding of core sustainability concepts, the first Domain of knowledge in the exam’s Job Task Analysis.

Share your accomplishment

After passing the SEA exam, you’ll earn a professional credential to share with your professional network and prospective employers, demonstrating that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to lead sustainability initiatives in organizations and communities.

Continue learning and maintain your credential

The SEA credential is valid for two years and requires ongoing professional development. Learn more in the CMP Guide.

USGBC and ISSP offer online education to increase your knowledge of core sustainability concepts and strategies and support credential maintenance. View available online courses.


The SEA cost includes a one-time exam fee and a renewal fee every two years. Discounts are available for USGBC and ISSP members and students.

SEA fees USGBC and ISSP members and students Non-members
SEA exam $175 $350
Renewal fee every 2 years USGBC and ISSP members Non-members
SEA renewal $75 $150

View the SEA candidate handbook for additional information on the credentialing process, rescheduling, cancellation, and refund policies.