Continuing Education in Project Management

It is common for professional fields to encourage or require continuing education. In project management, continuing education is crucial for maintaining the professional certifications you earn through the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Use this Project Management Academy guide to make it easier to pursue continuing education in project management and maintain your hard-earned PMI certification.

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What is Continuing Education in Project Management?

After you earn a PMI certification, you are required to meet continuing education standards to maintain your project management accreditation on a three-year cycle.

Why is Continuing Education Required?

PMI certificate holders are globally recognized as some of the most competent project management professionals in the field. Continuing education in project management is required for certification renewal at PMI to uphold this global standard and ensure your expertise remains relevant and competitive.

Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program

PMI has designed a Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program to provide precise guidelines for maintaining your active certification status. Participating in this program as required during your three-year certification cycle can help you grow and develop competitive and desirable industry skills.

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PMI Continuing Education PDU Credits

Many education and training providers award Continuing Education Units, or CEUs, to individuals who successfully complete a non-credit continuing education program. However, the project management industry uses a different measure of participation called Professional Development Units (PDUs).

How to Define a Professional Development Unit

PMI established the PDU as a project management-specific metric for professional development. One PDU equals one hour spent learning, teaching, volunteering, or participating in other qualifying activities.

In comparison, one CEU equals ten qualifying hours of participation in a continuing education experience. If you are trying to convert between units, one CEU equals ten PDUs, although it isn’t guaranteed that courses offering PDUs will count for CEUs and vice versa.

Important PDU Continuing Education Changes Over Time

The last significant update related to PMI’s CCR program was in 2015. At that time, PMI introduced the PMI Talent Triangle® for all PMI certifications. The PMI Talent Triangle represents the ideal skill set for a certified project manager: a combination of technical, strategic and business management, and leadership skills, all with a digital overlay.

Agile project management topics were introduced on the PMP Exam in January 2020. While there have been no official changes related to agile project management and maintaining the PMP credential, this is a new area to be explored as part of the PMI CCR program.

Earn PDU Continuing Education Credits to Maintain Your PMI Certification

PMI requires its certificate holders to earn a certain number of PDUs over the three-year certification cycle. In addition, you need to satisfy certain requirements specific to the two types of PDUs available: Education and Giving Back to the Profession. Learn more in our resource on PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements.

If you need additional information about maintaining your PMI certification, download their CCR Handbook. This resource provides further details regarding their program, how to earn PDUs, and how to record PDU continuing education credits in the CCR System (CCRS).

CCR Process in Project Management

The CCR Handbook outlines a five-step process for the CCR program:

  1. Earn a PMI certification. Your 3-year CCR cycle begins the day you pass your exam.
  2. Participate in professional development activities. This step is required to earn PDUs.
  3. Record and report PDUs. Use PMI’s CCRS to submit your PDU claims online.
  4. Fulfill CCR requirements. Each PMI certification has specific PDU requirements to meet.
  5. Complete your application. PMI will instruct you in renewing and paying the fee.

Once the renewal is complete and your three-year CCR cycle ends, your next cycle will begin. Continue maintaining your certification to remain an active credential holder with PMI.


Continuing education in project management is your opportunity to stay on top of new developments in the ever-changing project management industry. You can hone or develop your skills, network, contribute to your professional development and the project management profession, and more.

Ready to earn PDUs and maintain your PMI certification? Project Management Academy has all the resources you need, from on-demand training online to in-person classroom courses. We even offer Club PDU, an annual subscription providing a continuously-updated catalog of approved PDU courses to easily help you meet PMI requirements.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO