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.

Article Highlights

PMP PDU Requirements – A Visual Guide

All PMPs 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 PMPs 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 PMPs 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® 4 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 PMPs 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

What’s Next?

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® 4 Foundation Certification or setting up your own project management blog to develop continually in your career.


Most Popular PMP Certification Exam Articles

Support website running for FREE, thanks!

If you find this post helpful and if you are thinking of buying from Amazon, please support the running cost of this website at no extra cost to you by searching and buying through the search box below. Thank you very much for your help!

Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

26 Responses


    Excell information on this page, mainly PDU and PMI, PMP CCR , Kudos

  2. Allison says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for this blog – it really helped me clarify a few concepts before my exam and I passed on the first try with 4 Above Targets! Your site is so helpful and makes these concepts easier to grasp than both courses I took. Thank you again!

  3. Big M says:

    Used your blog in my last week before the exam. Did a few of your recommended mocks and got similar marks to you. Happy to say I passed on my 1st attempt. Your blog was of immense help and will recommend it to anyone!

    • Congratulations Big M! Thanks a lot for letting me know my sharing is useful to you!

      Would you please share your PMP experience in more depth to fellow PMP Aspirants. I am sure your sharing is very useful!

  4. Yoshan Ekanayake says:

    Hi does this mean that if I intend to collect more that 60 PDU’s within a 3 year cycle.. that I can only carry forward 20 to the next cycle given that the 20 excess PDU’s are earned in the 3rd year of the currecnt cycle. Thanks!

    “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

  5. Nathan says:

    I got my ITIL and Agile certificates before my PMP can i use them to get PDU?


    Your blog really helped me to earn my PMP on my first attempt. Learned how to study, how to practice and asses the exam readiness. I am lucky to find his blog as I am not sure how to study and practice. No word to explain how your blog helped me. Thanks a lot.

  7. Ajay says:

    I want to thank you such a great blog. It was of great Help during my PMP, PMI-ACP exams. I am PMP, PMI-ACP, Pricne2 Practitioner and ITILv3 Foundation certified. I did all this one certification last year and all are valid for PDU.

    My sequence for Certification & time spent is as below:
    1. PMi- ACP – 2 month
    2. PMP – 3 months
    3. ITIL v3 -3 weeks
    4. Prince2 Practitioner – 1.5 month

    Can you please help me update my PDU ? I am not sure how to split those PDU for hours sent in training & studying for this certification. Can you help me with PDU seperated by category?

    • Hi Ajay,

      You may need to ask the training providers for your PDU categories as the training would need to be validated by PMI for acceptance. The PDU categories are to be determined by lots of factors and your training providers are the ones who are in the best position to provide the information. Thanks!

  8. Srini says:

    I am now in suspension period of my PMP. I have been a practicing Program Manger during this time. However, I have not earned enough Study PDUs. If I complete required PDUs and submit, will I be able to renew my PMP? Please clarify.

  9. John says:

    I just renewed my PMP certification prior to the 5/16 expiration date and carried over 20 PDUs. I am now certified through 5/19 but I have earned many more than the 20 additional PDUs that I can carry forward. I was told by a colleague that if a PM has enough PDUs that he/she can certify ahead as far ahead as possible as long as they are willing to pay the certification cost. Supposedly, this would save the need of categorizing all the PDU’s into the new CCR system if you enter and pay before December, 2015. Do you know if a PM can certify ahead numerous cycles if willing to pay? And how would I do it?

    • Dear John,

      “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.” This would mean that you can only carry forward a maximum of 20 PDUs that are earned in the 3rd year. You will need to earn the rest 40 PDUs in your next PMP 3-year cycle.


  10. vishal says:


    Can you please tell me how to check my PDU, I remember taking ITIL examsand attending some sessions in 2013. I reported them and got approx 30 pdu’s , but now when I login I dont see my PDU score, how many I need to get more in order to maintain my certification.
    can you please guide me on checking my PDU score.


  11. Sudhan says:

    Hi Edward. Can my preparation for the PMI-ACP examination (30+ hours) be counted towards PMP PDUs against category C – Self directed Learning ? I have already claimed the 21 PDUs against the certification requirement ? Also, will this be simultaneously applied towards PMI-ACP PDU requirements as well ? I have passed the PMI-ACP examination a couple of days back. Thanks

    • 1) You may try, but it all depends on PMI whether to approve your claimed PDU.
      2) No, you need to get certified before you can get any PDU for the certification (i.e. the PDU activities need to be done after your PMI-ACP certification exam day).

  12. Clark says:

    Hi Edward, I’m a PMP entering the 3rd year, and have been earned more than 60 PDUs, and received the renewal email from PMI also.
    As mentioned by you that max 20 PDUs earned in 3rd year can be carried forward, so now can I still report the PDUs before the renewal?
    Also if I have around 6 months before the current cycle end, if I renew now, will the expiry date of next cycle be shortened? Or will add 3 years after then end of my current cycle? Many thanks.

    • Yes, you can still report PDU and get the PDU carried forward to your next PMP re-certification cycle. However, since PMI is changing the PDU structure this December (http://edward-designer.com/web/new-pmp-pdu-requirements/), you will need to take necessary actions to ensure the PDU reported complies with the new requirements (the info for this is not currently available, you will need to pay attention to news from PMI in the coming months).

      If you renew now, the expiry date will NOT be shortened but follow the expiry date of your current cycle. So, you can renew any time before the expiry date.

  13. Duane says:

    I have seen some confusion on the recording of Category C. The way I understand it, Category C must be recorded in full hour increments. Not allowed to record Category C in quarter hour increments.