PMP® Certification Renewal: Your Comprehensive Guide

Earning your Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is a significant achievement. This credential can help accelerate your career, increase your earning power, and demonstrate your qualifications to employers, clients, and peers. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has a 3-year cycle for their certification renewal process, which requires all certification holders, including PMP, to acquire and submit PDUs to maintain the certification. Learn more about PMP certification renewal in this Project Management Academy guide.

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Introduction to PMP Certification Renewal

While PMP certification renewal is a PMI requirement, it is also an excellent opportunity to help you maintain your competitive edge, network, and share your PMP expertise.

Retaking the PMP exam is not a requirement for PMP certification renewal. Instead, you have the opportunity to keep up with the changes and best practices in the industry by participating in professional development activities.

PMI believes in continuous improvement, especially for those who hold the globally respected PMP certification. As a result, you must go through the PMP certification renewal process every three years to remain a PMP credential holder in good standing with PMI.

The PMP Certification Renewal Process

The PMP certification renewal process is straightforward, but not easy. Let your experts at Project Management Academy guide you through these five steps to renewing your PMP certification.

Step 1: Earn 60 PDUs

PMI requires all its certification holders to meet established Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). PMP credential holders must earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) to meet renewal requirements within a three-year certification cycle.

Enter information about your professional development activities in the online CCR system to earn PDUs. You should submit these activities for approval as they happen to avoid giving yourself unnecessary work in the future. Learn more about PDUs and how to earn and submit them below.

Step 2: Submit Renewal Application

Once you have reached 60 PDUs, you can submit your renewal application. You can complete the application online or download it, fill it in, and re-upload it. You’ll need to provide your contact details, member ID, and payment information.

Step 3: Confirm Your Commitment to the Code of Ethics

As part of submitting your renewal application, you need to reconfirm your commitment to the PMI Code of Ethics. This Code states that honesty, responsibility, respect, and fairness drive ethical decision-making for PMP credential holders in the project management field.

Step 4: Pay the Renewal Fee

The renewal fee for your PMP certification is $60 for PMI members and $150 for non-members. This fee is paid online when you submit your renewal application. You can submit your application and payment early – your cycle dates will not change.

For example, if you earned your PMP certification on August 15, 2019, you must renew by August 15, 2022. If you submit your application and payment before that date, your new cycle will still begin on August 15, 2022, and your next PMP certification renewal date will be August 15, 2025.

Step 5: Receive Confirmation from PMI

After your application has been approved and your renewal fee has been processed, you will receive confirmation from PMI. This confirmation will provide the following information:

  • An email from PMI verifying that everything has been processed and approved
  • An updated digital PMP badge through Credly to access and leverage online
  • Information about your new PMP CCR cycle renewal dates

This renewal affirms that you remain in good standing with PMI and can continue to use the PMP title after your name and network as a PMP credential holder.

Professional Development Units

To qualify for PMP certification renewal, you need to meet specific professional development requirements established by PMI. Learn more about these requirements and how to track your progress during your certification cycle.

What is a Professional Development Unit?

Each hour you spend on a professional development activity equals one professional development unit (PDU). These activities can include learning, teaching others, and volunteering.

PMP credential holders must earn 60 unique PDUs over a three-year cycle to qualify for renewal. In other words, you need to spend a minimum of 60 hours on professional development every three years. You can earn PDUs in two categories: Education and Giving Back to the Profession.

Education PDUs and the PMI Talent Triangle

Education PDUs are mandatory. You need a minimum of 35 Education PDUs, which you can earn by honing your professional skills through seminars, webinars, or other similar learning activities.

PMP credential holders should aim for a balance of technical, leadership, and strategic & business management skills. These three skill areas form the PMI Talent Triangle®.

PMI Talent Triangle for PDU Categories
PMI Talent Triangle

The PMI Talent Triangle® falls under the “Education” category of PDUs. To qualify for certification renewal and maintain your competitive edge, you need to log at least 8 PDUs per skill area. Use your best judgment to classify and quantify your PDUs according to the PMI Talent Triangle®.

  • Technical: Learning or practicing the technical aspects of project management. What skills, behaviors, and knowledge do you need?
  • Leadership: Improving how you set goals, establish expectations, and motivate or direct a project team to accomplish an objective.
  • Strategic & Business Management: Gaining expertise within your industry or organization to better guide your team, enhance performance, and deliver business outcomes.

While you need a minimum of 35 Education PDUs per CCR cycle, you can also earn all 60 PDUs within this category. After earning a minimum of 8 Technical, 8 Leadership, and 8 Strategic & Business Management PDUs, your remaining Education PDUs can fall under any skill area.

Giving Back PDUs

Giving Back PDUs are optional. You can only apply a maximum of 25 Giving Back PDUs to each certification renewal cycle.

