After years of working in the project management field and finally achieving your Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential, you now have to maintain it by earning Professional Development Units (PDU). This is something that PMI® put in place to ensure that you are a practicing PMP® and have continued to fine-tune your project management skills.
As of 2008, each Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) cycle is three years in duration, starting with the date you passed your PMP® certification exam and ending on the same date three years later. During that CCR cycle, you are responsible to accrue 60 PDUs in order to continue to state your claim as a PMP®.
So how do you get 60 PDUs? It’s not as hard as it seems. Each step in this article refers to a PMI® category.
Category 1 – Formal education
This refers to a credited course at a college or university. Generally speaking, for a typical 15-week course, you will receive 15 PDUs. The course must be related to project or program management in some way. So if you’re a scientist, you may have to reach out and take a business course. You must submit your transcript or grade report and they have to be approved by PMI®.
Category 2 – Professional activities
You have lots of options here. You can publish an article (10-30 PDUs) or a text (20-40 PDUs), speak at an engagement (5-10 PDUs), develop courseware (10 PDUs), or self-directed activities like mentoring, watching videos or reading manuals (15 PDU maximum). One thing you don’t want to miss is working as a project manager for at least 1500 hours in a 12-month period (5 PDUs).
Category 3 – PMI® Registered Education Providers
REPs are PMI® partners who have preapproved courses. So once you take a course from a REP, you don’t have to submit it for approval. The number of PDUs depends on the course but typically, you get one PDU per hour. So a two-day, 12-hour course will grant you 12 PDUs. All you have to do is be able to prove you attended, which is easy since the REP issues you a completion certificate with a PMI® code on it.
Category 4 – Other providers
This is a catch-all category that allows you to submit programs you attended that were not held by a college/university or REP. Of course, if you take one of these courses, you never know how many, if any at all, PDUs PMI® will grant you.
Category 5 – Volunteer service to professional or community organizations
There are so many choices here. If you’re still running low on PDU opportunities, you can do some volunteer work. Your best bet is to contact your local PMI® chapter since they almost always have volunteer activities available. You can earn up to 2 PDUs for any particular year as long as you participated for at least three months for that time.
A few extra PDU tips
- Log in to pmi.org to submit your PDUs.
- Register your PDUs as you earn them. Do not wait until renewal time to start entering them to the PMI® because there is no way you’ll remember everything you did in the last three years.
- If you accrued more than 60 PDUs for your CCR, you can transfer up to 20 PDUs to your next three-year cycle.
- PMI® will charge a fee when you apply for certification renewal (as of August 2009, $60 for PMI members, $150 for non-members).