Earn your PMP renewal credits using the new categories

As of March 1, 2011, the Project Management Institute is changing the renewal categories for the Project Management Professional credential. The previous Professional Development Unit, (PDU), 18 categories are being reduced to 6. Now all credits will be based on one hour of effort earning one credit. Certain category limits have changed. With this change to the credential renewal program, the PMI has finally recognized the use of Web 2.0 for project managers.

PMP renewal PDU creditsCredit: self

PDU credits are now divided into two divisions. The "Educational" and "Giving back to the profession" divisions each include various credit earning categories. Credential holders must note that the number of credits that may be earned in the Educational division is unlimited but there is an upper limit of 45 credits in the other. This restriction is designed to ensure that all project managers devote at least 15 hours towards continuing education during there three year credential renewal cycle.

The Educational division includes courses and self directed learning, provided that all time spent earning credits is devoted to project management topics. Category "A" applies to those project management credit renewal activities that are registered with the PMI. The activity will be pre-approved for a set number of PDU credits and is reported based on the number assigned to the activity by the PMI. There is no limit to the number of credits earned in category "A".

Category "B" in the Educational division pertains to other course completions that are not pre-registered with the PMI. This includes college or university courses or those offered by other training institutions. The course must relate to the project management subject area. One credential renewal credit is earned for each hour of project management instruction. If the course is partially relevant, then credit may be earned only for the time devoted to project management instruction.

Category "C" in the Educational division pertains to self directed learning in the project management field. The PMP credential holder may read materials, watch video, attend seminars, discuss topics informally or participate in any related activity. The time spent in earning credential renewal credits in this category must be relevant to project management or a related discipline such as program management. While there is no cap to the PDU credits earned in the Educational division, there is an upper cap of 30 PDU credits in category "C". The prior limit was 20. If PMP credential holders devote 10 hours per year persuing PDU credits in this category, they will be able to earn half of the required credits.

As mentioned, the "Giving back to the profession" division is now capped at 45 PDU credits per three year credential renewal cycle. This division includes three categories that cover the creation of project management materials, volunteering to provide project management services and for working as a project manager.

Category "D" in the Giving Back division pertains to various activities that create new materials in the project management field for the education education of others. Writing articles or books or creating podcasts earn PDU credits. Again, each hour of activity earns one PDU credit. The number of supported activities have been greatly expanded within category "D". Now Web 2.0 activities such as blog posts, webinar and podcast creations will count as PDU activity. As usual, the topic must be specific to project management or a related discipline.

Category "E" pertains to volunteer work as a project manager or elected officer for a registered non-profit entity. Each hour of service earns one PDU credit although the PMP credential holder must serve in their capacity for at least three months.

Category "F" pertains to professional work as a project manager. For each work assignment of at least six months in a year, the PMP credential holder earns 5 PDU credits. There is a cap of 15 PDU credits per three year credential renewal cycle.

With the changes to the Project Management Professional credential renewal cycle, the Project Management Institute has attempted to simpify the credit categories. They have instituted reasonable caps on particular activities and enhanced others to recognize the modern use of technology in the project management field. Credential holders should be able to earn their credits  fairly easily using the new categories. If the basic requirements are remembered, then credential holders should be able to meet their credential renewal objectives with credit earning activities that are appropriate to them. With the changes, PMP credential holders will find that earning PDU credits may be less expensive than they were previously.

A PMP credential holder is now able to earn half of the required PDU credits during self study activities such as reading project management books or watching project management materials on the Internet. There is ample material available for free to meet the 30 PDU cap in this category.

Another free PDU earning activity is the posting of project management materials on the Internet.  Writing about project management ethics, lessons learned in projects or other relevant topics are each good ways to earn PDU credits. As these activities are completed, the PDU credits can be reported to the Project Management Institute. A description and reference to the activity will be required so the PMP credential holder should gather such evidence as each credit earning activity is completed.

Project Management Professional credential holders have accomplished a significant achievement. The Project Management Institute recognizes that the PMP committment is enhanced through self study and by giving back to the project management profession. Each PMP credential holder is able to renew their credential by earning 60 PDU credits during the three years after the effective date of their credential. By taking advantage of the renewal process, the PMP credential holder is not required to take the PMP exam again. This benefit is only available, however, through the compliance of the PMP credential holder to the current requirements of the renewal process. With the changes to the process as of March 1, 2011, at least 15 PDU renewal credits must be earned through continuing education in the project management field. Up to 45 PDU credits may be earned by giving back to the project management profession. Any combination of credits earned in the two divisions is acceptible.