Easiest Ways to Earn PDU Credits in Project Management

Earning Professional Development Units (PDUs) to maintain your Project Management Institute (PMI) certification can be challenging for busy project managers. Here are some of the easiest ways to earn PDU credits in Project Management, which will fulfill PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements.

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PDU Project Management Categories and Requirements

PMI offers two categories of PM PDUs: Education Units and Giving Back to the Profession Units.

  • Education PDUs are required for PMI certification renewal. These PDUs focus on learning or honing relevant project management skills and knowledge.
  • Giving Back PDUs are voluntary. PMI encourages credential holders to contribute to the project management industry and community. However, since Education PDUs are better suited for sharpening project management skills, PMI also limits the number of Giving Back PDUs that can be applied to each certification cycle.

Continuing Certification Requirements

PMI established Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) to help credential holders earn and report PMI PDUs. Here are two CCR resources you should use:

  • CCR Handbook: this convenient guide outlines the exact requirements you must fulfill to renew your PMI certification. Depending on which certification you hold, you need to earn 60, 30, or 15 PDUs during your three-year CCR cycle.
  • CCR System (CCRS): the online CCRS is where you will submit your PDU claims and track your progress towards meeting your certification’s renewal requirements.

Use these resources to understand, earn, and report PDUs for PMI certification maintenance.

The PMI Talent Triangle®

As explained in the CCR Handbook, you need to earn a minimum number of Education PDUs to maintain your PMI certification successfully. These Education PDUs must also align with the PMI Talent Triangle®, which defines three skill areas for the ideal project manager.

Project Management PDU Categories on the PMI Talent Triangle®
The PMI Talent Triangle®

Aligning your Education PDUs with the PMI Talent Triangle helps ensure you remain a well-rounded, skillful project manager with relevant skills in a continually changing industry. Learn more about the PDU project management requirements for your certification below:

Project Management PDU Requirements for PMI Certification Renewal
PDU Requirements for PMI Certification Renewal

For example, PMI PBA PDU requirements are to earn 60 PDUs in three years. Out of these 60 PDUs, a minimum of 35 PDUs must fall under Education, and a maximum of 35 PDUs can fall under Giving Back. Your Education PDUs must include at least 8 per PMI Talent Triangle area, with the remaining 11 in any area of the triangle.

Easy Ways to Earn PM PDUs

Whether you are looking to earn Education PDUs or Giving Back PDUs, plenty of easy free or paid options can get you closer to renewing your certification successfully.

Easy ways to earn Education PDUs

  1. Attend a chapter meeting. Your local PMI chapter may hold regular meetings or special events, typically at least an hour long. Remember to keep documentation of your attendance at the meeting in case of an audit.
  2. Take a course. While courses can be a time commitment, courses from PMI Approved Training Partners (ATPs) can make your life easier because they are pre-approved by PMI. You can be sure PMI will accept your PDU claim, decrease your chance of an audit, and easily track PDUs in various categories to ensure you meet all requirements.
  3. Read a PM book, online article, or magazine. Self-directed studying counts toward Education PDUs. These are “easy” because you are likely already consuming relevant project management content, but they can be harder to document and prove.
  4. Watch a webinar. PMI members can access thousands of free, on-demand webinars to earn relevant PDU credits on your schedule. Learn more about earning PMI PDUs from webinars.

Easy ways to earn Giving Back PDUs

  1. Claim for mentoring. You can earn a maximum of 25 PDUs for helping to educate others on relevant project management topics.
  2. Claim your work. You can earn a maximum of 8 PDU hours per three-year renewal cycle just for working as a project management professional. Ensure you document well and have a supervisor or project team member who can back up your PDU claim.
  3. Give a presentation or host a Lunch & Learn. You can log PDUs for giving a presentation as well as the time it took you to prepare the presentation. Sharing your knowledge with others through presentations and Lunch & Learns is a great, easy way to earn PDUs.
  4. Contribute to a Wiki. Presentations aren’t the only way you can share your knowledge. Reach a wider audience and contribute to the profession by updating or editing Wiki, blog, and other articles or resources about project management topics.

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How to Claim Your PM PDUs

Submit your PDU claim to PMI through CCRS. This process is the same no matter what type of PDU hours you claim.

  • Log into the CCRS
  • Select “Report PDUs”
  • Choose the appropriate PDU category
  • Fill in the required information
    • If you took a course through an ATP, this information might be auto-filled
    • If you can’t find PDU information from the dropdown menu, add it manually
  • Check the box to agree the PDU claim is accurate
  • Submit your PDU claim

PMI will typically review and approve PDU claims within a few days. Check the status of your PDU claims through the CCRS dashboard.

Summary

“Easy” PDUs may be easy to come by, but that doesn’t mean they represent best practices for experienced project managers. Use credible resources such as PMI, ProjectManagement.com, or training courses from ATPs such as Project Management Academy to earn high-quality, relevant PDUs.

Earning PDUs can be an excellent opportunity to learn and hone professional skills, such as Agile development or risk management. Depending on the course content, it could even help you earn CDUs for IIBA certifications such as the CBAP. Learn more about PDUs in our blog or view our PDU course catalog.

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