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Categories: PMP Study Guide

Warning: You’re Losing Money by Not Using Renew the PMP

You have 3 years before your PMP® certification expires. Within these 3 years you need to accumulate 60 professional development units (PDUs). If you have not accumulated the 60 PDUs you cannot renew your certification. If you have not accumulated the PDUs and renewed within 3 years your credential will be suspended. You will then have one year before you credential expires completely.

A PMP PDU is a personal development unit collected by project management professionals. PMPs need to collect PDUs to renew their certification. One PDU is earned per one hour spent in structured learning activity. Originally the purpose of PDUs was to keep PMPs up to date on latest project management methodologies and standards. Now as of of 1st December 2015 they are more aligned with employer-identified skills to ensure PMP designation holders are equipped to remain relevant and competitive by developing these employer demanded skills.

The new changes put priority on specifically Education PDUs which now are based around the PMI Talent Triangle. The Talent Triangle consists of three knowledge areas Technical, Leadership and Strategic/Business skills of PMI project managers. For more information on the PMI Talent Triangle click here.

These 3 skill areas make up the PMI talent triangle which Education PDUs need to work towards improving in project managers. This is completed by ensuring Project Managers have a minimum of 8 hours of education in each area. Project Managers can complete the remaining 11 hours in any area they choose and there is no maximum for education PDUs accumulated.

A PDU is defined by the PMI as a measuring unit for structural learning in Project Management. One PDU is earned per one hour spent in structured learning activity. There are 6 categories of PDUs broken into 2 categories.

PMP DU Categories Triangle

Education PDU Categories for PMP Renewal

  • PMI R.E.P.s
  • Continuing Education
  • Self-Directed Learning

Category A: Activities offered by PMI R.E.P.s, chapters, or communities

PDU Explanation: You have 3 options to earn Category A PDUs…

  1. Earn PDUs by attending educational courses offered by PMI’s Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s).
  2. Earn PDUs by attending events offered by the PMI such as seminars and conferences.
  3. Earn PDUs by taking a PMI Publication Quiz (70% minimum result)

PDU Example: R.E.P.s include schools, consultants, corporate training departments, professional associations, government agencies and PMI chapters. View the searchable database of R.E.P.s and the courses they offer online

PDU Rule: 1 hour of instruction related to project management, project risk, project scheduling, or program management equals 1 PDU. You can report PDUs in 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 increments

Audit Requirements: Registration form, certificate or letter of attendance

Category B: Continuing Education

PDU Explanation: You have 2 options to earn Category B PDUs…

  1. Earn PDUs by completing an academic course by a college
  2. Earn PDUs by attending relevant educational course offered outside of PMI.

PDU Example: If not a college course it can be training provided by employer or another professional or membership association.

PDU Rule: 1 hour of instruction related to project management, project risk, project scheduling, or program management equals 1 PDU. You can report PDUs in 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 increments. Only modules related to project management can go towards PDU not entire course.

Audit Requirements: Transcript or grade report with a pass mark. If non-PMI R.E.P you will be required to provide registration form, certificate with the syllabus outlining content and qualifications of instructor.

Category C: Self-Directed Learning

PDU Explanation: You have 2 options to earn Category C PDUs by completing qualifying activities which are relevant to project management, project risk, and project scheduling or program management, meet a specified purpose and use knowledgably resources.

PDU Example: Individualized learning events such as…

  1. Watching videos, podcasts or other source material
  2. Reading articles, books or instructional materials
  3. Being coached or mentored by a colleague, co-worker or consultant

PDU Rule: 1 hour of instruction related to project management, project risk, project scheduling, or program management equals 1 PDU. You can report PDUs in 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 increments

Audit Requirements: Evidence supporting your reported learning project, including notes from and dates of discussion or reading.

Giving Back to the Profession PDU Categories

  • new pM knowledge
  • Volunteer Service
  • Working as a PM

Category D: Creating new project management knowledge

PDU Explanation: You can earn PDUs for creating new knowledge for a topic related to project management. Both time preparing/creating this knowledge and time to present it can be claimed for PDUs.

PDU Example: Examples of Category D would include….

  • Authoring (co-authoring) a project management textbook
  • Authoring (co-authoring) a peer reviewed article
  • Authoring (co-authoring) a non-peer reviewed article
  • Authoring (co-authoring) an article for PMIs knowledge shelf
  • Authoring an article for relevant electronic newsletters
  • Authoring of article on an official organization, professional, or company blog
  • Presenting in a webinar
  • Presenting in a podcast
  • Creating a course or developing course content for project management related courses
  • Serving as a speaker or instructor for project management related courses and presentations
  • Serving as a moderator of a relevant discussion
  • Serving as a subject matter expert for a panel discussion

PDU Rule: 1 hour of activity equals 1 PDU

Audit Requirements: Copies of publications, sample educational materials or course agendas.

Category E: Volunteer Service

PDU Explanation: You can earn PDUs for volunteering (non-compensated service) project management, project risk, and project scheduling or program management services to a no-employer or client.

PDU Example: All work must be legally recognized as non-profit, not-for-profit or charitable groups or organizations. Examples of Category E would include….

  • Serve as volunteer representing project management organization including PMI Chapter or communities of practice
  • Serve as volunteer on committee for project management organization
  • Volunteer services to PMI or another professional project management association
  • Volunteer project management services to a community/charity, group of college students or being a coach or mentor

PDU Rule: 1 hour of volunteer (non-compensated) service equals 1 PDU.

Audit Requirements: If volunteering a letter of certificate from the organization served acknowledging volunteering service. If coaching evidence such as notes from and dates of coaching will be sufficient

Category F: Working as a Professional in Project Management

PDU Explanation: You can earn PDUs for working as a project manager.

PDU Example: Self-explanatory.

PDU Rule: You may claim 8PDUs per 3 year cycle.

Audit Requirements: Proof of employment


Is there a PMI PDU Audit?

For a small number of randomly selected cases, PMI may request for an audit to verify the information provided during PDU requests. So it is important to retain the evidence of PDU qualifying events. Also PDUs can be submitted up to the end of next calendar year after the completion of three year CCR cycle in which the PDU accruing event occurred

How to submit PDUs

You have two options for submitting a PDU claim you can either do it online or download the PDU activity reporting from (PDF) to complete and submit to PMI electronically. Step by step instructions provided by PMI here!

When Can I Start Earning PDUs?

You can immediately log on to your PMI account and click “renew” to begin your PMP / PMI-ACP re-certification process. The process is in fact quite a simple one in which you are asked to check your information, agree to the terms and conditions and pay the required re-certification fee of US$60 for a PMI member and $150 for a non-member.

How long do I have before I need renew PMP?

You will have your certification extended for 3 years from the original expiry date of your certification. For example, if your new PMP certificate expires on July 2019 and you complete the all the required PDUs in 2017 you will have until July 2022 to complete another 60 PDUs to renew again.

It is highly recommend record all audit requirements as you earn PDUs just as a precaution to getting audited. All requirements are highlighted above under each category decomposition in the PDU category article here.

Shane Drumm

Shane is an Agile Project Manager who specialises in digital web projects. He has worked with numerous distributed teams in Asia, Europe, US and Australia. In his spare time, enjoy travelling, cycling, digital start-up ventures and hustling to help other business owners with their digital presence. Find out more about Shane on and please reach out and connect with Shane on LinkedIn.


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