Project Management Professionals And The Hunt For PDUs

A subject that never ends with Project Management Professionals is that of re-certification.  Continuing education in the form of seminars, formal training and online classes are all a part of becoming better leaders and managers.  Following are some down and dirty tips on keeping your certification active and assuring compliance.


Here is just an example of what I did:


  • 5 – PMI (Project Management Institute) dinners @ 2 PDUs (Professional Development Units) = 10
  • 3 – Category 2 Self-directed learning (Crucial Conversations, The 360 leader, etc) @ 5 PDUs = 15
  • 3 – Category 2H (Practicing PM every year) @ 5 PDUs = 15
  • 30 – Category 3 (no limit to attend webinars) = 30


That is a total of 75 PDUs with relatively minimal effort.  Keep in mind the end goal of improving your skill set, not just racking up PDU’s.

(Please note that not all of the following content is my own.  This is a compilation gathered from many PMPs and is a document I provide when mentoring new project managers.  I still find this information highly useful and refer to it regularly.)


How do I earn my PMPs for Re-certification?

 As per PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR), every PMP needs to re-certify his/her credentials every 3 years. In order to re-certify, a PMP needs to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years. There are numerous ways to earn these PDUs such as Practicing Project and/or Program Management, attending classroom trainings, self-learning, attending Project/Program Management related seminars and workshops, doing voluntary work for Project Management communities or organizations.

What good Project Managers do? 

Maintaining your PMP credentials is not as hard as most people think, as long as you plan it well. Treat your re-certification as a Project. Follow the same processes that you do on your projects – Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor and Control, Close.

Let’s consider a few aspects of PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program:


  • Earn 60 PDUs in a Certification Cycle (3 years): A Certification Cycle is 3 years in duration. As per the new PMI guidelines, the certification cycle ends exactly 3 years from the date you certify (or recertify). To know more about the recent changes to the Certification Cycle, click here.  60 PDUs in three years breaks down into an average of 20 PDUs per year.This breaks down into 20 PDUs every year. My advice is to plan early and start accumulating PDUs as early in your Certification Cycle as possible.
  • Know the Categories of PDUs: There are five categories under which you can earn PDUs. Those categories include:


    • Category 1: Formal Academic Education
    • Category 2: Professional Activities and Self-Directed Learning
    • Category 3: Courses offered by PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.)
    • Category 4: Courses Offered by Other Education Providers
    • Category 5: Volunteer Service to Professional or Community Organizations


  • Maintain a Record of your PDUs: PMI randomly selects a small percentage of re-certification applications for auditing. If your application is selected for an audit, you need to produce evidence of all the PDUs that you reported. Therefore, you should maintain a folder of all PDU certificates or other documentation, which validates your claim. It is best to maintain this folder along the way.
  • Report your PDUs to PMI: PMI provides an Online application to report and track your PDUs. Though PMI does not mandate the frequency of reporting the PDUs within a Certification Cycle, it is in your best interest to report them periodically to keep track of your progress and avoid forgetting to report them altogether.
  • Carry over excess PDUs to next Certification Cycle: Yes, you can carry over upto 20 PDUs earned in the last (third) year of your Certification Cycle over to the next cycle. For example, if you have earned 50 PDUs in the first 2 years of your Certification Cycle and you earn 30 PDUs in the third year, 20 of your 30 PDUs (earned in the third year) can be carried over to the next Certification Cycle.
  • Review CCR Handbook: Last, but not the least, review the CCR Handbook for a deeper insight into PMI’s CCR Program.


Let’s get to the point 

Following are some of the easiest and cost-effective means to earn the 60 PDUs, which will qualify for PMI’s Continuous Certification Requirements (CCR):

1. Category 2H – Practice Project Management: Claim upto 5 PDUs per calendar year by doing what you already do, i.e. Project Management. You can claim total upto 15 PDUs per certification cycle (CC), which is typically 3 years in duration, under this category.

2. Category 2-SDL – Self-Directed Learning activities: Claim up to 15 PDUs per CC. This includes:



  • Developing skills in project management tools such as MS Project.

3. Category 3 – Join your local PMI Chapter and attend PM seminars and focus group meetings. Attendance to these events fetch up to 1 PDU per hour of the event. Moreover, registration for these events is free (most of the time) for the chapter members. If you can attend one 2-hr event (worth 2 PDUs) per quarter, you can earn about 8 PDUs per year => 24 PDUs per CC.

  • Note: There is no limit to the number of PDUs that you can earn in Category 3.

4. Category 3 – Attend free Webinars: Some sources of free webinars:


If you do your math, you can earn 60 PDUs (15 + 15 + 24 + 6) without much sweat, by following the 4 simple steps listed above.

There are many ways to earn PDUs under several other categories. I suggest that you refer to PMI’s CCR Handbook for more details.

Become a WBS Expert 

Earn 5 PDUs under Category 2-SDL

If you are serious about improving your Project Management skills and not just earn PDUs merely for the sake of maintaining your PMP certification, I recommend the WBS Coach. It’s one of the best source of information on the WBS. using the WBS. You’ll not only learn how to use the WBS appropriately and effectively, but also become an expert at that.

Take your PM Skills to the next level 

Earn PDUs under Category 4

If you want to take your Project Management skills to the next level, then you should consider investing in the PM Lecture series from Cornelius Fichtner, PMP. It offers Powerpoint-style lectures (with audio). Currently, 4 lectures are available, each of which offer PDUs under Category 4. These lectures are certainly not free, but the quality of information is really good. They also offer some free previews. To find out more, visit PM Lectures.


More Free PDU Options !! 


(Category 3) Earn PDUs by attending free webinars.

Solutions Cube Group

(Category 3) Offers one or two free webinar every month. But you need to register at least 2 months in advance to get a slot.

Project Times

(Category 3) Currently offers 2 free (recorded) webinars worth 1 PDU each.


(Category 3) Free webinars

Project Management Bookstore Author Webinar Series


Until next time,

Crowe Mead






Crowe Mead – Better Leadership Blog

Posted on by Crowe Mead in Leadership, Management, Project Management

2 Responses to Project Management Professionals And The Hunt For PDUs

  1. Michael B

    Crowe, you always come through for me! Thanks for putting this up.

  2. Stacey Erman, PMP

    This was exactly what I was looking for. Now, if only PMI would make it easier to add and keep track of your credits!

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