IALD Credentialing Task Force Update

IALD convened a Credentialing Task Force to assess core competencies and prospective domains of practice and qualifications for an international architectural lighting design certification. In August 2012, the Credentialing Task Force provided the IALD Board of Directors with its most comprehensive report to date on the development of a certification program to assess competency in architectural lighting design. Notably, this report included two key recommendations strongly urging the IALD Board of Directors to:
  1. Establish a global certification program to assess architectural lighting design competency.
  2. Establish an independently governed Commission to oversee the certification program.
Click the links below to learn more about the Actions to Date of the Task Force:
The initial task of the Credentialing Task Force was to assess the feasibility of creating a global certification for architectural lighting design. During the past two years of extensive research and intensive discussion, it has become clear that there is a critical need for this type of certification. Currently, there are no instruments that assess the unique abilities of architectural lighting designers, nor is it clear what attributes and skills properly define the profession of architectural lighting design. Without an officially codified definition, there is a real risk that those outside the profession and others in the legislative or public spheres will seek to define the profession rather than allow the profession to define itself. It is the strong belief of the Task Force that it should be practitioners who define the architectural lighting design profession.

"The task force studying the viability of a global credential has observed that if the architectural lighting design community doesn't define the areas in which we practice and measure competency against a validated standard, there is the very real danger that others will force regulations on us or determine our destiny without our control," says David Becker, Assoc. IALD and Credentialing Task Force Chair. "The alternative is that we make a proactive, unified effort as a global profession to define ourselves by determining the domains of practice and core competencies in which highly sophisticated lighting designers must excel in order to be eligible for certification."

Key benefits of creating this certification program include:
  • Defining the architectural lighting design profession by identifying core competencies and domains of practice.
  • Establishing a validated method for assessing the competency of architectural lighting designers.
  • Raising the visibility and standing of the architectural lighting design profession before end users and legislators.
  • Influencing the standardization of educational curricula.
  • Establishing best practices in architectural lighting design.
Based on a detailed job analysis, the task force established a group of core competencies in which a professional lighting designer must excel in order to be eligible for certification. These core competencies comprise the seven proposed domains of architectural lighting design practice. These are:

The design of lighting solutions that satisfy the project requirements and the design intent so the solution performs as predicted.

The interaction with other disciplines by serving as an integral member of the team so that lighting relates to its context and adds value to the project.

The contribution of ideas that demonstrate innovation, creativity, originality, imagination, or resourcefulness to foster the goals of the project.

The integration of the technical and aesthetic elements of lighting with space and form to shape and enhance

The demonstration of how light interacts with people, materials, and building systems by applying the principles of light to meet the relevant technical criteria.

The response to known and potential social and environmental impact by designing solutions that avoid or minimize harm, discomfort, and waste.

The design of lighting solutions that positively affect people.

Independent of country of residence, the 637 building/design industry practitioners responding to the IALD Certification Survey indicate these seven domains of professional practice accurately reflect the practice of architectural lighting design (average rating 4.1 out of 5) and are important to the profession (average rating 4.66).

Geographic spread of respondents was diverse, with design/build practitioners from more than 36 countries answering the survey. A majority of respondents had 12 or more years of experience. When asked about their primary role, 67% chose architectural lighting designer from a list of 27 roles. The next most frequently cited roles were engineer (8.6%), manufacturer (5.8%), live events (4.4%), educator (4.1%) and architect (3%). Among the architectural lighting designers responding to the survey, 63.4% were male and 34.8% were female.

The Credentialing Task Force determined early in its discussions that best method to assess architectural lighting design competency would be through a performance-based or ""evidence-based"" process rather than through a multiple choice exam, or ""knowledge-based"" process. Evidence-based processes provide a more thorough way of assessing competence at a high level. An evidence-based assessment via portfolio review will be used to determine a candidate's competency in the seven domains of practice for architectural lighting designers.

The proposed certification will be overseen by an independently governed international Commission with participation by members of lighting design and allied organizations worldwide. The exact makeup of the governing body and a process for selecting participants are currently under development.

The certification is intended for seasoned practitioners rather than entry-level designers. Only senior architectural lighting designers with a certain amount of experience will be eligible to apply. The proposed eligibility requirements for the certification will be unveiled at IALD Enlighten Americas 2012 in Vancouver, Canada during the Certification Update on Thursday, 11 October 2012. Details regarding eligibility requirements will be shared shortly thereafter with the IALD membership, the broader lighting community and other interested stakeholders.

For more information on these efforts, please contact the IALD by emailing credentialing@iald.org or calling +1 312 527 3677.


IALD’s Find a Lighting Designer feature includes four search options:

  • Country and Project Type can be searched using the drop-down menus.
  • To search by City, simply type in the city you are interested in. The results will first list lighting designers located in that city. The search will then list any designer that has referenced that city in their profile or project list.
  • To search by keyword, type in any word or phrase of interest (example: designer’s name, company name, project name, zip code). The search will yield any profiles that include the keyword you’ve used, or will yield no results if your keyword is not found exactly as entered.

You can use one field or a combination of fields to locate the desired lighting designer. If you are having trouble with the search, or need further assistance, please contact IALD at iald@iald.org or by calling +1 312 527 3677.