Once you are done celebrating your PMP® success you need to take a deep breath and figure out what you need to do to earn the required 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) necessary to maintain and renew your certification. Those three years before the need to renew will pass faster than you think. You can’t just jump into earning PDUs without understanding the rules and policies the Project Management Institute (PMI)® has in place. Doing so would be like walking into a sports arena and starting to play American football without having ever read the rules of the game. You’ll make a lot of mistakes and probably walk away with a few broken bones.
No one wants get injured from simply not understanding the rules of the game. Here we are going to take a look at PMI’s rules for PMP PDUs contained within the Continuing Certification Requirements Handbook. This Handbook covers all certifications offered by PMI that require renewal. So, when you read over the renewal requirements, it is OK to skip over all those not related to PMP renewal. Some important aspects covered in the Handbook include Education PDUs vs Giving Back PDUs, the talent triangle, and minimum and maximum PDU requirements. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, a PMP credential holder needs to know how to earn those very critical PDUs.
There are two basic categories of PDUs:
The Education category covers learning activities that allow a PMP credential holder to expand their technical, leadership, or strategic & business management skills as defined in the PMI Talent Triangle™. The PMI Talent Triangle covers these three skill sets to ensure PMP credential holders remain current in a business environment that is continually changing. For that reason, PMP credential holders are required to earn a specific number of PDUs in each of these three skill sets.
The Giving Back to the Profession category covers activities that allow you to share your knowledge by contributing to and helping to build the profession. These activities can include your work as a project management practitioner, the creation of new content such as writing an article or book, giving a presentation related to the profession, sharing your knowledge through mentoring or teaching and volunteering on a PMI committee.
There are a variety of methods to obtain PDUs in the Education category that include attending a formal instructor-led course such as a PMI chapter educational event or college course, an organizational meeting such as a local PMI chapter meeting, self-paced online learning such as a webinar, self-directed reading relevant to project management, and informal learning such as a PM “lunch and learn” hosted by your employer.
For each hour you spend one PDU can be earned with the exception of working as a practitioner. If you plan to apply for the working as a practitioner PDUs as a PMP you can claim no more than eight PDUs per three-year cycle.
For PMP renewal, you must earn 60 PDUs during your three-year renewal cycle which starts once you pass the PMP exam. Keep in mind that out of 60 a minimum of 35 must be earned in the Education category while the maximum for the Giving Back category is 25. Of the 35 that must be earned under the Education category you need to earn a minimum of eight PDUs within each of the three skill sets of technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management as defined by the PMI Talent Triangle. The remaining 11 can be from any area of the Talent Triangle. If you wish you can earn all 60 PMP PDUs within the Education category as long as you meet the requirements of the PMI Talent Triangle.
Now that you understand the rules, how do you actually earn PDUs? Here are three ideas:
The first and most popular method is to utilize online or digital media as your PMP PDU course such as those offered by The PDU Podcast™ at www.pducast.com. Online courses like these are available from many providers, are easy to consume and cover a surprising breadth and depth of knowledge. So, you'll learn something new with every course you watch. Even better: if you purchase online or digital media from a PMI Authorized Training Partner (ATP) then you will receive "pre-approved" PDUs. This means that your PDU claim for these courses will be approved by PMI without question because the company that provides them is registered with PMI.
Second, you can also claim PDUs for your work as a project management practitioner. In other words, you'll get PDUs just for doing your job. It can be worth up to eight PMP PDUs per cycle. Here, PMI may require you to provide proof of employment and your job description to claim these PDUs.
Lastly, you can earn PDUs by volunteering for your local PMI Chapter. A list of these local chapters is on the PMI website at https://www.pmi.org/membership/chapters. However, it doesn't have to be a PMI chapter. There are other project management organizations around the world and volunteering for any of those counts.
Online or digital media, working as a practitioner, and volunteering are just three out the many ways available for earning PDUs. For the complete list -- you guessed it -- please read the CCR Handbook.
In this article, we have provided a basic overview of the rules put into place by PMI for PMP renewal and the type and number of PDU credits needed. To get a complete understanding of the rules and requirements we recommend you download and read the Continuing Certification Requirements Handbook from the PMI website using this shortened link: http://www.pm-prepcast.com/pmphb.
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