The ABCs of Lighting Design Groups

Learn about trade organizations that monitor standards and certify professionals

Lighting design for a major renovation should be done by a lighting designer as early in the process as possible so that layers of lighting can be included in an integrated manner, creating the right amount of light with the most unobtrusive sources. Architects may choose to do lighting plans themselves as well.

Homeowners who are unfamiliar with the field of lighting design or who are looking for a professional lighting designer can contact trade organizations that monitor experience level and certifications. Here are some acronyms to look for:

IALD Professional and Associate Members. The International Association of Lighting Designers,, limits its membership to experienced designers whose work must be reviewed by peers. IALD members operate as independent professionals, meaning they do not purchase lighting products for a client, but focus solely on the design of the various lighting layers needed for a given space. They will evaluate a project, create specs, coordinate drawings, review the installation process, and do a final aiming and adjusting of lighting fixtures.

LC (Lighting Certified). The National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions,, is a nonprofit organization that administers certification exams to lighting professionals who have at least three years of experience. By passing the exam, the professional may use the title LC (Lighting Certified).

CLC (Certified Lighting Consultant). CLC is the highest designation offered by the American Lighting Association (ALA),, a trade group for the residential lighting industry. To sit for the CLC exam, a lighting professional must have a combination of professional experience and coursework, and must have previously passed the ALA's Lighting Specialist exam.

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