How to Report Professional Development Units (PMI PDUs) for Your PMI Credential

How to Claim Professional Development Units (PDUs) for Your PMI Credential

Introduction: Three Reasons Why PMI Certifications Add Value To Your Career

The Project Management Institute’s certifications such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) are valuable. Each year, PMI publishes salary surveys showing the high income earned by project managers. Ever wondered why PMP certification makes you so valuable? There are three reasons:

  1. Joining An Exclusive Club Via PMI’s Challenging Application ProcessThe challenging process required to earn the certification is the first key to the process. To earn the PMP, you need to have a certain level of professional experience, complete an exam and fulfill other requirements. Those steps discourage many people from earning the certification. As a result, the PMP certification is more valuable than other certifications that are easier to gain.
  2. Increased Confidence From Learning A Globally Acknowledge Framework These certifications equip with a mental framework that let you approach and understand any project. You will also become a project management insider because you will know all of the field’s specialized terminology. By understanding the relationship between project activities, processes, inputs, and outputs, you can jump into any part of the project. Your understanding of each part of project management shows you are a flexible, versatile professional.
  3. Staying Current By Investing In Continuing Education Process

Keeping your skills sharp through continuing education is the hallmark of top professionals. Physicians, accountants, and nurses are a few of the professions that take courses and other development activities to stay current. The situation for a project manager is somewhat different: you can work as a project manager without a PMP certification. That means you have the opportunity to stand out by earning and maintaining a certification. Further, investing in continuing education means you will stay current with technology.

If you have already earned your PMP certification, you now have the responsibility to earn and report professional development (PDUs) credits. This guide will walk you through the process to report PDUs and stay current on your PMP certification.

1. Understand The PMI System For Continuing Education

Project Management Institute (PMI) credential holders earn and report PDUs in two categories: education and giving back. Both categories have a role to play in building a successful career. As of 2017, PMP credential holders are required to earn 60 PDUs in each three-year certification cycle. Under the giving back category, you may claim a maximum of 25 PDUs. For example, if you volunteer with a PMI chapter, you may be able to claim PDUs for that contribution. Under the education category, the minimum PDU requirement is 35 PDUs. Therefore, a PMP credential holder may fulfill their continuing education requirement solely with education PDUs or a combination of the two categories.

Within the education category, each PMP credential holder must earn a certain number of PDUs in the following areas:

  • Technical: 8 PDUs
  • Leadership: 8 PDUs
  • Strategic and Business Management: 8 PDUs

After satisfying those requirements, you can have much wider options to decide what to study next.

Important Note: PMI periodically changes the certification requirements and the continuing education program. Further, PMI has the sole discretion to approve PDU claims. For the latest information on PMI certifications, please visit http://www.pmi.org/. At the time of this writing, 1 PDU is equal to one hour of learning. Therefore, the requirement to earn 60 PDUs represents a requirement to spend sixty hours on professional development activities.

1.1. Introducing The Education Category for PDUs

The Project Management Institute created the talent triangle concept to guide project managers in continuing education and development. This triangle is based on the premise that effective project management requires three capabilities: technical, leadership and strategic and business management. To maintain your certification, you need to understand the talent triangle and how it informs PMI’s requirements. At the end of this section, you will understand exactly how it works.

Area 1: Technical Project Management. This area that most people associate with project management activities. Examples of the topics covered by this area include:

  • Requirements management
  • Time, budget and cost estimation
  • Data gathering and modeling
  • Earned value management

Area 2: Strategic Business Management. To plan and execute their projects, project professionals need to understand management. These skills will also help you better understand the needs of other stakeholders such as finance, operations, and sales. Examples of the topics covered by this area include:

  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Industry knowledge and standards
  • Benefits management and realization
  • Customer relationship and satisfaction

Area 3: Leadership Skills. The best project plan and schedule have no value if the project team is disengaged or disinterested. Motivating the project team to achieve success comes down to leadership. If you are interested in program management and other leadership roles, leadership should be a focus for you. Examples of the topics covered by this area include:

  • Influencing
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Brainstorming
  • Negotiation

1.2 Giving Back To The Profession PDUs

PMI recognizes that formal education is not the only way to learn and grow professionally. Depending on your situation, you have the option to earn PDUs outside the classroom. Consider the following examples of Giving Back PDUs:

  • Volunteering. Whether you volunteer with PMI or another organization, volunteer work counts toward your PDU requirements. Note that non-PMI volunteer organizations may be unfamiliar with PMI’s requirements.
  • Creating Knowledge. Sharing your insights with other professionals is one of the best ways to grow as a professional. The most common ways to create knowledge are writing articles or delivering a presentation. For example, you might write an article about your project scheduling achievement.
  • Working As A Professional. If you work in project management, you have the option to claim PDUs for your work. If you only work on projects 50% of the time, keep that in mind if you make PDU claims under this category.

