How to Calculate PDUs

How to Calculate PDUs

For Project Management Institute (PMI) certification, Project Managers must know what a Professional Development Unit (PDU) is, how to calculate a PDU, and how to manage the process for submitting PDUs to meet requirements. Each PMI certification requires a specific number of PDU credits per renewal cycle, but how you calculate PDU credits is the same for all.

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What is a PDU?

PMI’s Professional Development Unit (PDU) measures project management-related continuing education efforts. PMI manages certification maintenance programs using the categories of education, working as a practitioner, and volunteer efforts. Failure to submit valid PDU claims or to meet the number of PDU claims required can lead to the suspension or eventual loss of certification status.

How many hours is 1 PDU?

Converting project management professional development time into PDU credit may be the easiest of all PMI formulas. Calculating PDU time is done as 1 Hour (60 minutes) = 1 PDU.

How to calculate PDU Credits

Calculating PDUs is not about the mathematical conversion of time to training units but instead addresses two concepts:

  1. the requirements of what qualifies as PDU activities being fulfilled, and
  2. the distribution of PDU types as required by a PMI certification.

For a detailed description of what counts for education PDUs, students should review the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Handbook.

Education PDUs

You can earn Education PDUs when you complete training and broaden your professional skillsets. For any training, you should find out if the provider is a PMI Authorized Training Partner and how the topic fulfills PDU requirements. The Education PDU category is defined through PMI’s Talent Triangle® to ensure a balance of project management skills.

PDUs for PMI Talent Triangle®

The PMI Talent Triangle® is comprised of three branches of project management development: (1) Ways of Working, (2) Power Skills, and (3) Business Acumen.

The PMI Talent Triangle
The PMI Talent Triangle

For example, Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam application PDU requirements state the student must provide proof of 35 PDU credits aligned to the PMI Talent Triangle. Once a PMP certification holder, the project manager submits at least 60 PDU credits distributed across the three categories within a renewal cycle to maintain credential status.

PMI Talent Triangle: Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen PDUs

PMI updated the Talent Triangle recently to reflect more current terminology. Previously, the categories were Technical Project Management, Leadership, and Strategic and Business Management. However, the names of the categories were changed to Ways of Working (Technical Project Management), Power Skills (Leadership), and Business Acumen (Strategic and Business Management). Ultimately, it’s most critical to remember PMI uses 1 hour = 1 PDU.

PMI Talent Triangle: Ways of Working (Technical Project Management)

The Ways of Working category encompasses domain expertise and certification-specific training with topics such as:

  • agile practices
  • data gathering and modeling
  • risk management
  • time, budget, and cost estimation

PMI Talent Triangle: Power Skills

PMI defines Power Skills as the “competency in guiding and motivation,” including these topics:

  • mentoring
  • emotional intelligence
  • negotiation
  • problem-solving

PMI Talent Triangle: Business Acumen

The Talent Triangle category of Business Acumen is described as the “business-oriented skills” with the topics of:

  • industry knowledge and standards
  • legal and regulatory compliance
  • operational functions
  • strategic planning, analysis, alignment

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Giving Back PDUs

PMI encourages engagement in the profession through the Giving Back PDU, “…a unique opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills while growing both personally and professionally.” PMI accepts Giving Back PDU submissions for:

PMI certification requirements can be achieved by combining Giving Back and Education PDUs.

Required PDUs per PMI certification

Access the PMI Certification Requirement handbook for the number of PDU credits needed for each PMI certification. 

PMI Certification Cycle and Required PDUs


Using the PMP credential as an example, the 3-year renewal cycle has 60 PDU hours with a minimum of 35 Education PDU.

• PMI Talent Triangle PDU: 24
• Additional Education PDU: 11
• Maximum Giving Back PDU: 25


The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification has a 15 PDU 3-year renewal cycle for:

  • PMI Talent Triangle PDU: 9
  • Minimum Education PDU: 0
  • Maximum Giving Back PDU: 6


As an example, the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification has a 30 PDU requirement for a 3-year renewal cycle:

  • PMI Talent Triangle PDU: 12
  • Additional Education PDU: 6
  • Maximum Giving Back PDU: 12

Reporting your PDU efforts

For working as a practitioner, volunteer efforts, or PMI Talent Triangle® eligible training hours, the PDU claim process is the same. What differs is the information needed for each claim type when reporting in PMI’s Continuing Certification Renewal System (CCRS).

With the CCRS, PMI certification holders can get a PDU claim status report and see the status of each submitted PMP PDU claim. If approved by PMI, your PDU credit will be applied to your account as part of the credential maintenance process. As a note, if you obtain education PDU hours from a PMI Authorized Training Partner, those PDU hours will be automatically approved by PMI. Check out How to Claim PDUs for Your PMI Certification PMA Blog Post for more information.


Project Managers should know the PMI formula to calculate time for PDU credit, the PDU requirements of their certifications, and how to report PDU efforts to prevent a professional designation lapse. Keep these essential points in mind:

Use Project Management Academy resources and training as part of your efforts to earn PDU credit for PMI certification applications, maintenance, and renewals.

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