How Much Does a PDU Course Cost?

The Project Management Institute (PMI)’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification requires continuous education efforts, designated as Professional Development Units (PDUs), to remain active. Within PMI’s PDU system, there are many options to earn approved PDU credit to maintain credentialing. However, not just any class or training will merit PDU credits. Manage your time and financial budget by understanding the true PDU cost of courses and how it supports your professional development.

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What is a PDU?

To understand the PDU cost, it is important to know about PMI’s role within PDUs and what a PDU is. PMI created the measurement for project management-related continuing education efforts: Professional Development Unit (PDU).

Professional Development Units (PDU) are “one-hour blocks of time that you spend learning, teaching others, or volunteering.”

Simply stated, one hour spent learning, training others or volunteering equals one PDU.  This applies to all PMI certification programs. It is important to understand the PMI certification PDU requirements so that you do not have a lapse in your standing (or have to reapply for a certification!).

How how do I maintain my certification?

Once you have attained your PMP certification, you must obtain a certain number of PDUs in PMI-determined categories to maintain the certification. For the most current PMI PDU requirements, go to As of January 2022, PMI enforces a 3-year cycle of 60 PMI-approved PDUs to maintain a PMP credential in good standing. It should be noted that there are PDU requirements for all PMI-issued credentials, and this guidance (with the exception of the numbers) can be applied to them all.

The PMI Talent Triangle and PDU

The PMI Talent Triangle® lays out three categories for project management education and training to guide PDU efforts: (1) Ways of Working, (2) Power Skills, and (3) Business Acumen. PDUs (including “PMP courses”) must align to the PMI Talent Triangle.

Continuing Certification Renewal System (CCRS) and PDU

Each PMP PDU claim has a corresponding record in the PMI’s Continuing Certification Renewal System (CCRS). With the same username and password from your PMI account registration, you can access the CCRS to submit PDU claims. It is through the CCRS that each PDU claim has a record, where PMP credential holders can get a PDU report, and where the review process of each PDU claim is documented. If you take a course from an Authorized Training Partner (like PMA), the CCRS will automatically approve your PDUs and they will be applied correctly within the talent triangle domains across ALL your certifications! You must use the CCRS to track your PDU efforts and PDU status.

What is a PDU course?

There is no single “PDU course” or class about PDU courses. What is meant by the phrase “PDU course” is a structured educational experience (or training or course) that could be eligible for PDU submission for PMP credential maintenance.  A PDU course can get you PDU credit for your PMP certification (or one of the other PMI credentials).

What are the types of PDU courses?

It can be a bit overwhelming to see the many options of “PDU courses” when you look online – even more so when you see the cost! The price of a PDU course does not automatically guarantee quality. PMI will approve PDU claims from different PDU courses with variations in the delivery platform (online vs onsite), delivery format (live vs on demand), price, duration, and topic. Examples of PDU courses include:

The content alignment to the PMI Talent Triangle can determine if training or a course is a potential “PDU course” that is, eligible for PDU credit.

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How should I choose a PDU course?

To focus on high-quality and PMI-approved content, narrow your PDU course search to options from a PMI ATP (Authorized Training Provider). In this way, you know PMI has vetted the training provider. Here are factors for selecting the PDU course that best meets your professional needs and training budget.

  • Select PMI ATP for PDU course options
    • Project Management Academy
  • Decide what platform you want
  • Decide the type of training you need for PDU
  • Refine your PDU course search by topic to fit your professional growth stage
    • For example: Project Management, Business Analysis, Agile, Leadership and Influencing, Business Process Management
  • Refine your PDU course search by price considering company reimbursement options
    • subscription options
    • individual vs group costs
    • onsite options including any needed travel

Keep in mind that with PMI’s 3-year cycle for the 60 PDUs needed to maintain PMP credentials, different PDU courses will meet your needs at different times. Additionally, the content itself may be easier to learn in one format than another (online vs onsite, live vs on demand). Apply your agile thinking to determine how to obtain the PDU eligible training you need for the price you can pay.

How much does a PDU course cost?

There is not a set price for PDU courses for PDU credits. You can fit your training budget requirements by exploring PDU course options such as:

  • Balancing online course cost vs traveling to training location cost
  • Organizing a team to get group discount for PDU courses
  • Maximizing budget by focusing on courses that fulfill credentialing cycle (PMI Talent Triangle) gaps
  • Leveraging company training reimbursement
  • Including training costs within contracts
  • Subscribe for ongoing access to PDU courses and training for reduced per PDU price

How can I manage PDU course costs?

The three-year renewal cycle for earning PDU credits seems like plenty of time; however, many Project Managers put off earning those 60 PDUs until the very last minute.  This creates a last-minute scramble to find PDU courses that meet PMI fit requirements.

How to manage the time and cost of earning PDU credits: PDU courses annual subscription

Getting an annual subscription from a PMI ATP, like Project Management Academy, is a great way to balance time and price for earning PDUs. You save time by not needing to sift through poor quality materials or things that would not be eligible for PDU credit, and you save money by not having multiple registration fees. 

What is the cost of a free PDU?

Just as you would vet your project resources, carefully select your PDU courses and training providers. It should come as no surprise that a “free PDU” does not always mean there is not a PDU cost. Understand more about the challenges and pitfalls of trying to only use “free” PDU options in the article: The True Cost of Free PDUs.

A best practice is to seek out instructor-led courses so you can benefit from the expertise offered by an experienced and professionally credentialed instructor. They can help ensure you stay up to date with the current industry trends and even help prepare you for additional professional certifications to build your resume of PM-related skills (i.e., Six Sigma, Agile, Business Analysis, etc.). Small investments in high-quality, verified instructor-led courses can accelerate your PDU learning processes and overall professional growth.


You can manage the PDU cost of your professional development training when you utilize an ATP resource, focus your PDU work on fulfilling your PMI Talent Triangle gaps first, leverage subscription models and team discounts, and finally, use a combination of PDU course types (live, online, on-site, and on-demand). Use the PMI CCRS dashboard to track your PDU progress and PDU-driven credential status.

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Megan Bell
Megan Bell
Project Manager & Writer at Project Management Academy
Megan Bell