As a Project Management Professional (PMP), maintaining your certification through PMP renewal is essential to stay current in the field of project management. One of the key requirements for PMP renewal is earning Professional Development Units (PDUs). In this article, we will explore how to earn PMP renewal with PDUs, various PDU options, recommended activities, and tips to ensure a successful and hassle-free renewal process.
Understanding PMP Renewal and PDUs
PMP certification is valid for three years. To maintain your PMP certification, you must earn and report a certain number of PDUs within this period. PDUs are a measurement unit used to quantify professional development activities. By earning PDUs, you demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth in project management.
Earning PDUs for PMP Renewal
There are various ways to earn PDUs for PMP renewal. Here are some common options:
- Education: Attending project management webinars, workshops, seminars, or conferences can earn you PDUs. Ensure that the educational activities are aligned with the PMI Talent Triangle®, which consists of technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management skills.
- Giving Presentations: Delivering presentations on project management topics at conferences or within your organization can earn you PDUs under the category of “Giving Back to the Profession.”
- Volunteer Work: Contributing to project management-related volunteer activities, such as serving on a project management committee or organizing professional events, can earn you PDUs.
- Writing and Publishing: Authoring project management articles, blogs, or books, or reviewing project management publications can earn you PDUs under the “Creating Content” category.
- Online Courses: Taking online project management courses or webinars from recognized providers can earn you PDUs. Ensure that the courses are approved by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
This isn’t the certification exam. You’ve already met those requirements. You have the education and field experience necessary and you have completed the 35 contact hours necessary to sit for the exam.
Most importantly, there isn’t an exam. You’ve passed, and one of the first things you need to do is start working towards renewal to keep your certificate current.
Every three years, PMI requires you to submit proof that you are the latest and best version of a project management professional that you can be and the following is how you do it.
Change is Good
The process of getting your PMP certification took into consideration your experience, and your knowledge. Issac Asimov said “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
As a PMP certificate holder, you are a problem solver. PMI sets certain standards that you have to meet, not just to get your certificate, but to hold your certificate. This is what PMP renewal is all about.
Most of the requirements are things you are already doing, it’s just a matter of keeping records and submitting your time. Professional Development Units (PDUs), and the outline that PMI gives you to earn them has been found to be the best way to keep your knowledge up to date.
All certifications through PMI require renewal, not just PMP. So learning about what it takes to get your PMP renewed can help with any other certificates, like CAPM, Agile, or Scrum.
Each certification requires you to report Professional Development Units (PDU) in order to meet your Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). PMI aims to preserve their status by maintaining yours. Ensuring that you are continuing to meet the rigorous demands of a project management professional, putting your best foot, or version, forward for years to come.
PDUs vs. Contact Hours
PDUs aren’t the same thing as contact hours. They can be earned the same way, through coursework but there are a variety of other ways to earn your PDUs as well.
PDUs also aren’t perpetual. Once they are submitted they can no longer be counted. The 35 contact hours that you earned in order to sit for your exam, on the other hand, never expire. You can use them for other certifications, such as Agile, or Scrum.
Contact hours are earned by learning the knowledge areas and processes in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). The exam is centered around this knowledge. PDUs, however, are earned by retaining and updating your understanding of what it means to be in the field of project management.
When and How Many PDUs Do You Need?
Every three years, from the date you received your certificate, you will be required to submit 60 PDUs for renewal. If you received your PMP on October 2, three years later, PMI will need your renewal packet completed.
PDUs can be earned in a variety of ways and many of them you were planning on or have already completed. By understanding and planning ahead, which is what you excel at, and taking the Agile approach, constantly adapting to meet the needs of your profession, you are well on your way.
Tips for a Successful PMP Renewal
To ensure a successful PMP renewal process, consider the following tips:
- Plan Ahead: Be aware of your certification expiration date and start planning for PDU earning activities well in advance. This will give you enough time to complete the required PDUs and gather the necessary documentation.
- Diversify Your Activities: Aim to earn PDUs across different categories, such as education, giving back to the profession, and working as a professional. This will provide a well-rounded professional development experience.
- Keep Records: Maintain a record of your PDU-earning activities, including certificates of completion, event agendas, and any other supporting documents. This will make it easier to report and verify your earned PDUs during the renewal process.
- Stay Updated: Keep yourself informed about the latest changes in PDU categories and requirements by regularly visiting the PMI website or attending updates and information sessions organized by PMI chapters or other project management associations.
- Network and Share: Engage with other project management professionals through forums, communities, or local PMI chapters. Networking can provide valuable insights, opportunities, and recommendations for earning PDUs.
Ways To Earn PDUs
Sixty sounds like a lot, but when you break it down over three years, that’s a half a week of work each year. As stated above, many of the items that can be submitted are tasks you are or were going to complete anyway.
PMI has broken down the PDU requirements into two classifications, Education and Giving Back to help you know where you stand. Both of these have several categories to choose from. There are limits, so make sure to document another thing you are a pro at.
Before going forward let’s talk a little about PMI membership.
Final Steps: Reporting your PDUs
On the PMI website you will find the CCRS portal. Use your User ID and Password to login. Make sure you have the following information available:
- Provider Name/ID
- Title of the course
- Start and end date of the course
- Number of PDUs you are claiming under Technical, Leadership and Strategic & Business Management
You can login and submit throughout the three years and PMI recommends that you do this so that you aren’t left short at the end. You will be able to see the completed PDUs on your dashboard and know what you still need to complete, including what areas of the triangle may be lacking.
PMI can audit your renewal just as they can your initial certification information. Make sure to keep and submit accurate records.
Remember, you can earn PDUs just for being you. You have value as a PMP certificate holder. You are the latest version, the newest update. You have the technology. You’re a Project Management Professional.
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Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
Earning PMP renewal with PDUs is a vital step to maintain your PMP certification and stay up to date in the field of project management. By exploring various PDU options, engaging in relevant activities, and following best practices, you can meet the PDU requirements and demonstrate your commitment to continuous professional development. Embrace the PDU-earning journey as an opportunity to enhance your knowledge, expand your network, and elevate your project management career.
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