Continuing Education Division of PMP Continuing Certification Requirements

Self Directed Learning

This category is used to record PMP renewal credits your earn through your own personal continuing education activites. Your time spent reading, watching or discussing project management topics earns 1 Professional Development Unit, (PDU), for each hour of learning. The category is quite broadly defined by the Project Management Institute. Any method of study on any project management topic can be used for PMP renewal credit. The topics are those based on the Project Knowledge Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK), and other related sources.

Project Management Professionals are now able to earn up to 30 PMP renewal credits through self directed learning activities. As mentioned, the topic of the learning activities must pertain to project management. This is a great category that most PMP certified individuals will use. The 30 PMP renewal credit limit is fully half of the number needed in a three year cycle to renew your certification. By taking advantage of self directed learning opportunities, you should easily be able to earn 1 renewal credit per month, skip up to 6 months and still earn your full quota. This assumes that you have the full 36 months left in which to earn credits, of course. If you have not been earning the suggested 1 credit per month, you may need to step up your activities in time to renew. You may need to earn 2 or even 3 credits during the time left in your PMP renewal cycle in order to amass the required 60 credits. The earlier you get started, the easier it will be for your.

Most people will be able to use free resources as well. Check out project management books from your company or public library. Since they can pertain to project management, books on negotiations, procurement, ethics and many more general business topics will be acceptable. You may also explore the Internet looking for content related to the prescribed topics. Pod casts, webinars, blogs and PM journal sites are worth checking out. Luckily, you are able to claim partial PDU renewal credits as well. Each 15 minutes of self directed learning will equate to 0.25 credits.

Keep a complete record of all of your self directed learning activities as you complete them. That way you will have a good documentation file on hand should you ever need it. There is quite a lot of information required by the PMI when you are claiming your renewal credits so be sure to have it all available when you register your activities. There is always the possibility of an audit of your PDU activities by the institute so having your complete documentation file readily available could be very helpful to you.

When you embark on a program of earning about 1 PMP renewal credit per month via self directed learning activities, you may find that it becomes an enjoyable habit. There are a lot of good materials available, many of which are free, as mentioned. With your 30 credits earned through this category, you will have half of the total credits that you need to renew your PMP. The other 30 may be earned through project management employment, (up to 15 credits in 3 years), project management courses that you take and activities related to giving back to the profession.

If you write a project management article, your time as an author will also earn you 1 PMP renewal credit per hour of activity. If you write an article a month for a blog or a project management journal, you will be able to amass a further 30 credits, enough to meet your renewal requirement, presuming that you take about an hour to write each one. Your first few articles make take longer but as you get practice, you should be able to write a quality piece of 500 or more words in about an hour. You can describe your own project management experiences, give tips to others, recommend things that helped your process work or any other project management topic. Every project manager has a unique set of knowledge, experiences and abilities. Many others would be able to benefit by reading your project management content. It can be emotionally rewarding to you as well.

With the changes to the PMP renewal requirements, the Project Management Institute has rationalized several of the categories and established workable limits for them as well. The new rule of 1 hour of activity for 1 PDU credit is fair and easy to understand. (Be aware, however, that this rule does not apply to your work as a project manager. That category requires you to work at  least 6 months per year and each full year of employment gives you 5 PMP renewal credits. You may earn up to 15 credits in this category during the 3 year cycle.) 

The requirements for formal project management courses is similar to the past. Each hour of class work earns 1 PDU credit. The courses can be recognized by the PMI or not. All courses must pertain to project management topics. General purpose business classes may be partially or completely used for credit. Negotiation, procurement, ethics and technical classes fit within the project management set of topics. If a course is partially applicable, then the portion involved with project management topics can be claimed. As with the self directed learning activities, keep a record of your formal course details.

As mentioned, the key to successfully renewing your Project Management Professional certification is to get organized early and completely. Keep your own records of all of your PMP renewal credit work. This is especially important for the self directed learning activities. You may well have 30 or more discrete activities for this category. Trying to remember all of the details when you claim your credits would be difficult or impossible without adequate documentation. To claim the PDU credits, you need to know the details about each self directed learning resource that you used. The title, publisher, topic and more are required by the PMI during the credit entry process. You will save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you have this information available when you register your credit. It is a good idea to record the self directed learning activity soon after you complete it as well. That way you can refer to the resource more easily. If you don't, perhaps you would not have a library book available when you need to enter data about the publisher.

By following the PMI continuing certification requirements, and organizing your activities, you will find that you have the ability to easily meet the PMP renewal credit quota each cycle. You have invested considerable time and money in your PMP. Renewing the certification should always be a prime goal in your life.