Keep your PMP fresh with PDUs

July 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, PMI | Leave a comment
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Now that you have that PMP credential framed in gold and proudly mounted over your mantle, you are probably interested in maintaining it. Having undergone the extensive application process the first time, you’d be loathe to have your certification expire and begin the application all over, not to mention the stress of taking the exam again. As with most things in life, it’s not just the achievement that matters, but also maintaining it for the long run.

Every three years, you will need to renew your PMP credential (unless you fall into the partial year extension outlined by PMP). If you forget to do so (like I did recently), then you will be suspended from the program for up to one year. During that year you cannot associate the PMP logo with your name, but you can still earn credits towards its renewal. After a year, you will lose the PMP credential completely and must re-apply and take the certification exam again.

There was an easy way for me to avoid the hassle of having my certification expire. If you read on, I’ll share the secret.

First, a quick background review. For any PMP certification holder to renew, you will need to participate in PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program. Adhering to the CCR Program means that you earn the required number of Professional Development Units (PDUs) and pay a renewal fee ($60 for PMI members, $150 for everyone else).  PMP certification requires 60 PDUs be earned in the three-year certification cycle.

A single PDU represents 60 minutes spent in learning, teaching, planning or executing a discipline in a structured project management environment. Although PMI provides an exhaustive list of all twelve types of PDU activity, here are some of the most common categories:

  • Formal Academic Education: Taking classes with a curricula that meet PMI standards for project management.
  • Self-Directed learning: Non-official learning sources, such as sessions with co-workers or reading books on project management. You can earn 9% of your PDU requirement through self-study, or 15 total PDUs.
  • Authoring or contributing to an article: Writing articles, white papers, or books that pertain to a project management discipline or best practice. Publishing in a refereed journal earns more PDUs than publishing in a non-refereed journal, but both will earn PDUs.
  • Speaker, panel member or instructor: Providing official training on a topic related to a project management discipline or best practice.
  • Project management practitioner: Actually practicing project management is considered on-the-job training. Any project-related activity you perform, including planning, execution, and evaluation, can be submitted for up to 15 PDUs (9% of your total required PDUs) for the three-year cycle.
  • Volunteer officer or committee member at a not-for-profit organization: That’s right, as long as there is some project management activity, you can do good work and earn up to 20 PDUs. And what volunteer organization do you know of that doesn’t engage in project management to some degree?

Each of these PDU categories can count towards renewal, but as I mentioned above, there are some PDU limits in each renewal cycle. For detailed information, consult the following resources:

How do you report these PDUs? PMI makes it easy, both on their website and within your PMI transcript.

  • From the PMI website, download the PDU Activity Reporting Form:
  • In your PMI transcript, you will click the Report professional development units (PDUs) to see your current PDU activity. To log new PDU activity, you will use the Report PDU link.

As you submit PDU credits through your transcript, you will receive almost instantaneous confirmation of approval or rejection. Any reported credits over the 60 required for 3-year renewal will be applied to the next renewal cycle.  That means if you register PDUs throughout the three-year cycle as you earn them, then the actual renewal process will require nothing more than a payment of the fees.

Just as the original application process is greatly simplified by good record-keeping beforehand, so is the PMP renewal process. Now that you know how to keep your PMP credential current, you need not worry about taking that beautiful certificate down from the mantle.

–Joshua Hester

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