PMP Certification Training FAQ: PDUs and Contact Hours must be Gained Through PMI R.E.P.?
The PMP® Exam requests Aspirants to have gained 35 Contact Hours of project management education and holders to accumulate at least 60 PDUs per 3-year re-certification cycle in order to renew the PMP® credential. The same is required of PMI-ACP® aspirants and holders — 21 Contact Hours of Agile Education and 30 PDUs per 3-year cycle.
It is a common myth among aspirants (and even credential holders) that they need to gain the Contact Hours and PDUs through trainings offered by PMI Registered Education Providers (PMI R.E.P.) only in order to be eligible for registering for the PMP® / PMI-ACP® Exam or to renew the Certifications through the Continuing Certifications Requirements System (CCRS) on the PMI website. Many training course providers are claiming that since they are PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) their courses are guaranteed to be of best qualities, many Aspirants are confused whether they really need to search for online/in person trainings only offered by PMI R.E.P.
To highlight, there is no need to attend courses offered by PMI R.E.P. in order to be eligible for the PMI Certification Exams (according to the PMP® and PMI-ACP® Handbooks — any formal training will do) or to claim the PDUs (PDUs offered by non-PMI R.E.P. will be counted as Category B in the past, but there is no distinction now).
PMI clearly states that certification aspirants can enrol in any project management training courses from either a PMI R.E.P. or non-PMI R.E.P. to claim the required Contact Hours or PDUs. This article will explain why Aspirants should focus on search for project management courses with great qualities instead of focusing on whether the training organization is a PMI R.E.P.
Definitions: PMI Contact Hours and PDUs
What are Contact Hours?
Contact Hours is the training required by PMI for professionals to be eligible for applying for PMI Certifications. It is a form of formal training delivered through face to face training sessions, virtual training sessions, online self-learning course, classroom based training by an instructor or an instructor-led live virtual classroom training course, etc. One hour of training attended through these means is considered to be equivalent to one Contact Hour. Contact Hours are an eligibility requirement for PMI Certifications.
What are PDUs?
PDUs (Professional Development Units) are required for maintaining PMI certification credentials. PDUs are intended to be a way to ensure PMI Certification holders are kept abreast of the development and knowledge of project management through continuous engagement from either serving in the field, attending PM seminars or taking training courses, etc. Trainings can be obtained from either a PMI R.E.P. or non-PMI R.E.P. One hour of project management training is considered 1 PDU. PDUs are required for maintaining the credential of current Certification holders.
How to Choose the Training Courses for Contact Hours/PDU?
Below are a few factors to consider when choosing the training courses for fulfilling the Contact Hours or PDU requirements:
- Choosing a great trainer
- the trainer’s presentation style (it is useful to search the internet for recordings of the trainers in classes in order to have a feel of their presentation style)
- reputation of the trainer
- industry experience of the trainer
- whether the trainer is a PMP® / PMI-ACP® themselves
- feedback from the trainer’s students
- Choosing a great training organization
- reputation and customer service of the training organization
- refund policy of training courses
- whether the training organization is a PMI R.E.P. or not is just a factor to consider
Why are there so many PMI R.E.P.?
According to PMI,
PMI R.E.P.s are organizations that we have approved to offer training in project management and issue professional development units (PDUs) to meet the continuing education requirements needed by PMI credential holders. To earn the R.E.P. designation, a provider must meet or exceed rigorous standards for quality and effectiveness as defined by PMI. (quoted from PMI website)
The courses offered by PMI R.E.P. are considered “pre-approved” by PMI to satisfy the Certification and PDU requirements. When asked for PMI audits, holders of training course certificates issued by PMI R.E.P. will only need to present the certificates as a proof to pass the audit. And students of non-PMI R.E.P. courses are required to present the course outline and related information for PMI to assess whether the course Contact Hours/PDUs are eligible — yes, PMI will carry out audits for the PDUs claimed. It is more convenient for the aspirants/holders to pass the audit if they are selected for the audit.
Is PMI R.E.P. always Better?
As every PMI R.E.P. needs to pay an annual fee to PMI in order to sustain their R.E.P. designations, the courses offered by PMI R.E.P. would generally be a bit more expensive than those who are not (just a general assumption, not always be the case).
As said in the above section, the most prominent benefit offered by enrolling in training of PMI R.E.P. is the convenience of readily passing the audit. However, there are only a fraction of candidates/Certification holders required to attend to the audit. Most candidates/holders will not be able to enjoy this kind of convenience during their certification application.
Actually, the trainer and the reputation of the training institution are the most important factors to consider while choosing online/in-person PMP® and PMI-ACP® Certification training or PDU courses.
Remember, Aspirants are highly advised to focus on the critical learning outcome (e.g. helping you to get certified in the first try) while choosing the training courses. The trainer is the most important single factor. Whether the organization is a PMI R.E.P. is not a must. Of course, if the ideal PMP®/PMI-ACP® trainer comes from a PMI R.E.P., that would be perfect.
Appendix: How to Report PDUs Earned from Non-PMI R.E.P.?
Certification Holders must provide all the required information about the training/learning activities in order to complete the claim (the information can be obtained from the training institutions, whether they are PMI R.E.P. or non-PMI R.E.P. The PDU claim process is basically the same.
- Log in to PMI.org a list of your credentials displays at the left side of the screen : https://ccrs.pmi.org
- Click Report Professional Development Units (PDUs) to begin the process
- Select Course or Training
- Enter the course name along with the date and duration of training and other details
- In the PDUs Claimed section below, you would need to enter the PDUs to be claimed in the respective Technical, Leadership and Strategic Education (or General Education) for your Certification.