This article educates the project management reader about the terminology, procedures, use of, and applicability of Professional Development Units (PDU). PDU requirements are determined by a Project Management Professional’s (PMP®) years of experience and certification status.

What is a PDU?

PDU is an acronym for Professional Development Unit. Each unit equals a one-hour time block that represents your continuing education, volunteering, teaching, or other learning action. PDUs apply only to project managers who are already credential holders or certified by Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI requires anyone holding a valid credential to maintain it on a recurring basis by earning PDUs through a claim process. Earning PDUs and the process of claiming and gaining approval is part of PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program.

PDU Process

The PMI website and the CCR Handbook documents the PDU process.

Each of the current certifications offered by PMI requires the credential holder to maintain their certified status. Certifications are valid for a set period of time, primarily three years. Without renewing it through the claims process, it will expire. For example, someone with the PMP® credential will need to submit claims every three years and have PMI renew the credential for the next three years.

PMI Talent Triangle
Figure 1

Claims made for PDUs are generally for one of two reasons:

  1. Continuing Education: The credential holder has expanded their knowledge and/or enhanced their technical, leadership, or strategic and business management skills.
  2. Professional Contribution: The credential holder has given back to the project management profession by sharing or utilizing their knowledge and skills.

PDU Requirements

Credential holders cannot simply take any class through an education provider and then make a claim for PDUs. This is true for two reasons.

First, each credential’s renewal requires a balance of education between technical, leadership, and strategic and business management, as defined by the PMI Talent Triangle™ (Figure 1).

What is a PDU - PMI requirements
Figure 2

Second, each credential establishes its own balance of hours between the three Talent Triangle domains. Again, using the PMP® credential as an example, Figure 2 indicates that 60 PDUs are required every three years to renew. The breakdown across the domains is minimally 35 for education and 25 for giving back, with further itemization under education.

What is a PDU - CCRS dashboard
Figure 3

To make a claim as a credential holder, log into your PMI account on www.pmi.org and access the CCRS (Continuing Certification Requirements System). There you will find a dashboard (Figure 3) showing your current credential(s), renewal dates, and the amount of PDUs earned and required. For example, this individual is a current PMP® credential holder, has already claimed many PDUs, and requires additional education hours.

PDU Options

In addition to classes that already have PDU approval by PMI, students can submit claim requests for other classes and educational opportunities. For instance, if you attend an Excel, Power BI, or another class at Springhouse intended to improve how you administer stakeholder information for your projects, you can submit a claim for PDU credits through the CCRS system. (Figure 4)

What is a PDU - PMI course training claim
Figure 4

Springhouse Catalog of PDU-approved Classes

What is a PDU - PMI ATP Search
Figure 5

Springhouse is an Authorized Training Partner (ATP)® of PMI and offers a variety of classes that apply towards claiming PDUs. Visit the Springhouse Course Catalog and filter PDU-approved classes.

Plus, you can visit PMI’s website for Learning & Events and search for Springhouse courses. (Figure 5)

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