How Many PDUs are Required for PMP® Certification Maintenance?

Earning a PMP certification is a significant achievement that demonstrates your knowledge, experience, and dedication to excellence in project management. PMP credential holders must meet ongoing professional development requirements to uphold this high standard of expertise. You are required to track your professional development activities using the Project Management Institute (PMI) metric of Professional Development Units (PDUs). Tracking your PDUs ensures you meet the PMP PDU requirements to maintain active certification status. Learn more about maintaining your PMP credential and how many PDU are required for the PMP certification in this Project Management Academy guide.

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How many PDU are Required for PMP Exam?

The requirements for maintaining a PMP credential through PMI are simple: you have three years to earn a total of 60 PDU credits. This three-year Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) cycle begins the day you pass the PMP exam.

1 PDU Equals How Many Hours?

PMI defines PDUs as “one-hour blocks of time you spend learning, teaching others, or volunteering.” One PDU equals one hour. Therefore, to earn 60 PDUs, fulfill PMI certification renewal requirements, and successfully maintain your PMP credential, you must spend 60 hours learning, teaching, or volunteering through applicable project management activities.

Earn 60 PDUs in a 3 Year Cycle for CCR

You need to earn all 60 PDUs within your three-year CCR cycle to renew your PMP certification. While PMI is flexible regarding exactly how you earn these 60 PDUs, you must follow a few specific PMP requirements concerning the two types of PDUs: Education and Giving Back.

Giving Back PDUs (25 maximum)

Giving Back PDUs include any hours you spend contributing to the project management profession by sharing knowledge, volunteering, and applying your skills in other ways. These PDUs are optional; there are no requirements for earning Giving Back PDUs. You can earn a maximum of 25 PDUs in this category.

Here are some examples of ways you can earn PDUs for Giving Back to the Profession:

  • Write and share blogs, papers, or articles about project management. Publications such as PMI’s Knowledge Shelf offer ways for professionals and organizations to share experiences and viewpoints to help enrich the project management industry.
  • Volunteer your professional services. PMI makes it easy for you to volunteer for an organization outside your employer through various activities.
  • Work as a practitioner. Wait, what? PMI lets you work as a practitioner for how many PDU? That’s right: you can earn a maximum of eight out of twenty-five Giving Back PDUs in one CCR cycle for professional activities you may already be doing.

PMI recognizes the importance of encouraging its credential holders to give back to the profession, which is why you have the option to earn up to 25 Giving Back PDUs.

Education PDUs (35 minimum)

Education PDUs include any hours you spend on continuing education in project management and related disciplines. The project management industry is constantly evolving, which means continuing education is crucial for project managers who want to remain at the top of their field.

According to PMI’s requirements, you must earn a minimum of 35 Education PDUs. However, you can earn all 60 PDUs in this category if you choose. Here are some examples of ways to earn Education PDUs:

  • Learn with PMI eLearning. PMI offers industry-leading courses to help project managers develop relevant skills and earn PDUs.
  • Take Authorized Training Provider (ATP) courses. Project Management Academy is a PMI-approved ATP, meaning all our courses are approved for PMP certificate maintenance. This includes our Club PDU Annual Subscription!
  • Attend PMI community events. PMI holds virtual and in-person PMP events such as chapter meetings, specific interest groups, college or university events, and more.
  • Conduct self-directed project management learning, research, or other methods of study. PMI offers resources to help you properly claim informal or self-directed PDUs. You can also earn PDUs by reading.

Your education PDUs must also align with the PMI Talent Triangle®. Refer to the section below for more information about the PMI Talent Triangle and the PMP certification.

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Talent Triangle PDUs

The PMI Talent Triangle describes the three critical skill areas for any effective PMP credential holder: a combination of Technical, Leadership, and Strategic and Business Management skills. PMP certification requirements state you must align your education PDUs to each of these three areas by earning at least 8 PDUs per area.

How Many PDU Required for PMP Recertification
PDU Requirement for PMI Certification Renewal

After you have earned at least 8 PDUs for each area of the PMI Talent Triangle, you can earn the rest of your education PDUs in any skill area.


PMI defines the Technical area of the Talent Triangle as follows:

“Knowledge, skills, and behaviors related to specific domains of project, program, and portfolio management. The technical aspects of performing your job/role.”

You can earn Technical Education PDUs by gaining or honing your project management domain expertise. For example, you could take a course on earned value project management practices or learn about schedule management techniques.


PMI defines the Leadership area of the Talent Triangle as follows:

“Knowledge, skills and behaviors involved in the ability to guide, motivate and/or direct others to achieve a goal.”

Here are some examples of how you can earn education PDUs in this area of the PMI Talent Triangle:

  • Attend a seminar about conflict management, team building, or other skills
  • Teach a Lunch & Learn session within your organization on topics such as emotional intelligence or interpersonal skills
  • Learn more about methods across brainstorming, coaching and mentoring, negotiation, and other areas

There are many different ways you can build PMP competency in guiding, motivating, and directing others to achieve a common goal.

Strategic & Business Management

PMI defines the Strategic & Business Management area of the PMI Talent Triangle as follows:

“Knowledge of and expertise in the industry/organization, helping you align your team in a way that enhances performance and better delivers business outcomes.”

You can learn business-oriented PMP skills in many ways. PMI and its ATPs offer related online and in-person courses, as do many colleges and universities. Which options you pursue will depend on whether you want to learn more about business models, gain industry and market knowledge, build customer relationship management skills, or more.


We answered the question of the how many PDU are required to recertify for PMP. Earning 60 PDUs to maintain your PMP certification can be challenging. The following tips can help make this process smooth and manageable:

  1. Start early. The sooner you earn all your PDUs, the easier your life will be!
  2. Document everything. Keeping a physical or digital folder with evidence will help you back up all the PDUs you claim for your PMP certification renewal.
  3. Stay organized. For example, if you take ATP classes, make sure you have the training provider number.
  4. Report PDUs as you complete them through the Continuing Certification Requirements System. This step will mean there is less work for you to do when it is time to complete the certification renewal process.
  5. If you earn all 60 PDUs before your cycle ends, take advantage of the opportunity to apply PDU credits to your next cycle. As a PMP credential holder, you can apply up to 20 PDUs earned within the last 12 months of your current CCR cycle to your next CCR cycle.

After you have earned all 60 PDUs, PMI will provide you with all the information you need to complete your certification renewal, including where to submit the renewal fee and, if necessary, any documentation.

Are you ready to start maintaining your expertise and PMP certification by earning PDUs? Take a look at Project Management Academy’s online and in-person PDU courses to start earning 60 PDUs to maintain your active PMP certification status.

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