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Maintaining Your PMP® Certification
By PMConnection

You studied for hours and stressed over the 4 hour 200 question exam. But you passed! You are now a certified Project Management Professional, CONGRATULATIONS!! You have proven you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of project management. So the question now is; how do you maintain your PMP® certification?

This white paper will answer that question as it provides an overview of PMI’s® Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR), explains how to pursue Professional Development Units (PDU’s), and provides guidance for logging this information with PMI®.

PMI’s® Criteria

To remain PMP® certified you must follow PMI’® Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). Put simply, you must earn 60 PDU’s over a three year time span, beginning January 1st the year after you take the exam (for instance, if you passed the exam on 9/13/05, you must earn 60 PDU’s between 1/1/06 and 12/31/08). PDU’s stand for “Professional Development Units”. Typically, one PDU is earned for every one hour spent in a planned, structured learning experience or activity.

Earning PDU’s

You can earn PDU’s in 5 different categories and a couple of these have sub-categories. These are explained in the following paragraphs, and organized in a neat table at the end.

  • Category 1 – Formal Academic EducationThis would include any courses offered for degree credit and is related to project management. One (1) hour of degree credit in a typical fifteen-week semester earns 15 PDUs.
  • Category 2 – Professional Activities and Self Directed LearningThis category is so large that it is broken down into sub-categories.
    • Published in a refereed journal – an example would be getting published in the Project Management Journal. This is worth 30 PDU’s per article.
    • Published in a non-refereed journal – an example would be getting published somewhere like Gantthead, or Tech Republic. This is worth 15 PDU’s per article.
    • Speaker at conference, workshop, or course. This is worth 10 PDU’s per event.
    • Speaker at PMI component meeting – Being a speaker at a PMI Chapter meeting would be an example. Worth 5 PDU’s per event.
    • Member of panel discussion at conference, workshop or course. Worth 5 PDU’s per event.
    • Author of textbook. Worth 40 PDU’s (co-author carries half credit).
    • Developer of content for seminar or structured learning program. Worth 10 PDU’s.
    • Practitioner of PM for 1,500 hours. If you are a project manager for at least 1500 hours in a year, you can earn 5 PDU’s per year. This means that most PMP’s can earn 15 PDU’s over the 3 year cycle just for doing their job (This is 25% of the total hours needed). Note 15 PDU’s is the maximum that can be earned in this subcategory over each cycle.
    • SDL – Self Directed Learning – Includes discussions, books, articles, etc. This is worth 1 PDU per hour invested, but is limited to a maximum of 15 PDU’s.

  • Category 3 – PMI® Registered Education ProvidersPDU’s can be earned in this category by attending PMI® R.E.P. events. R.E.P. stands for Registered Education Provider. Many organizations are REP’s and offer a wide variety of courses or seminars that qualify for PDU’s. A few examples are MPA, ESI, IIL. To review “the most comprehensive list of Project Management and Microsoft Project related events anywhere” visit PMConnections Event Calendar. These events typically qualify for 1 PDU per hour.
  • Category 4 – Other ProvidersPDU’s can also be earned by attending project management related courses offered by organizations that are not Registered Education Providers. To review “the most comprehensive list of Project Management and Microsoft Project related events anywhere” visit PMConnections Event Calendar. These also earn 1 PDU per hour. Be certain to obtain and archive your registration form, certificate or letter of attendance, and a brochure or course materials outlining the subject matter covered and the qualifications of the instructor/lecturer. These documents will work as proof for PMI® should you ever be audited.
  • Category 5 – Service to Professional or Community OrganizationsA maximum of 20 PDUs may be earned by volunteering your time to Professional or Community organizations. There are 3 subcategories here:
    • Serve as an officer for a project management organization – Examples would include PMI or MPA. This is worth 10 PDU’s per 1 year term.
    • Serve as a committee member for a project organization – Examples would include PMI or MPA. This is worth 5 PDU’s per 1 year term.
    • Provide PM services to a community or charitable group – Perhaps your favorite church or community organization relies upon you to plan and organize their events. This would qualify for 5 PDU’s per year.

Recording PDU’s Earned

It is possible to complete and log PDU’s with PMI® using a form and hard copied information. But the best way to log PDU’s is online. The Online Reporting Form requires you to log in and record details. The benefit to this is that it is quick, simple and pretty straight-forward. It is recommended to log PDU’s as soon as they are earned. This way you won’t forget all the details!

By recording your PDU’s online as you earn them there is another benefit. It is the Transcript View. This view is similar to a report card in that it summarizes all the activities you have registered and provides totals for each category as well as an overall PDU total. Once you hit 60 qualifying PDU’s PMI® will send you information about renewing your PMP®. (for a small fee of course!!)

One final recommendation is to create a file to keep hard copies of all your PDU records. This is for two reasons. One is just in case there is ever a discrepancy with your online transcript. The second reason is that PMI® occasionally audits claim forms.


Hopefully this article clarifies what is required to maintain your PMP® certification. Be certain to visit PMI’s® CCR website regularly for any changes or updates to the program.

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