How to Become a Lighting Consultant

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Lighting consultants work with architects, builders, interior designers and other clients to advise the type of lighting that will work best in a space and complement the furnishings. Residential consultants often earn a consulting fee plus a percentage of the cost of light fixtures, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2008, specialized designers such as lighting consultants had a median annual wage of $45,470 per year. Some states require that consultants have an interior design or other license to work legally as a consultant.

Receive an associate or bachelor's degree from a program at a college accredited by the National Association of Schools or Art and Design or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Receive your Lighting Associate certificate from the American Lighting Association. This certification is for entry-level lighting designers. You must be a member of the association to qualify for the online certification course. The cost for all 10 courses required for associates is $299 at the time of publication. While the association does not require this certificate, obtaining it will help you decide if you want to continue your course work to become a consultant.

Attend the Residential Lighting Training course four-day seminar or self-study course to receive your Lighting Specialist certification. Members of ALA can purchase the manual for $299 as of 2011. You must pass the final exam with at least an 80 percent to receive your lighting specialist certification.

Complete the educational hours required by the certification board. The number of hours you must complete depends on the number of years of experience you have in the lighting industry. Certification candidates with fewer than five years in the field must complete 40 hours of courses within three years. Those with 10 or more years of experience do not have to take any classes.

Apply for your certified lighting consultant certification. At the time of publication, the cost for applying for certification is $190. You must send in this fee with your application.

Take the blueprint exam within six months of receiving it from the association. After processing your application, the association will send you the blueprint exam. After you return it, the association will assign three graders to your exam. At least two of the graders must grade the exam with an 80 percent or better for you to receive your certified license consultant certification.

Tips & Warnings

  • It will take up to two months for you to get the results from your blueprint exam.
  • Certification, while not necessarily required, can enhance your consulting business's credibility.
  • You must take eight credit hours every two years to maintain your certification.

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