2. Gather The Required Information for PDU Claims

As there are no restrictions on the maximum number of education PDUs you can earn, this section will focus on that category. To enter a PDU claim on the PMI website, you will require the following information:

  • Education Type: Course or Training, Organization Meetings, Online or Digital Media, Read, or Informal Reading

The following information is required for Course or Training PDUs:

  • Provider: Enter provider’s ID number or name
  • Activity: Enter the training
  • Description (Optional): While optional, you can use this field to remind yourself of the key insights you have learned from the training.
  • Date Started: the date you started the training
  • Date Completed: the date you completed the training (this will be the same as the above in the case of training completed in a single day)
  • PDUs Claimed: enter numbers describing the type of PDU (e.g. Technical, Leadership, Strategic)

In our experience, errors are most common in the “Provider” and “Activity” fields. Make sure you have all the required information correct.

3. Submit Your PDU Claim Via the PMI Website

In this section, you will find step by step directions to submit a PDU claim through the PMI website. As noted previously, PMI’s PDU requirements and website may change. These instructions were current as of early 2017.

  • Open an Internet web browser such as Firefox or Chrome.
  • Open the Continuing Certification Requirements System website (https://ccrs.pmi.org/).
  • Enter your PMI login information.
  • After successfully logging in, you will see a dashboard report which provides information on your continuing education (See Screenshot #1).
pmp dashboard example
Screenshot #1
  • Reading the Dashboard:
    • Cycle: this graphic summarizes your progress toward fulfilling PDU requirements for the current certification cycle. If you have fulfilled the requirements for the current cycle, the graphic summary will include the phrase: “Cycle Complete.”
    • Education: Technical
    • Education: Leadership
    • Education: Strategic & Business
    • Education: General Education
    • Giving Back: Work as a Practitioner
    • Giving Back: Other Giving Back
  • Click the “Report PDUs” button on the left-hand side of the screen.
  • The “Report PDUs” screen will appear as shown in the Screenshot below (See Screenshot #2)
pmp pdu report example
Screenshot #2
  • Click the option related to the PDUs you are reporting. In this guide, we will focus on the “Course or Training” option.
  • Click on the “Course or Training” option.
  • Fill in the education PDU information (See Screenshot #3).
pmp pdu report education example
Screenshot #3
  • Note that several fields are marked optional (e.g. URL, Contact Person, Contact Phone) – these are not required.
  • Enter the PDU breakdown across the categories: Technical, Leadership, and Strategic. If you are unsure about this information, ask the training provider. Note that a single training course may cover one or more categories.
  • Check off the “I agree this claim is accurate” button.
  • Click the “Submit” button.
  • Retain all documentation relating to each PDU claim you submit in case PMI requests additional information or disputes the PDU claim.
  • Expect to receive an automated email notification from PMI within 1-2 business days stating that your PDU claim has been received.

4. Monitor Your PDU Claims For Approval

In the majority of cases, PMI approves PDU claims quickly. In our experience, PMI approves PDU claims within a few business days. For your peace of mind, we recommend using the following process to monitor your PDU claims.

  • Open an Internet web browser such as Firefox or Chrome.
  • Open the Continuing Certification Requirements System website (https://ccrs.pmi.org/).
  • Enter your PMI login information.
  • After successfully logging in, you will see a dashboard report which provides information on your continuing education (See Screenshot #1)
pmp dashboard example
Screenshot #1
  • In the bottom right-hand side of the dashboard, you will see an area called “Claims” with three measures: Approved, Rejected, Needs More Information.
  • For more information on each claim category, simply click on the phrase (See Screenshot #4) for additional information.
pmp more info example
Screenshot #4
  • If PMI requires additional information on your PDU claims, contact PMI to clarify the required information.
  • If you are unsure about the details of your PDU claim (e.g. Provider ID, Activity ID), contact your education provider.
  • To access detailed information on “Rejected” or “Needs More Information” claims, click on the number.
  • To view a full history of your PDU claims, go to the Dashboard (see steps 1-4 in this section) and click “Claim History.”
  • The Claim History section will appear showing claims that have been entered. For additional information on any specific claim, click that item. The Screenshot below shows the Claims History section:
pmp claim history example
Screenshot #5
  • To minimize the stress of completing a large amount of PDUs in a short period, we recommend setting a calendar reminder to check your PDU status monthly. It only takes 5-10 minutes to check the website.

5. Plan Your Next Professional Development Activity

Lifelong learning is about more than simply maintaining your certification. With the right mindset, your professional development activities will support your career growth. In tangible terms, that means choosing the skills and development related to getting promoted, switching to a new field or becoming a better consultant.

For more information on planning professional development and career growth, consult Wiley’s Career Planning For Project Managers Guide.