What You Need To Know About Professional Development Units (PDU) Category Structure

Published: 17th June 2015
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If you are reading this article, chances are you are a Project Management Professional (PMP) and then you know what PDU stands for. If not, Professional Development Units (PDU) are like credits that every PMP needs to earn in order to keep their certification.

Let's go back a bit: A high school diploma is earned once, and lasts for a lifetime, but your PMP certification has to be renewed every 3-year cycle. In other words, your PMP cycle starts on the day that you pass the PMP exam, and expires on that same date after 3 years. To remain a PMP credential holder, you must participate in PMI's "Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS)" program. The PMP credential requires you to obtain 60 PMI PDUs during each 3-year cycle. All learning activities are credited on the basis of one hour of learning activity being credited as one PDU.

In essence, the Project Management Institute (PMI) wants you as a Project Management Professional (PMP) to continuously learn new skills, just like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants airline pilots to train regularly and practice their skills in order to keep their license.

PDU Categories and Major Divisions:

The Project Management Institute (PMI) divides PDUs into two major divisions:

- Education

and

- Giving Back to the Profession

This new categorization makes it much easier for candidates to understand, and therefore to plan their learning activities. Each division has 3 categories that we are going to cover:

Education

This division has unlimited PDUs. You can claim all your 60 PDUs from these categories.

Category A: These are courses (online or classroom or webinars) offered by any Registered Education Provider (REP). These courses have already been reviewed by the PMI and stored in their Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS) database, so all you need is to enter the PMI Activity Number of the course (and demonstrate that you finished that course if you get audited). The REP program includes a wide range of online training providers, colleges, universities, government agencies, corporations and private commercial training firms. You can find REP program members today in more than 70 countries.

Category B: These are also Continuing Education, online or classroom courses covering any trainings that you undertake at a college, university, company trainings, or with any other training provider that is not a REP. It could also be for good quality online courses created by a REP but not yet reviewed by the PMI (so no PMI Activity Number). In any case, you should just keep proof of attendance or the certificate of completion in case you are audited.

Category C: Self-directed Learning includes readings, webinars, being mentored, podcasts, and so on. You can only claim a maximum of 30 PDUs in this category and you should keep a proof that you did go through that learning experience.

Giving Back to The Profession

This division has a maximum of 45 PDUs. Any PDUs earned in the following 3 categories counts towards this cap.

Category D: Creating New Project Management Knowledge. This ranges from writing an article, authoring a book or giving a presentation at your PMI Chapter, on topics related to Project Management.

Category E: Volunteer Service. This can be volunteer service (non-profit) for any project management organization. They have to be non-profit in order to count, so volunteering for your company isn't going to count because that could be counted as part of your regular job.

Category F: Working as a Professional in Project Management. This is the only one of the categories where the "1 Hour equals 1 PDU" rule doesn't apply. This is essentially an amount that PMI credits you for working as a professional project manager in your organization. As long as you work a minimum of 6 months within the 12 month period you can claim the PDUs relevant to your credential.


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