You achieved your goal, and now you are a certified PMP, PgMP, PfMP, or PMI-PBA! – What’s next?
Project Managers that have received their PMP, PgMP, PfMP, or PMI-PBA certification and become “Certified Professionals” are required to earn (60) professional development units (PDUs) during a three-year time period to maintain their certification or be required to re-take the exam. Other certifications, such as the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) also have a PDU requirement (15 in a 3-year period). This is new, as in the past you had to re-take the exam to maintain your certification. The requirement to earn PDUs sometimes referred to in other industries as CEs (Continuing Education) is common for professional certifications and licenses, i.e. for Architects, Engineers, and Teachers
Getting PDUs has historically been a struggle for many and could be quite expensive, but with fewer restrictions and more resources available, it is easier than ever to get the PDUs required to meet the PMP PDU requirement. After getting your certification, earning PDUs needs to be your next focus, after all, you just spent a lot of time and money doing the studying and testing and you don’t want to let your certification lapse. There are two main categories for earning PDUs, Education, and Giving Back. Each of these has sub-categories or options to achieve the required PDUs and depending on the option may have minimum or maximum limits.
You will need a minimum of (35) PDUs in the Education area, however, you can earn all (60) required by just focusing on the Education area. Education PDUs are earned by increasing your knowledge related to your certification. Education PDUs have three sub-categories with minimum PDU requirements as well: Technical (8), Leadership (8), and Strategic Business (8). Obviously 8+8+8=24, so you can earn more than (8) in a single category, but you will be required to earn at least (8) in each one.
You can earn these PDUs multiple ways:
Course or Training:
Attend education courses or classes in-person or online
Meetings, activities, and local events related to the profession (Maximum of 2 PDUs) and can be professional meetings that include an educational component. Consider joining a local PMI chapter, not only for the PDUs but for the education and networking opportunities.
Online or Digital Media:
Self-paced learning conducted online or through varied forms of digital media like videos and webinars.
Self-directed reading that is relevant to the certification you hold. This is easier to track when it is an audible book, because the book length is typically included when you buy the title.
Educational opportunities focused on structured discussions
Giving back PDUs recognizes you for helping to advance the profession by sharing and applying your knowledge in the field and educating others.
Work as a Practitioner:
Are you a project manager, project coordinator, project procurement manager, or PMO leader? You can earn up to (8) PDUs per cycle by working as a practitioner.
You can earn (1) PDU per (1) hour of content creation for blog posts, magazine articles, webinars, and videos that are about project management. This is a great way to earn PDUs, while at the same time educating others and getting your self-recognized.
You can earn (1) PDU per hour of activity that includes the research and preparation of the presentation. Places you can present to include: your workplace, your local PMI chapter, your community college. This includes online presentations.
You can earn (1) PDU per (1) hour of coaching and mentoring by using your experience to help others.
You can earn (1) PDU for each hour of non-compensated volunteering at organizations that are not your job or client organizations. Consider volunteering your services for not-for-profit organizations.
For all of the above areas, be sure to keep copies of all your content, presentations, meeting invites, etc. in case you are asked to provide proof to PMI. I recommend screenshots and save them in a Word or other document in a folder along with your tracking spreadsheet.
REPORTING YOUR PDUS
You have your PMP certification, and you have the resources to earn your PDUS – Now you have to track them to get credit.
To get credit, you will need to properly document all of the PDUs that you earn and have them ready to submit to PMI if requested. For example, for webinars, you should document the date, time, duration, provider, description, and any notes that you take. You should also document the URL and take a screenshot of the landing page/sign-up page.
Many providers will have the PDUs or timeframes documented by category, to make it easy for you to track, but some will not. The formula for calculating PDUs is 1 PDU per 1 hour of learning, so a 30-minute Podcast is worth 1/2 or .5 credits. Keep in mind that they need to be specific to your certification, so make sure you are gathering all the data, such as length, link, author, notes, etc. – You may need to back it up. My recent experience is that you typically will get approved within 24 hours – even on the weekends. Below are some links to get more detailed information on PDUs from the PMI website
You can track your PDUs at the PMI website via the links provided above, but instead of tracking my PDUS by logging in each time I earn something, I created a PDU tracking spreadsheet that I fill out and enter periodically at the PMI website. I can use the information for my next go around when I need to recertify, by going back to the original resources and see if there is new content that I can use.
By the way, there is a cost to recertify, but it is much less than studying and retaking the exam every three years! And of course, you will get a discount for being a PMI member. Non-PMI members will pay $150 for the PMP, and PMI members will pay $60.
It’s time to get your PDU tracking spreadsheet and start getting those PMP PDUs under your belt!
As it looks like this pandemic is not ending anytime soon, in the next post, I am going to talk about productively and professionally working from home.
Till then – keep working on your craft!