What Project Management Professionals need to know about professional development

Attaining certification is only the beginning—PMPs must maintain professional development units (PDUS) to keep their professional status.

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Keeping your skills up-to-date and your mind sharp is vital to maintaining your value as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

After going through great lengths to achieve your professional certification, a PMP needs to continue to meet professional development requirements in order to keep a professional status. Further, PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program states that all certified members must complete a specified number of Professional Development Units (PDUs) to demonstrate their commitment to professional growth.

Never fear. Here is everything you need to know about achieving your PDUs.

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H2PDU requirements

Every three years, PMI certified professionals with the credentials listed below are required to submit a list of 60 PDUs in order to keep their credentials in good standing.

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  • Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

Types of PDUs

Each PDU consists of one hour of either learning, teaching others, or volunteering.

Learning or teaching

Education options fall into the skill categories of technical, leadership, or strategic and can be accumulated through formal channels like courses and training, company-wide meetings, and digital media, or informal learning activities like reading. Education PDUs can be split as follows:

  • Formal or informal options: Includes either instructor-led courses through PMI SeminarsWorld (a collection of small group, in-person training courses held in cities across the US), web-based on-demand courses, formal academic education through the PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC), PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) training, or other third-party course providers.
  • Company-wide meetings: Includes options like being a keynote speaker, taking educational classes and sessions at PMI events or through the PMI events calendar, and attending chapter events. It is worth mentioning that these types of PDUs are usually limited to one to two PDUs.

Reading and informal learning

  • Online or digital media can be gained through self-directed learning options like ProjectManagement.com, a PMI education website, or through other web-based course options and other informal learning opportunities.


Another option is to practice the art of giving back through volunteer work. Volunteer work can be achieved through volunteering certain hours in a work setting, content creation, giving presentations, mentoring others, or volunteering for activities through PMI, all aimed at knowledge sharing.

If you are unsure of where to find volunteer opportunities, PMI offers numerous options such as: becoming a PMI Board of Directors member; joining a support or standards committee; part of the PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF), or joining one of the Member Advisory Groups (MAGs).

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PMI Talent Triangle

PMI shares the Talent Triangle (a combination of skills that employers value), to help guide you through the process of acquiring PDUs. The Talent Traingle break down the nature of the skills you should aim to acquire, which includes technical, leadership, and strategic and business management knowledge and skills.

Technical knowledge and skill sets should cover topics like project, program, and portfolio management. Leadership should focus on the types of interactions and behaviors around how to direct, motivate, and mentor those around you. Strategic & Business Management skills and knowledge should cover topics like strategic planning, strategy, and business oversight.

To find out more about professional development and PDUs, the Project Management Institute has a Continuing Certification Requirements Handbook that can be downloaded.

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By Moira Alexander

Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large busine...