You can earn Giving Back PDUs by spending time teaching, volunteering, or doing other similar activities. These activities fall under two areas:

  • Working as a Professional: Practicing project management in your job. PMI values real-world experience and will allow you to apply a maximum of 8 PDUs in this area.
  • Volunteering & Creating Knowledge: Providing your expertise by creating educational content or volunteering your services. If you claim 8 Working as a Professional PDUs, the remaining 17 Giving Back PDUs can fall under this area.

PMI provides this optional Giving Back category because they recognize the importance of sharing your PMP expertise and applying your skills actively during your renewal cycle.

How to Acquire PDUs

Here are some ideas for acquiring PDUs for PMP certification renewal:

  • Find learning opportunities to count towards Education PDUs
    • Global events: PMI constantly updates its online Events Calendar with approved educational sessions and speakers that bring the global community together.
    • Local activities: attend local meetings and events to learn from and network with other professionals. Start by checking for PMI chapter events near you.
    • Informal learning: engage in unofficial but structured activities such as mentoring others or running “lunch and learn” meetings with others.
  • Grow personally and professionally through Giving Back PDUs
    • Perform project management work: apply your PMP certification in practical work-related settings.
    • Contribute new content: become a PMI Content Creator or find other online outlets to write articles and blogs, put together educational videos, and more.
    • Share your knowledge: give a presentation to your organization, speak at a conference or PMI chapter event, or mentor and teach others.

All these options make it easier for you to acquire PDUs in a way that makes sense for your schedule and preferences. Get creative: your three-year PMP certification renewal cycle will go by faster than you may expect!

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Submit Your PDUs to CCRS

As you earn PDUs during your three-year PMP certification renewal cycle, you should submit them through the Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS). Submitting PDU information through the CCRS is relatively intuitive. The online system guides you through the process:

  • Log into your CCRS dashboard, where you can review the status of all your submitted PDUs.
  • Click “Report PDUs” on your dashboard.
  • Select the PDU category from the dropdown menu.
  • Fill in the mandatory form fields to describe the professional development activity. This step enables PMI to review your activity and verify its validity.
  • Input the number and type of PDUs you are claiming for the activity.
  • Check the box next to the “I agree this claim is accurate” statement.
  • Hit the “Submit” button.

You will be taken to a new page summarizing your submission. PMI will send you two follow-up emails: first, a confirmation that your PDU claim is under review, and then a notification that your PDUs were either approved and added to your account or rejected.

PMP Certification Renewal: FAQs

Do I need to renew my PMP certification?

Yes, you need to renew your PMP certification. PMI requires all credentialed individuals to keep their skillsets up to date by completing CCR requirements, including PMP credential holders.

How much does it cost to renew your PMP certification?

PMP certificate renewal costs $60 for PMI members. The price of renewal is $150 for non-members.

How often do I need to renew my PMP Certification?

PMP credential holders must complete the certification renewal program every three years. This renewal cycle begins on the date you pass the PMP exam and continues indefinitely. You are required to earn at least 60 PDUs within this renewal cycle and are responsible for recording and submitting all PDU activities through the CCR system.

What happens if I don’t renew my PMP certification in time?

If you do not meet the minimum CCR requirements during your 3-year cycle, your certification will be suspended and eventually expire. Some exceptions may apply, such as military personnel called to active duty, illness-related leave of absence, or maternity leave.

You also have the option to cancel or “retire” your PMP certification if you wish to end your active PMP status voluntarily. You can apply for retired PMP status if you have been a certification holder in good standing for at least ten years. While in retired status, you do not have to earn or report PDUs, but you can remain a PMI member.

Is the process to renew for a suspended PMP Certification different?

No. Failing to meet renewal requirements within your 3-year CCR cycle places your PMP certification in suspended status for up to one year. Think of suspended status as a twelve-month grace period to earn the necessary PDUs and complete the renewal process as you usually would.

While in suspended status, you may not use the PMP certification designation. If you earn the necessary PDUs and complete the renewal process, your next CCR cycle dates will not change.

Is the process to renew for an expired PMP Certification different?

Yes. If your PMP certification gets suspended and you do not complete the renewal process within a year, your certification will expire fully. To reactivate your PMP certification from expired status, you must reapply for the PMP exam, submit all associated fees, and pass the PMP exam again.

What happens if I earn more than 60 PDUs?

Up to 20 PDUs earned in the last twelve months of your CCR cycle can be applied towards your next CCR cycle. Remember, it’s never wasteful to invest in your professional development, even if it doesn’t count towards certification renewal!

We hope this Project Management Academy guide to PMP certification renewal was helpful. If you have any additional questions or want to start earning PDUs, get in touch with us anytime!

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