If you are a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), you know the importance of maintaining your certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI). As a PMP, you are required to earn a specific number of Professional Development Units (PDUs) to renew your certification every three years. PDUs are a way of measuring your ongoing professional development and demonstrating your commitment to staying up-to-date with industry best practices. Here’s how to earn free PDUs online.
What Are PMP PDUs?
The Project Management Professional certification is often referred to as just PMP. This certification is given by the Project Management Institute to project managers who are able to pass their rigorous exam for their PMP certification. In order to qualify for the Project Management Professional certification exam, there are a few requirements you must meet beforehand.
First and foremost, you must acquire 35 hours of PM education in order to qualify for this exam. You can earn these hours by attending a PMP training, but be sure not to mix up contact hours with Professional Development Units (PDU), as this is a common misconception. Many PMP students look to gain 35 PDUs of PMP training in order to complete the project management training and education requirements section of the PMP certification prerequisites.
Professional Development Unit, shortened to PDU, is a phrase you will see in relation to renewing your PMP certification. If you already acquired your PMP certificate, now you must focus on earning 60 PMP PDUs every 3 years, starting from the date you got it, in order to keep your certification valid and active. There are a few different ways to get a PMP PDU. It’s mostly up to what you enjoy most about the learning process. It is possible to attend webinars, training, online PMP PDU courses, get book referrals, go to conferences, and more.
There are plenty of ways to renew your certification depending on your availability and educational goals. To be able to take the Project Management Professional certification exam, it is important that you attend thirty-five contact hours of PM education. It is common for PMP students to confuse “PDU” with “contact hours” as people often go around looking for free ways to earn PMP PDUs in order to earn education requirements.
In the case you don’t yet have your PMP certificate but are looking to take the exam, you must earn the 35 hours first. Next, we will explore how you may be able to earn contact hours for free when you sit to take the Project Management Professional certification exam, and at the same time focus on reaching your project management goals.
PDU hours and contact hours are two different things. The Project Management Institute has outlined specific guidelines for what qualifies as contact hours, so people don’t get confused. The PMI states what their expectations in what instructional hours need to look like so they can meet the qualifications. Keep in mind that if you want to renew your PMP certification, the PMP PDU requirements will be different.
The Difference Between Getting Free PMP PDUs and Getting Free Contact Hours
If you read a book training on PMP practices, the PMI will not qualify that as an acceptable source that will go toward your 35 contact hours of PM education. With that being said, if you already have a PMP certification and are simply aiming to renew it, the time you spent reading a PM book is going to pass as a way to get some free PMP PDU. Remember that contact hours need to be taught in a professional setting, or by a professional trainer or PM expert. You are able to earn PDUs when you study for the exam yourself.
It’s no secret that it can be a challenge to obtain the full 35 hours of project management training that will count towards your contact hours requirement, even when you have free resources available to you. You might meet all of the requirements, but they may not be comprehensive, or detailed enough to truly prepare you for the PMP exam.
Getting Free PMP PDU To Renew Your PMP certification
If you already have a PMP certification and are on the hunt for free PMP PDU resources, you are in the right place. It is essential for you to earn sixty PMP PDUs every 3 years in order to keep your certification active. When looking how to get PMP PDUs for free, there are 2 different categories that can help you earn your free PMP PDU.
The 2 categories are as follows:
- Giving back free PMP PDU category
- 8 Technical PDU (min)
- 8 Strategic PDU (min)
- 8 Leadership PDU (min)
- *Remaining 11 PDU can be from any area of the PMI Talent Triangle
- Education free PMP PDU category
- Work as Practitioner (maximum 8 PDUs)
- *Other Categories: Create Content, Give a Presentation, Share Knowledge, Volunteer
It is important that you earn a minimum of 35 PDUs that come from the education section, along with a minimum of 8 PDUs from every side of the Project Management Institute talent triangle. These three categories are strategic, technical, and leadership. You must complete a minimum of 35 education PDU requirements for PMI, and keep in mind that there is no max. Therefore, you can earn all the PDUs from the education category you want, as long as you are able to complete a minimum of 8 PDUs from each category of the triangle.
If you are a student balancing a busy professional career with home and personal life responsibilities, it may not be overly easy to find PMP PDU resources for free. It can be time-consuming, difficult, and you might end up having to attend classes in-person.
Why Renewing Your PMP Certification is Important
Renewing your PMP certification is crucial for several reasons:
- 1. Professional Credibility: Maintaining an active PMP certification enhances your professional credibility and demonstrates your commitment to excellence in project management.
- 2. Career Advancement: Many organizations value PMP-certified professionals and consider PMP certification as a requirement for higher-level project management positions.
- 3. Networking Opportunities: Renewing your certification allows you to stay connected with the PMP community, attend industry events, and access valuable networking opportunities.
- 4. Knowledge Refresh: The process of earning PDUs for renewal encourages continuous learning and helps you stay updated with the latest project management trends and practices.
Earning PDUs Online for Free
Renewing your PMP certification doesn’t have to be a costly process. There are various online platforms and resources that offer free PDUs for PMP credential holders. Here are some ways to earn PDUs online without spending a fortune:
- 1. Webinars and Online Events: Many professional organizations and project management communities host webinars and online events that provide free PDUs. These events cover a wide range of project management topics and offer opportunities to learn from industry experts.
- 2. Online Courses and Tutorials: Several online platforms offer free courses and tutorials specifically designed to earn PDUs. These courses cover various project management areas and allow you to learn at your own pace.
- 3. Industry Blogs and Podcasts: Reading project management blogs or listening to project management podcasts can earn you PDUs. Many content creators offer PDU-eligible materials, and by consuming their content, you can earn PDUs while staying informed about industry trends.
- 4. Volunteering: Participating in project management-related volunteer activities can earn you PDUs. Look for opportunities to volunteer in your local community or through online platforms that connect professionals with non-profit organizations.
- 5. Self-Directed Learning: Engaging in self-directed learning activities, such as reading project management books, conducting research, or completing self-paced online courses, can also earn you PDUs.
Keeping Track of Your PDUs
Once you have earned PDUs through various online activities, it is important to keep track of them to ensure you meet the renewal requirements. PMI provides an online platform called the Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS), where you can log and manage your PDUs. It allows you to submit your earned PDUs and monitor your progress towards renewal.
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial! 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
Sign-up for a 7-day free trial!
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
Renewing your PMP certification by earning free PDUs online is not only cost-effective but also an opportunity to enhance your project management skills and knowledge. By taking advantage of webinars, online courses, volunteering, and self-directed learning, you can maintain your professional credibility, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and continue advancing your project management career. Remember to keep track of your earned PDUs using PMI’s CCRS platform to ensure a smooth certification renewal process.
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