After putting all the work in to earn your project management certification from PMI, you’ll want to ensure you maintain it. Professional Development Units, or PDUs, are central to maintaining active certification status.
What are Professional Development Units (PDUs)?
PDUs are a measurement unit utilized by PMI to ensure credentialed professionals continue to maintain and expand on their knowledge and contribute to the enhancement of the project management profession. Each professional development activity in which you participate counts as a single PDU.
How Many are Required?
The number of PDUs required for maintaining PMI PMP certification varies. For the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, for example, 60 total PDUs must be completed during each Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) cycle.
What’s the Schedule for PDUs?
The CCR cycle begins as soon as you’ve earned your certification and is different for each PMI certification. The PMP certification, for example, has a 3-year CCR cycle, at the end of which re-certification processes and fee payments are required to maintain your active credential status.
How do You Earn PDUs?
PMI recently made adjustments to its PDU categories, but there are still a multitude of methods for earning PDUs. All PDUs must fall within the knowledge areas as outlined PMI’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which can be found on the PMI website.
Work as a Project Manager – Work credit PDUs can be earned through: (1) time served on project management teams, and (2) time in a leadership position.
Volunteer Hours – There are five methods of earning PDUs in the Volunteer Hours category, including: (1) Be elected and serve as an officer in a volunteer organization, (2) be appointed to and serve as a committee member in a volunteer organization, (3) serve as a volunteer with PMI, (4) give project management-related instruction, guidance or services to a charity or community group, and (5) serve as a coach or mentor.
Continuing Education – PDUs can be earned through continuing education in two ways: (1) courses with colleges or universities, and (2) seminars, workshops, courses and other programs offered by training providers not registered with PMI.
Creating New Knowledge in the Project Management Field – Any activity that adds knowledge and reputation enhancement within the project management field can count toward PDUs. Activities in this category include, but are not limited to: (1) authoring or co-authoring articles, textbooks, official blogs, newsletters and other publications; (2) presenting seminars, webinars, podcasts and other formal speaking engagements; and (3) moderating or serving as a panel member for discussion groups.
Self-Directed Learning – PDUs earned through self-directed learning must be well documented and meet specific criteria. Learning can take place in several ways, including: (1) keeping up to date with printed, video, interactive and other media sources related to project management, (2) participating in informal discussion groups, and (3) receiving mentoring or coaching from a qualified individual.
PMI Events and REP Courses – PDUs can be earned by completing courses or attending events, including those: (1) held with PMI chapters, (2) offered by PMI communities of practice, and (3) offered by PMI’s Registered Education Providers (REPs).
Documenting Your PDUs
Each credential professional is responsible for recording and reporting their own PDUs, and the ability to sufficiently document your activities and learning in the project management realm over the course of your CCR is crucial to maintaining active credential status with PMI. The easiest way to record and track PDUs, including progress in accumulating credits, is to use PMI’s online CCR System. Tracking credits in this manner also makes it easier to submit PDUs for review when credential renewal time arrives.
How do You Submit PDUs?
PDUs can be submitted electronically or manually: (1) by using the online CCR System, OR with printed forms (2) by email, (3) by standard postal mail, and (4) by fax. Whether you use the electronic or printed method for reporting, you should record and submit each PDU immediately following the completion of the professional development activity through which it was earned.