CDU vs PDU: Similarities and Differences in Continuing Education
After earning any professional certification, you will most likely have to maintain the certification by pursuing professional development or continuing development activities. It is common for professional associations to offer their own brand of units to track and measure these activities. Two examples of these units are PDUs and CDUs.
Learn more about the difference when we compare PDU vs CDU, which certifications require each, and more in this Project Management Academy article.
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PMI Certifications Require PDUs
The Project Management Institute (PMI) describes itself as “the leading professional association for project management, and the authority for a growing global community of millions of project professionals.” If you hold a PMI certification, you must earn Professional Development Units (PDUs) to maintain your certification.
What is a PDU?
A PDU measures time spent on professional development activities such as learning, teaching others, or volunteering. One hour spent on these activities equals one PDU. You can earn PDUs in two categories: Education and Giving Back to the Profession. Education PDUs can be further broken down according to the PMI Talent Triangle.
PDU Requirements for PMI certifications
Your Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) cycle through PMI lasts three years. During those three years, you must report 60, 30, or 15 PDUs, depending on which PMI certification you hold. In addition, you must earn a minimum number of Education PDUs to demonstrate proficiency in each area of the PMI Talent Triangle.
If you need 60 PDUs in your three-year CCR cycle, you also need 35 Education PDUs:
- 8 PDU hours per PMI Talen Triangle area
- 11 PDU hours in an area of the PMI Talent Triangle
If you need 30 PDUs in your three-year CCR cycle, you also need 18 Education PDUs:
- 4 PDU hours per PMI Talent Triangle area
- 6 PDU hours in any area of the PMI Talent Triangle
If you need 15 PDUs in your three-year CCR cycle, you also need 9 Education PDUs:
- 2 PDU hours per PMI Talent Triangle area
- 3 PDU hours in any area of the PMI Talent Triangle
List of PMI Certifications
|Certification||Certification Cycle||Total PDUs Required||Education Minimum PDUs||Giving Back Maximum PDUs|
IIBA Certifications Require CDUs
The International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) is a professional association for business analysts. If you hold an IIBA certification, you must earn Continuing Development Units (CDUs) to maintain your certification.
What is a CDU?
Like PDUs, a CDU measures time spent on planned, structured, approved learning and professional activities. One hour spent on these activities equals one CDU. Qualifying activities include professional development, professional experience, professional activities, volunteer service, self-directed learning, and formal academic continuing education.
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CDU Requirements for IIBA certifications
Your certification renewal cycle through IIBA lasts either one or three years, depending on which certification you hold. During the three-year cycle, you must earn 60 CDUs, while the one-year cycle requires 20 CDUs for IIBA certification renewal.
The CDUs you earn should be dispersed across the six approved CDU Activity Categories as outlined in the IIBA Certification Renewal Handbook:
|Category||CDU Activity Categories||Maximum CDU Values per 3 Year Cycle|
|2||Work History (Professional Experience)||25|
|6||Formal Academic Education||30|
The IIBA offers three Core Business Analysis certifications and four Specialized Business Analysis certifications. However, only some of these designations require you to earn Continuing Development Units for recertification. Learn more about these requirements in the list of IIBA certifications below.
List of IIBA Certifications
|IIBA Credential||Credential Type||Recertification Required?||Term||CDUs Required||Transferrable CDUs||Grace Period to Recertify|
|CCBA®||Professional Certification||Yes||3 years||60||*20||1 year|
|CBAP®||Professional Certification||Yes||3 years||60||*20||1 year|
|IIBA®-AAC||Professional Certification||Yes||1 year||20||5||4 months|
|IIBA®-CBDA||Professional Certification||Yes||1 year||20||5||4 months|
CDU vs PDU
How are PDUs and CDUs similar?
- One hour equals one development unit
- Earned in minimum increments of 0.25 units
- Earned through training, education, or other professional activities that help you develop and hone skills and knowledge related to the certification
- Certification cycles last either one or three years, depending on the certification
- Boost your skills and career
How are PDUs and CDUs different?
- PDUs focus on project management skills and knowledge
- CDUs focus on business analysis skills and knowledge
- PDU categories include Education and Giving Back, with Education PDUs further broken down into Talent Triangle areas
- CDU categories are broken down by activity types
Can CDUs be converted to PDUs?
Since business analysis skills can be useful in project management careers and vice versa, CDUs can often be converted to PDUs. However, this conversion may not be an exact one-to-one ratio.
For example, suppose you were taking a project management course that counted for 10 PDU hours, but only 2 of those hours were focused on business analysis content. Only the time spent directly on business analysis content will count as CDUs.
Who Wins? PDU vs CDU
IIBA certifications and PMI certifications can complement each other well. However, the IIBA path focuses more on a business analyst’s perspective on an organization. Your continuing education and professional development activities may count for either PDUs or CDUs – or both! – depending on the activity content.
In some organizations, a separate business analyst role may not exist. Project managers may benefit from learning critical business analysis concepts to be more well-rounded and able to carry out the functions of a business analyst. Likewise, a trained or certified business analyst would be well-served in their careers by getting a project management certification.
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