PMI Certification Renewal and PDUs

Ongoing professional development is essential for maintaining your Project Management Institute (PMI) certification. You should set aside some time at least once per quarter to earn PDU credits you can apply towards certification renewal.

Learn all about PMI certification renewal and PDUs from your Project Management Academy experts.

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What is a PMI PDU?

PMI developed the Professional Development Unit (PDU) to establish a standard for measuring ongoing professional development within the project management field. Any individual certified by PMI must earn and report a specific number of PDUs over a certification cycle to maintain active certification status.

You can earn PDUs by gaining or honing your project management knowledge, teaching others, volunteering, and more.

Continuing Certification Requirements

The PDU requirements to maintain your specific certification are called Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). Your CCR cycle is either three years or, for Disciplined Agile certifications, one year. PMI’s CCR Handbook provides guidelines for completing your Continuing Certification Requirements. The total number of PMI PDUs you must earn during your certification cycle depends on your certification type. For example, PMP credential holders must earn 60 total PDUs in 3 years, while CAPM credential holders only need to earn 15 total PDUs in 3 years. For your Education PDUs, you also need to plan your development to the PMI Talent Triangle®.

CertificationCertification CycleTotal PDUs RequiredEducation Minimum PDUsGiving Back Maximum PDUs
PMP3 Years603525
PgMP3 Years603525
PfMP3 Years603525
PMI-PBA3 Years603525
PMI-ACP3 Years301812
PMI-RMP3 Years301812
PMI-SP3 Years301812
CAPM3 Years1596
PDU Requirements for PMI Certification Renewal

PMI PDU Categories

There are two PMI PDU categories for certification maintenance: Education PDUs and Giving Back to the Profession PDUs. Giving Back PDUs are optional, but PMI has specific PDU category requirements you must fulfill within the Education category.

Education PDUs

Education PDUs present an opportunity for you to grow professionally. To demonstrate that you are continually striving to be a well-rounded PMI credential holder, you need to earn a minimum number of Education PDUs that align with each area of the PMI Talent Triangle®.

Areas of the The PMI Talent Triangle
The PMI Talent Triangle: Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen

The PMI Talent Triangle areas are Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen. You can earn Education PDUs that align with the PMI Talent Triangle in many ways, including:

  • Formal online or in-person courses
  • Online webinars
  • Reading books
  • Podcasts
  • And much more!

A helpful strategy is to use your Education PDUs to gain new skills or certifications rather than treating them as a chore. For example, becoming a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt can count towards your Education PDUs. It may be better to achieve this through instructor-led, skill-building courses rather than on-demand courses requiring learning in isolation.

Courses taught by a certified instructor or PMI Authorized Training Provider (ATP), such as Project Management Academy, can help you sharpen the weapons in your toolkit. You can even consider learning in a group setting with your organization’s project teams by targeting on-site training sessions.

These official training courses have the added advantage of coming with a specific number of PDUs pre-approved and verified by PMI. This makes it easier to report your PMI PDUs and ensure they get approved. Otherwise, you may have to sit down and calculate exactly how much time you spent on project management-related topics in each area of the PMI Talent Triangle for any course you take. Make sure you earn the correct number of Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen PDUs for your PMI certification. For example, PMP credential holders must earn at least 8 PDUs in each category. Other certifications have different requirements. They are in the table that follows.

Certification and Education Minimum PDUsWays of Working PDUs RequiredPower Skills PDUs RequiredBusiness Acumen PDUs RequiredRemaining PDUs In Any Area of Talent Triangle
PMP → 3588811
PgMP → 3588811
PfMP → 3588811
PMI-PBA → 3588811
PMI-ACP → 184446
PMI-RMP → 184446
PMI-SP → 184446
CAPM → 92223
Education PDUs – Minimum Talent Triangle Requirements

Giving Back PDUs

Even though Giving Back PDUs are optional, you can use them to supplement your PMI certification renewal. If you do so, try to approach it with a similar mindset to your Education PDUs. Earning Giving Back PDUs can be a rewarding experience when treated as a growth opportunity while furthering the profession.

Here are some examples of ways to earn Giving Back PDUs:

  • Lead project management-related training
  • Host webinars online
  • Volunteer with professional organizations
  • Author project management-related content
  • Work as a practitioner

Remember, there is a maximum number of Giving Back PDUs you can apply towards your certification renewal. Ensure you track how much time you engage in Giving Back-related activities and keep documentation to make it easier to report them with evidence.

Passive Ways to Earn PDUs

As a busy working professional, earning PDUs to maintain your certification can sometimes be challenging. Incorporating passive ways to earn PDUs can make it easier to meet PMI’s certification renewal requirements. For example:

  • Attendance at employer-run seminars on project management-focused topics can be reported as PDUs
  • Working your regular job in the project management field can count for a maximum of 8 PDUs per renewal cycle
  • If you work in a field that allows you to author project management-related content, such as blogs, podcasts, or courses, the time spent developing that content can count as Giving Back PDUs (where each hour of work counts for equivalent PDU hours)

In these cases, just be sure to retain documentation in case you are audited. Acceptable documentation can include seminar meeting agendas or a time tracking sheet.

Reporting PDUs to PMI

As you earn PDUs, submit your PDU claims using the PMI CCR System (CCRS). Here are six simple steps for submitting your PDU claims online through the CCRS:

  1. Log in to the online CCRS
  2. Select “Report PDUs” on the left side of the page
  3. Click the appropriate PDU category.
  4. Fill in the required information. If you are reporting PDUs from an ATP, you can select their information from the dropdown menu. Otherwise, add this information manually.
  5. Check the box agreeing that the PDU claim is accurate.
  6. Submit your PDU claim and check your CCRS dashboard to view your pending and approved PDUs. PMI may take a few days to review and approve your reported PDUs.

If you earn more than the required number of total PDUs, you may be able to apply up to 20 PDUs to your next CCR cycle. As long as you have already earned enough PDUs to fulfill your current certification cycle’s requirements, PDUs earned during the last year of your cycle can carry over to your next cycle.


There are many free, self-directed, and instructor-led options for earning PDUs to renew your PMI certification. However, earning PDUs from a PMI ATP is ideal because you know these are automatically approved PDU courses. Signing up for an ATP course also holds you accountable for following through and completing your professional development activities. Get started maintaining your certification with our recommended PDU categories or sign up for a Project Management Academy live classroom training today.

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