How to Earn and track PMP Pdu creditsCredit: self

The Project Management Institute has changed the particulars of the Continuing Certification Requirements program for those holding the Project Management Professional certification. The basics are the same:

  • 60 PDU renewal credits must be earned in 3 years
  • PMP certification holders must pay a few to renew for an additional 3 years
  • PDU credits are earned in various categories of professional work or learning activities
  • By earning PDU credits, PMP certification holders need not write the exam again
  • Generally, 1 renewal credit is earned for each hour of activity
    • this is not true of certain work or volunteer activities

There are now 2 divisions for PDU earning activities. Division "A" contains education categories while division "B" contains "giving back to the profession" activities. Each project manager can decide for themselves which categories to use when earning renewal credits. There are particular quotas that must be observed for various categories but the overall structure is fairly easy. Of particular note is that while all 60 credits can be earned in division "A", education, only a maximum of 45 credits may be earned by giving back to the profession. This ensures that all Project Management Professionals obtain at least 15 credits via an education activity. Some of the PDU credits earned in educational activities will be expensive, such as attending an intensive project management course, but others are comparatively cheaper. Self directed learning is still a viable activity. The Project Management Institute has increased the number of credits available through this category up to 30. The frugal, (or busy), Project Management Professional is now able to read books, study podcasts or have professional discussions for 30 hours which will earn fully half of the required renewal credits for free. Of course, the project manager will learn new skills or gain tips that will help in future project work as a result.

Another free activity that earns certification renewal credits is "creating new project management knowledge". Each hour of activity writing an article for a journal, web site or blog posting earns 1 renewal credit, provided that the topic is project management related. All of the time involved in the activity is good for credit. If you spend an hour developing an article and another hour delivering the material, you would earn a total of 2 professional development units. There are, of course, many potential topics that a Project Management Professional could consider in this category. They could write an article and submit it for publication to a non-refereed publication such as Practical PM Journal. This publication is devoted to assisting project managers with their writing. The web site includes a project management forum area. Those posting to the forum are also able to claim certication renewal credit for each hour of activity. Because work on the Internet forum is often of short duration, project management professionals may track their time to the quarter hour and report 0.25, 0.5 or 0.75 PDU fractions as required.

The key to successful earning, and reporting, of project management professional renewal credits is to document the credit earning activities. Save evidence of course attendance. Record particulars of courses, articles read, material created. Another good practice is to report the renewal credits early to the Project Management Institure using the website at Maintain your own documentation file, however, as the PMI website is considered a supporting element of your files. It is not the primary source of your records. This is important if you are ever picked for a random audit of your credit renewal activities. With a full documentation file of your credits, such an audit becomes a simple copy exercise and sending of required data to the PMI.

During the past, the Project Management Institute had been accused of being behind the times with respect to the Project Management Professional credential renewal process. The many activities performed by certication holders on the Internet were not recognized for renewal credit. Learning activities were mainly expensive or limited in the applicability. There were certain certification renewal categories that earned people many more credits for the effort than others. This has all been rationalized now. The primary trait is that each hour of activity earns 1 certification renewal credit, with a couple of exceptions. Luckily, the exceptions are reasonable as well. A professional project manager, for example, earns 5 credits per employment year despite serving for many hundreds of hours in their position. The new credits for this category remain as they were with the old program.

Of course, with the new Project Management Professional certification renewal categories, project managers will have to ensure that they devote the necessary time to their renewal activities. They must also ensure that they earn at least 15 credits through educational activities. The total number of credits required is 60. That means that the Project Management Professional will have to earn 20 credits per year, or almost 2 for every month. In fact, this is a great guideline that you can use when planning your certification renewal activities. If you ensure that you always earn at least 2 renewal credits per month, you will always have enough credits to renew your certification at your 3 year anniversary. With this formula, you will either have more than enough credits allowing you to carry forward the excess or you can choose to earn less than 2 credits for a few months. By earning 2 credits per month, in 3 years you will earn 72 certification renewal credits. You can carry forward the extra 12 to the next 3 year period. You would then need to earn only 48 credits during the 3 years. You are able to carry forward up to 20 credits. If you were to do so, you would only need to earn 40 credits in the next 3 years. That would be barely more than 1 certification renewal credit per month. Easy.

Check out the new divisions and categories that the Project Management Institute has implemented for the Project Management Professional renewal program. You will likely find many activities that will allow you to earn your credits. Depending on your circumstances, you will be able to choose free, inexpensive or more expensive activities as you wish. You now have the choice and with the various limits in the categories, there are a great many options. It is a very progressive step that benefits all Project Management Professionals.