What Comes After the PMP® Certification

Earning the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which is a highly respected and globally recognized certificate of project management excellence, is a difficult achievement. You should be proud of yourself for it!

So, what comes after PMP certification? The answers are in this Project Management Academy guide to what you can expect from the Project Management Institute (PMI), your career, and more.

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What to do After Earning Your PMP Certification

Once you have passed the PMP Exam, here are a few steps you should follow to take full advantage of your new professional accreditation.

Receive your PMP Credential Certificate by mail

You are officially a certification holder as soon as you pass the PMP Exam. You will receive a digital badge right away through Credly, but it could take 6-8 weeks for the certificate to arrive by mail. PMI will send you the following:

  • Your PMP credential certificate
  • A congratulatory letter
  • Instructions for maintaining your credential

In the meantime, you can use your digital badge on social media, update your professional information, and provide verification for employers.

Update your professional information

The PMP certification is the global standard for project management across the world and in any industry. Show current and potential employers and clients your qualifications with this checklist:

  • Update your resume, business card, LinkedIn profile, online biography, and more.
  • Include the PMP credential in your name online (ex: FirstName LastName, PMP).
  • Add the PMP logo to your personal name card.
  • Share your digital badge on social media or your website or company card.

Updating your professional information to reflect your achievement helps demonstrate your skills and experience in project management.

Request your PMP Lapel Pin

PMI will not automatically send your PMP lapel pin. You can request it by mail at no cost by logging into the PMI website, going to the Marketplace, and adding it to your cart.

Studying for the PMP Exam?

Continuing Education

Learning doesn’t end after certification. Project management practices are continually improving. As a result, you are required to meet PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) within a given CCR cycle to maintain your certification status.

PMI’s CCR program helps certification holders continually hone their project management skills. Staying informed on relevant practices will keep you ready for the complex and ever-changing modern business environment.

How to maintain the PMP Credential

For the PMP certification, you will have three years from the date you pass the PMP exam to earn a minimum of 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs). If you earn more than this minimum, some of the PDUs you earn in the last 12 months of your CCR cycle can apply to your next cycle.

If you don’t meet the minimum requirements during your CCR cycle, the following could happen:

  • Suspension: if you don’t earn 60 PDUs within your 3-year cycle, you will be placed in suspended status for one year or until you earn the necessary PDUs and complete the renewal process. During this period, you may not use the certification designation. Being suspended doesn’t change the dates of your next CCR cycle.
  • Expiration: if you don’t earn the necessary PDUs or complete the renewal process during suspended status, you will lose your certification status. To regain the PMP certification, you must reapply, resubmit all fees, and retake the PMP exam.
  • Retirement: if you have been a certification holder in good standing for at least ten years but wish to retire and voluntarily end your active certification status, you can apply for retired status. You do not need to earn or report PDUs in retired status, but you can apply for active status again if you come out of retirement.

PMI makes some exceptions for life events such as military personnel called to active duty, inability to work due to illness, or maternity leave. If this applies to you, you can request an extension for meeting your Continuing Certification Requirements.

Guide to earning PDUs

PMI requires certification holders to participate in professional development activities to earn PDUs and continue gaining industry insights. These activities fall under two categories: Education and Giving Back to the Profession.

Education PDUs include learning opportunities that teach or hone your technical, leadership, or strategic and business management skills. Out of your 60 required PDUs per cycle, you need a minimum of 35 Education PDUs.

Education PDUs align with the PMI Talent Triangle®, which describes the ideal skillset as a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic competencies. Out of your 35 required Education PDUs per cycle, you need at least 8 Technical PDUs, 8 Leadership PDUs, and 8 Strategic PDUs. The remaining 11+ PDUs can fall into any area of the Talent Triangle.

Giving Back PDUs include any activities you engage in to contribute your knowledge and skills to help build the project management industry. You can count a maximum of 25 Giving Back PDUs towards your Continuing Certification Requirements.

Sharing your project management knowledge and skills can be valuable for the profession and for enriching your own professional development, which is why PMI includes Giving Back in the CCR program. However, this is an optional method of earning PDUs.

Like contact hours, one hour of instruction or activity equals one PDU. Unlike contact hours, these PDUs must be earned during your CCR cycle. As you earn PDUs, you can submit the information to PMI through the CCR system. You can only claim credit for one PDU per hour of course or activity.

Once PMI has verified you have met your PDU requirements, you will receive further instructions for submitting your renewal fee. After your fee has been processed, PMI will send your updated certificate and new CCR cycle dates.

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The CCR Handbook contains detailed guidelines regarding different ways you can earn PDUs. However, one of the best ways to earn free PDUs guaranteed to satisfy PMI requirements is by using Project Management Academy’s PMAccelerate program. Join today for exclusive access to training, discounts, and other resources.

What to Do After PMP Certification

Job Opportunities After PMP Certification

After passing the PMP exam, you will likely experience rapid career growth, especially if you are a PMI member. Learn more about why job prospects are so great for PMP credential holders everywhere in the world.

What’s the projected job outlook for certified PMPs?

Use your PMP credential strategically to help accelerate your career in many ways. Earning your certification helps pave the way for your personal and professional growth. Here are a few ways a PMP certificate can help boost your job outlook.

  • Increase your productivity
  • Offer networking opportunities
  • Show management you’re ready for career advancement
  • Provide leverage for a salary raise
  • Prove your credentials when applying for new assignments

Your local PMI chapter is a great place to interact with fellow PMI members, learn more about project management trends worldwide, and share resources, ideas, and experiences. You could also use our Project Management Job Search Tool.

What do employers see in certified PMPs?

Even experienced project managers who are highly proficient in multiple areas of project management can learn a great deal from studying for and passing the PMP exam. As a result, employers see PMP credential holders as valuable assets for protecting and growing the organization.

PMP credential holders have proven “soft” life skills in managing people and communications. Passing the PMP exam also requires hard skills such as monitoring and producing deliverables, calculating costs and other project elements, and using computer programs to manage projects more efficiently.

Having a certified project manager on the team opens new possibilities for employers looking to take on new, large, or complex projects.

Next Certification After PMP

If you are wondering which credential to pursue next, first take some time to consider two things:

  • Where: where do you live and work, or do you plan on relocating? If you want to live or work in the United Kingdom or any Commonwealth country, consider obtaining your PRINCE2 certification. However, if you live or work in the United States or elsewhere, the PRINCE2 credential is somewhat redundant. Instead, focus on meeting your PMP CCR requirements.
  • What: what is your primary field of work? You may benefit from the PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® certification, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® credential, Certified Scrum Masters (CSM) training course, or other accreditations for specific industries.

Remember, you need to maintain your PMP certification by earning Professional Development Units. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you will need to earn the required PDUs during your CCR cycle! It may be best to focus on maintaining your credentialed status instead of pursuing additional certifications.


Receiving your PMP certification is a high achievement, and you should be proud of this accomplishment. However, think of it as a stepping stone in your career, not an end goal. From leveraging your new certification status to continuing your education and more, there are plenty of new opportunities to come after becoming a PMP credential holder.

If you have more questions about PMP certification requirements, what to do after PMP certification, how to earn PDUs, or anything else, feel free to reach out to Project Management Academy anytime.

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