What You should Know about PMP PDU?
Once you have passed the PMP® exam, your 3-year PMP® re-certification cycle begins. You are required to accumulate at least 60 PMP® PDU in order to successfully renew your PMP® status. In general, 1 PDU equates 1 hour of PDU activity participation. But there are limits to certain kinds of PDU activities. This article will tell you all you need to know about PDU.
PMP® PDU Requirements – A Visual Guide
All PMP®s are required to get at least 60 Professional Development Units (PDU) in each 3-year certification cycle in order to renew their PMP® certificate. This is another quality assurance mechanisms to ensure PMP®s keep up with the latest trends and best practices in the ever-evolving field of project management. The PDU is an education system to urge PMP®s to learn and grow continuously.
In general, 1 PMP® PDU equals 1 hour of participation in the PDU activity (though PMI has the ultimate authority to assess the number of PDU one can get with a certain kind of PDU activity). PMI accepts PDUs to be recorded in quarterly increment (in the multiple of 0.25 PDU) for Educational activities, for the rest PMP® PDUs must be submitted in multiples of 1 PDU.
Don’t worry PDU in excess of 60 in the 3-year cycle will be wasted as PMI allows you to carry forward a maximum of 20 PDU to the next PMP® certification cycle. The only requirement is that the PDU must be earned in the 3rd year of the cycle.
On the other hand, if you are not able to accumulate 60 PMP® PDU during your 3-year cycle, the PMP® credential will be suspended. PMI gives you 1 extra year to earn the required PDU. But be reminded that the next 3-year re-certification cycle will still be counted from your original credential end date.
The Most Effective Way to Earn PDU
Earning PMP® PDU is not difficult and expensive at all, some of the PDU can be obtained free of charge:
- Reading books on project management will give you 1 PDU for every hour of reading
- Working as a project manager will earn you 8 PDU (in Contribution category) in 3 years
- [if you are a PMI member] The live/recorded webinars on the projectmanagement.com allows you to earn PDU (usually 1 PDU each) through the PMI website free of charge, you can select webinars to help you earn PDUs according to the PMI Talent Triangle (i.e. technical, leadership and business).
Initially, I tried to earn my PDU from these sources solely. But, on reflection, I ask myself: why not make the best use of the PDU opportunity to renew and broaden my project management knowledge instead of trying to accumulate PDU only? This is exactly the aim of the PDU requirement after all. I have heard that some PMP® just left the PMI webinars running in the browser and got to sleep. This did nothing good for my career.
I then focus on finding useful and meaningful PDU opportunities. Below are some of the suggested ways to get the best from the PDU efforts I have been doing personally:
- Agile project management is a heated topic in project management these days and PMI is now offering the PMI-ACP® Certification to provide project mangers and practitioners to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in Agile projects. One of the PMI approved courseware, the Agile PrepCast™ (US$179.99 as downloadable video lectures), will provide you with the required 21 contact hours for the PMI-ACP® exam AND 37 PMP® PDU (Category A) for your PMP® re-certification. Even if you do not intend to take the PMI-ACP® exam, gaining knowledge in Agile project management will benefit you as a project manager in the long run as you can understand the best of both worlds. Agile project management is now being practiced by projects in the area of software, web, pharmacy, manufacturing, product development, and so on. In fact, most startups make use of Agile.
- If you are into blogging, why not post your insights about project management online to build up your reputation and earn PDU (Cat. D) at the same time? You will just need to register for a domain, set up the hosting and blogging software and you can start blogging (follow this beginner’s guide to have all these done in under an hour, only US$4.99 per month for the hosting service). Your online reputation in project management expertise will open up a lot of opportunities for you!
- Or, if you are working in the IT Service industry, the ITIL® certification will be your definite choice for further studies and earning PDU. Preparing for the ITIL® v3 Foundation Certification will earn you around 17-25 PDUs for your PMP® re-certification (depending on your education provider) as well as the ITIL® v3 Foundation credential.
How to Submit PDU?
PMI supplies you with an online “Continuing Certification Requirements System” to record your PDU. After you have attended PDU activities, you can submit the PDU activity details through the Continuing Credential Requirements System (CCRS). If you participate in a webinar by PMI or projectmanagement.com, your PDU will be automatically recorded and there is no need to enter it manually.
After you have submitted the PDU request, PMI will take some time to review and approve the PDUs. You will receive an email and the PDU will be added to your account once PMI approve your request. Note that PMI reserves the right to change (usually reduce) the number of PDU you can get with a particular activity and PMI may require you to submit supporting documents with reference to the particular categories of PDU you are claiming within 5 days in order to evaluate your claim.
Renew Your PMP® Credential
After you have collected enough PDUs in your PMP® re-certification cycle, PMI will send you an electronic notification (in the form of an email) asking you to complete the form and pay for credential renewal. The PMP® renewal fee is US$60 for PMI members and US$150 for non-members. The renewal application and payment process must be completed in 90 days after your credential end date in order for your to keep your PMP® status. PMI will send the new PMP® certificate to you within 6 to 8 weeks.
Occasionally, PDU audits may be requested by PMI at random before you are approved for PMP® renewal. You will need to present proof/documentation for all the PDU claimed during the 3-year cycle to PMI for verification.
Important: Documentation for PDU
Just like the PMP® Certification audit, you may be required to submit supporting documents for the PDU you have claimed or selected for an audit process of your claimed PDU by presenting documentation for verification after submitting your renewal request. PMI requests PMP®s to keep the documentation at least 18 months after the 3-year cycle.
Documentation for the PDU can be one or more of the following:
- attendance certificate or letter of attendance
- registration confirmation letter
- written notes (handwritten or electronic) when attending seminars, webinars, self study or during discussion about project management
- authored books / presentation materials / podcasts / record of webinars
- blog posts
- transcript or grade report of academic courses
Begin collecting your Professional Development Units (PMP® PDU) from the date you are a PMP®! Take on a new adventure in PMI-ACP® Certification, ITIL® v3 Foundation 2011 Certification or setting up your own project management blog to develop continually in your career.