I have been conducting PMP training for about 15 years. During training workshops, I get all kind of project management-related questions, but one of the most frequently asked questions is about PMP certification maintenance.
PMP certification is valid for three years, meaning that, after attaining the certification, you can call yourself a PMP-certified professional only for three years.
After the three-year time period, the certification becomes void unless you do certain things to renew it for another three years. By doing things specified by PMI, you collect points that can be used to renew your certification.
Specifically, these points are called PDUs (Professional Development Units) and a certification holder needs 60 PDUs in a three-year cycle for the certification renewal.
I have written this article to describe what kind of things you can do to earn PMP PDUs and maintain your certification beyond three years.
You will find this article useful if you are a PMP certificate holder or an aspirant. Other PMI credential holders or aspirants can also read this article since the PMI certification maintenance process is same.
PMP Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR)
The CCR program or Continuing Certification Requirements for the PMP certification is designed in line with PMI’s triangle and is designed to equip project managers with the continuous development and changes experienced in the world of Project Management . According to the (CCR) Handbook, the CCR program is designed to ensure :
- Certificate holders remain up to date with the latest developments in project management
- Provide direction in development areas to ensure relevancy of certified practitioners
- Encourage and recognize individualized learning opportunities
- Offer a mechanism for attaining and recording professional development activities
- Sustain the global recognition and value of PMI credentials
The process for renewing your PMP or any other PMI certificate is quite straightforward. See how they differ for each PMI Certification below :
All PMI certifications, including PMP, have three-year renewal cycles. PMP Certificate holders need 60 PDUs in three years to renew their certification. The PDU requirement for other certification holders is different, but the process of accruing PDUs is the same.
You can claim one PDU by doing one hour of a project management activity. These activities, among many other things, including learning new things, teaching others, contributing to the knowledgebase, and volunteering for PMI.
After collecting your PDUs, you should report them to PMI by using an online form. Once you have accumulated and reported 60 PDUs, you can apply for the certification renewal.
How Can You Earn PDUs for PMP?
You can collect PDUs under two broad categories:
- Educational PDUs can be earned by attending a webinar, classroom training, professional seminar, or even a self-directed learning module. Acquiring PDUs under this category is mandatory. You need to acquire a minimum of 35 Education PDUs in a three-year cycle.
- “Giving back to the profession” PDUs can be earned by doing certain things that help other professionals, such as mentoring, volunteering, training, writing, etc. These are optional, but you can earn up to a maximum of 25 PDUs in a three-year cycle in this way.
Let’s look at these categories in detail.
As per PMI’s mandate, you need to earn a minimum of 35 PDUs under the Education PDU category in a three-year cycle; however, there is no limit to the number of Education PDUs that you can earn. If you want, you can earn all sixty PDUs under this category.
PMI research shows that employers are always on the lookout for professionals who are learning new things. They want project managers with an equal balance of technical, leadership and strategic, and business management skills. PMI calls these three types of skills, Ways of working, Power Skills, and Business Acument, the “PMI Talent Triangle.” It is depicted in the figure below.
PMI requires a minimum of 8 PDUS in each of the 3 Talent categories and the remaining 11 in any area of the Talent Triangle.
To renew your certification, you need to acquire Education PDUs for the three types of skills that are defined in the Talent Triangle by collecting a minimum of eight PDUs for each of these areas of study.
There are many ways to earn Educational PDUs. Let’s look at some of them:
1. Attend a Course or Training
You can attend a formal instructor-led course or training to acquire new knowledge. These courses can be attended either online or in-person. You can claim one PDU for each instruction hour.
Here are a few examples of the kind of courses that you can attend:
- Instructor-led courses from PMI Seminars World.
- Training courses offered by PMI Authorized Training Partners.
- Academic education through programs accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC).
- Any other course from a training company or community like MPUG that is related to the skills described in the Talent Triangle.
2. Attend a Global or Local Project Management Event
You can attend meetings, seminars, and other events that bring together folks from within the project management community. These events can be arranged by PMI, PMI chapters, or any other organization. They can include educational sessions from keynote and featured speakers. MPUG webinars are a great way to accrue PDUs under this category (as well as others!)
3. Attend an Online Course
You can enroll in one of many Talent Triangle-related online courses that are offered by various companies and groups. Here are a few examples of such PDU-oriented courses. MPUG’s course listing can be found here.
4. Read up
Self-directed learning activities that help in acquiring new project management knowledge can be used to claim PDUs. You can read books or literature related to project management to accrue PDUs under this head.
5. Informal Learning
You can earn PDUs by engaging in structured professional discussions with others, for example mentoring or “lunch and learn” sessions. Consider participating in MPUG’s online group forums.
Giving Back to the Profession PDUs
Giving back to the profession is a great way, to not only earn PDUs but also to expand your knowledge and skills while growing both personally and professionally.
Although it is not mandatory to acquire PDUs under this category, you can avail this opportunity to contribute your bit to the profession. Earn up to 25 PDUs under this category if you like.
Some ways to earn PDUSs under this category are:
1. Work as a Practitioner
This is the easiest way of garnering PDUs. You can claim PDUs for your professional work wherein you apply your project management knowledge and skills in a practical setting.
2. Create Content
This is another easy way to accrue PDUs. You can share your project management knowledge by writing articles, holding webinars, or shooting videos. As a matter of fact, over the years, I have claimed a number of PDUs by contributing to the MPUG.com knowledgebase. Links are mine, but MPUG’s recent Call for Content posting provides a good starting place. Writer guidelines are here.
3. Give a Presentation
You can claim PDUs for formal project management-related presentations in your organization or speaking at a PMI chapter event or a conference.
4. Share Knowledge
You can claim PDUs by mentoring and teaching others. This way others can benefit from your knowledge and experience.
PMI is a non-profit organization. You can garner PDUs by doing voluntary work for PMI.
PMP is one of the most difficult certifications to pass. Many aspirants believe that since it is difficult to acquire, it must be difficult to maintain. However, that belief is far from the truth.
PMI issues the certificate for three years, and three years is a long time to accumulate 60 PDUs if you ask me. There are numerous ways to garner PDUs and get recertified. I’ve never found it difficult to acquire the required PDUs.
However, each individual is different. Which one do you think is the easiest method for accumulating PDUs? I would love to hear your thoughts below