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 training, self-learning, attending Project/Program Management related seminars and workshops, doing voluntary work for Project Management communities or organizations.
This article is meant for current Project Management Professional (PMP) credential holders. PMP aspirants are also encouraged to read this information.
Myth #1: You need to write papers, articles or books on Project Management to re-certify
Not necessarily. There are other alternatives. Read on.
Myth #2: You need to attend class room training to earn PDUs
Not necessarily again. I have good news for you. Stay with me.
Myth #3: Recertification requires time, energy and lot of money
Well, it does require time, energy and motivation, but it is not necessarily expensive.
My Experience After I passed my PMP exam, I experienced a sense of relief and satisfaction. Three months of rigorous preparation had turned into sweet success. I also received good recognition for my achievement, from my employer. I was on a high, and time whizzed-by. Before I knew, six months had passed. That's when it struck me that PMP Certification is not forever. I need to re-certify (by earning 60 PDUs) every three years in order to maintain my credentials. But I was left with not three, but only two and a half years to achieve this target.
I started searching for information on earning PDUs and found a lot of it. So much so that I was totally overwhelmed and confused. I had no idea where to begin from and where these 60 PDUs would come from. I found several courses, which offered 20-30 PDUs, but costed hundreds of dollars. I certainly did not want to spend this amount of money every year on earning PDUs. I said to myself that with 250 thousand PMPs out there, there ought to be some easier and cost-effective ways to get these PDUs. So, I decided to dig further.
Gradually, the hard work started paying off. I started finding several good and effective ways to earn these PDUs, without burning a hole in my pocket. Just to give you an idea, I managed to earn 35 PDUs within just 5 months using the sources listed below, and without spending too much money. I shared these ideas with many of my fellow PMP friends and colleagues. Their positive response encouraged me to create this lens.
With this article, my aim is to help familiarize fellow PMPs with the 'simplest' and most 'economical' means to earn the 60 PDUs, which will qualify for PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR).
Do what good Project Managers do
Image credit: Flickr / cubistscarborough 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).
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 as possible in your Certification Cycle.
Know the Categories of PDUs: There are five categories under which you can earn PDUs. Those categories include:
- Category A: Courses offered by PMI's R.E.P.s or Chapters and Communities
- Category B: Continuing education - formal education or training
- Category C: Self-Directed Learning
- Category D: Creating New Project Management Knowledge
- Category E: Volunteer Service
- Category F: Working as a Professional in Project Management
- 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 system 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 PMI Continuing Certification Requirements System Website: Last, but not the least, review the PMI Continuing Certification Requirements System website for a deeper insight into PMI's CCR Program.
PDU Category Caps and Rules
Take a few minutes to understand the PDU Category caps and rules:
PMI PDU Category Caps and Rules
Let's get to the point
Image credit: Flickr / a2gemma 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 F - 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 C - Self-Directed Learning activities: Claim upto 30 PDUs per CC. This includes:
- Reading project management related books (say 10 PDUs)
- Listening to free podcasts available online (say 10 PDUs). Some sources of free podcasts:
- Developing skills in project management tools such as MS Project (say 10 PDUs). I recommend Microsoft Project 2013 - The Missing Manual.
Note: There is no limit to the number of PDUs that you can earn in Category A.
4. Category A - Attend free Webinars: Even if you attend 2 webinars per calendar year, you can achieve 6 PDUs per CC. Some sources of free webinars:
- International Institute for Learning (IIL): Offering dozens of free webinars worth 1-2 PDU each. Update Nov 4, 2013: While IIL continues to offer some free webinars, it has started charging a small fee for a majority of the content, which used to be free.
- ESI International: Offering several On-Demand webinars, which can be downloaded for free.
- RMC Project Management: Currently offering about 5 free webinars worth 1 PDU each. You need to register for an account (free) in order to access the webinars.
The PDU Podcast - Simply the most convenient way to earn PDUs If you want to take your Project Management skills to the next level, then you should consider investing in the PDU Podcast series from Cornelius Fichtner, PMP. It's a subscription based program, which allows you to earn PDUs by simply listening to Podcasts on your computer, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry or any similar device. It offers at least 1 PDU every month and a total of 20 PDUs every year. It comes with 2 subscription options - monthly or yearly. The episodes are delivered to you automatically every month.
It offers quality education at a reasonable price. If you wish, you can earn all your 60 PDUs by subscribing to this single program for 3 years. It can't get more convenient than this. It's ideal for people who want to maintain their PMP Certification, but do not want the hassles of searching for free PDUs resources.
Read a comprehensive review and get promotional discount coupons here: The PDU Podcast: Your PMP Certification Renewal on Auto-Pilot.
Become a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Expert - Earn 5 PDUs under Category C 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. You'll not only learn how to use the WBS appropriately and effectively, but also become an expert at that. Read full Review of WBS Coach for details.
More Free PDU Options!! I update this list as and when I find more PDU resources.
(Category B) Systemation’s free archived webinar recordings on project management, business analysis, and agile development are a perfect way to earn PMI PDUs. You can earn up to 30 PDUs (one for each webinar viewed) per PMI certification cycle.
(Category A) Earn 10+ PDUs by viewing pre-recorded webinars.
Corporate Educational Group
(Category A) CEG's webinars are free informational programs that are available in both live and on-demand formats. During these 1-hour sessions, CEG's subject matter experts will bring you up-to-speed on timely themes in project management, business analysis, management, leadership, and business process management.
Cadence Management Corporation
(Category A) Cadence MC is a PMI REP and offers a collection about 20 free webinars on their website.
(Category A) Earn PDUs by attending free webinars. Read my review on PMSoft Webinar.
(Category A) Currently offers 2 free (recorded) webinars worth 1 PDU each.
(Category A) Mine of free webinars
Project Management Bookstore Author Webinar Series
(Category B) Earn PDUs for PMP re-certification by attending Author Webinar Series from The Project Management Bookstore. They conduct one webinar every month. You can register in advance to attend live webinars for free, but it's open to first 1000 registered participants only. You also have the option to view recordings of all the past webinars.
PMCentersUSA Complimentary Webinars
(Category A) Attend complimentary webinars from PMCentersUSA and earn 0.5 PDU per session for your PMP re-certification.
Get 120 PDUs. Stanford University graduate-level education for working professionals. Master of science degrees, graduate and professional certificates and courses. Delivered online, on campus, and on-site.
How do I report PDUs to PMI for my PMP Certification renewal?
Step-by-step Instructions for Reporting PDUs Reporting PDUs is convenient through PMI's CCR System. Read PMP Renewal: How to Report PDUs to PMI to learn the step-by-step instructions for reporting PDUs to PMI.
Submit your suggestions for PDU resources here Feel free to make your own contributions to this list and help your fellow PMPs by posting your comments below.
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Image credit: Flickr / ivanwalsh | Flickr / cubistscarborough | Flickr / a2gemma