Earn PDU Quickly for Your PMP Certification Renewal

How to Earn PDUs Quickly for Your PMP® Certification Renewal

For any busy Project Management Professional (PMP)®, it’s easy to forget that the PMP certification is more than just an exam. It’s a commitment to lifelong professional learning, which is why PMP credential holders need to show that they spend time furthering their education and tracking those hours using professional development units (PDUs) to keep their certification valid.

So, what can you do when you need to earn PDUs quickly? This article explores the best ways to earn PMP certification renewal PDUs quickly — and keep your PMP credential active.

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What are the PMP Certification Renewal PDU Requirements?

Once you become a PMP credential holder, you’ll need to earn PDUs to maintain your certification. Project Management Institute (PMI) divides PDUs into two major categories: education and giving back. Education PDUs can include courses, webinars, presentations, and similar events. Giving back involves volunteering and making professional contributions to the industry.

PMI requires PMP credential holders to collect at least 60 PDUs in each 3-year renewal cycle. Of those 60 PDUs, at least 35 must be education PDUs, while no more than 25 can be from giving back. If that seems like a lot, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to earn the needed units, from attending workshops to simply doing your regular job.

Total PDU Credits Required for PMP Certification Renewal
Total PDU Requirement for PMP Certification Renewal

Education PDUs: Club PDU Annual Subscription

One of the easiest ways to earn PDUs is to take an approved online course about one of the many project management best practices. Completing one of these courses can earn you anywhere from 1 to 40 (or more), and they’re an excellent way to meet your PDU requirements.

It’s possible to buy online PDU courses “a-la-carte,” but a far better value is to subscribe to a program that provides unlimited access to PDU courses. That way, you’ll always have the most current PDU courses available to you, and you’ll be able to complete your course at your own pace.

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Education PDUs: Project Management Webinars

If you’re not looking for a full-fledged project management course, another quick way to earn PMP certification renewal PDUs is to attend project management-focused webinars. Like online courses, a webinar can cover any range of topics, such as current trends in project management or how-to guidance for one of the many challenges project managers face daily. A one-hour webinar corresponds to one PDU, which makes webinars an easy way to earn PDUs before you head to work or even while you’re on your lunch break.

Education PDUs: Reading Project Management Material

If you enjoy reading about project management to sharpen your knowledge, you’ll be glad to learn that you can earn PDUs while doing so. Appropriate reading materials include books as well as project management blogs and articles. One hour of reading will earn you one PDU.

There’s no pre-approved reading list, though you’ll be expected to briefly describe what you read and how the material aligns with the PMI Talent Triangle®. Also, note that PMI expects project managers to adhere to the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Project Management when submitting reading material for PDU credit.

Giving-Back PDUs: Your Day Job

It’s hard to imagine earning PDUs for something you already get paid to do. Still, PMI considers you working in your everyday role as a Project Manager as a form of giving back to the professional community. All you need to do is provide details about your current job description and a list of your latest assigned projects, activities, and responsibilities.

You can only claim up to eight PDUs per 3-year cycle in the working as a practitioner category, but if you’re already working in the profession (formally or informally), there’s no easier way to earn free PDU credits.

Quickly Earning PDUs is Easier Than You Think

When you’re in the middle of a new project or adjusting to your new role as a PMP credential holder, earning PDUs might not be at the top of your priority list. But if you commit to setting aside a few hours each month to take an online course or read the latest articles on project management, you’ll be able to stay on top of your PDU requirements and learn valuable information along the way.

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