Earn PDUs as a Project Management Practitioner

Earning a Project Management Institute (PMI) certification is a professional achievement. To keep that hard-earned PMI credential, you must know PMI’s Professional Development Unit (PDU) requirements, including how many PDU credits are needed, how to earn PDU credit, and how to report each PDU claim. For most professionals, the “Work as a Practitioner” PDU is one of the easiest PDUs to earn for PMI, especially if you have any project management responsibilities in your role.

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Professional Development Unit (PDU)

PMI’s measurement for project management-related continuing education is the Professional Development Unit (PDU), defined as “one-hour blocks of time that you spend learning, teaching others, or volunteering.”

To enhance the global profession of project management, different categories of PDUs are accepted. And while it does take effort to earn the necessary PDUs to keep each of your PMI certifications active, because of the variety of ways to earn a PDU, you have flexibility within the process.

Access the PMI Certification Requirement handbook for PDU certification specifics, including any limit for PDU categories.

PMI PDU Categories

PMI has defined two PDU categories: Education and Giving Back. To keep your PMI certificate active, you must report Education PDU claims and Giving Back PDU claims via the PMI’s Report PDU portal. The Work as a Practitioner PDU type falls within the Giving Back PDU category.

PMI requires credential holders to maintain their status through Education PDUs or with a combination of Education and Giving Back PDU credits. There is no limit to how many Education PDUs you can earn within a cycle. However, there are minimums for PDU types within each certification’s renewal cycle. For example, PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification requires a minimum of 60 PDU hours every three years – which can be earned as only Education PDU credits or a distribution of Education PDU and Giving Back PDU credits (with a minimum of 35 hours coming from the Education category).

Giving Back PDU Category

PMI defines the “Giving Back” PDU category as: “a unique opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and skills while growing personally and professionally.” There may be a limit to PDU claim types within a PMI certification, so constantly monitor your progress within renewal cycles. Giving Back includes volunteering and Working as a Practitioner.

Work as a Practitioner PDUs are Optional for PMI Recertification
PDU Categories: Education and Giving Back

Earning PDUs Through Your Work

Have you searched the internet for help with “PMP PDU Work as a Practitioner,” expecting to find a restrictive listing of what job title or task type qualifies? Good news! As with any PMI credential, a PMP PDU Work as a Practitioner claim means you get professional development credit for the work you already do for your job.

The number of PDUs for working as a practitioner will vary, but how to earn them is the same. There is no specialty “PMP Work as a Practitioner PDU” because PMI records these PDUs the same way for all certifications. If you want to know “How many PDUs for Work as a Practitioner do I need?” go to the PMI Certification Requirement handbook.

Earning “Work as a Practitioner” PDUs

Regardless of your job title, be it Project Manager, Project Coordinator, Program Manager, Project Associate, or some other, your ongoing work as a practitioner can earn you Giving Back PDU credits for your PMI credential.

Be sure to have your formal job description or other documentation to support your practitioner claim if the PMI conducts an audit.

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How Many Work as a Practitioner PDU Credits Can I Earn

PMI administers multiple certifications, including the PMP, each with PDU requirements. After completing the PMI application process and passing a certification exam, you must report PDU claims to PMI for approval in specific categories each renewal cycle to keep your credential active. For this reason, there is not a single answer to “How many PDUs do I need to maintain my PMI certification.”.

Find out the PDU requirements for your certifications before you start your professional development efforts for a renewal cycle. You do not want to be in the final days of a 3-year cycle only to find out you are missing hours from a PDU category!

PDU Requirements for PMI Certification: PMP, PgMP, PfMP, and PMI-PBA

Using the PMP as an example, the 3-year total must be 60 PDU hours with a minimum of 35 Education PDU and an optional maximum of 25 Giving Back PDU (including the 8 Work as a Practitioner PDU limit).

60 PMP PDU Required for Talent Triangle
Required PDUs to Renew Your PMI Certification: PMP, PgMP, PfMP, and PMI-PBA

PDU Requirements for PMI Certification: PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP

As an example, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® credential has a 30 PDU requirement for a 3-year renewal cycle distributed as a minimum of 18 Education PDU with a maximum of 12 Giving Back PDU (of which you can claim 4 Working as a Practitioner PDU).

30 PDU Required for Talent Triangle
Required PDUs to Renew Your PMI Certification: PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, and PMI-SP

PDU requirements for PMI certification: CAPM

In contrast to the PMP and PMI-ACP, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) has a 15 PDU 3-year renewal cycle requirement distributed as a minimum of 9 Education PDU with a maximum of 6 Giving Back PDU (within which you can claim 2 Working as a Practitioner PDU).

15 PDUs Required to Renew CAPM Certification
Required PDUs to Renew Your PMI Certification: CAPM

How to Calculate PDUs Working as a Practitioner

No complicated formula is needed to calculate PDU credit! PMI assigns a PDU value for all efforts including learning, training others, volunteering, and your work as a practitioner. Each PDU claim represents hour increments with limits determined based on the PMI credential being maintained (for example, you can record a maximum of 8 PDU hours when maintaining a PMP certification).

How to Report PDU Work as a Practitioner

For all your PMI certifications you will report your PDU claims in the same way. Always have documentation to verify the effort occurred as you submitted it because PMI may randomly select your claims for an audit.

Benefits of earning Work as a Practitioner PDUs

The work you do as part of your job matters. With each project, program, and/or project-related effort, you gain professional experience and grow your expertise. Being able to also use that time as part of your PMI certification maintenance is a benefit on top of the inherent project professional development.


The Work as a Practitioner PDU claim is an easy way to continue your professional development while also maintaining your PMI certification. Keep these key points in mind:

  • PMI certifications have specific PDU requirements within multi-year renewal cycles.
  • To keep your certification active, you must know PMI’s PDU requirements for your certification including reporting PDUs, the type and amount of PDUs you need, and the diverse ways to earn PDUs.
  • There is no limit to how many PDU credits you can earn in a renewal cycle but there is a maximum for Giving Back PDUs that differs based on the PMI credential being maintained.
  • Have an accurate job description in support of your Work as a Practitioner PDU claim

Know the PMI certificate PDU requirements to ensure you enjoy the benefits of an active professional designation.

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