Top 10 ways to earn PDUs for PMP Recertification

Top 10 ways to earn PDUs for PMP Recertification

Yad Senapathy, PMP August 3, 2023

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a prestigious credential that validates a project manager's expertise and competence in leading successful projects. To maintain the PMP certification's validity, certified professionals are required to earn Professional Development Units (PDUs) through continuous professional development activities. PDUs are a reflection of a project manager's commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends, best practices, and advancements in project management.

Earning the PMP certification takes a lot of grit, talent, and experience. The certification expires in three years unless you renew it. Individuals holding the project management professional (PMP), Program Management Professional (PgMP), Portfolio Profession (PfMP), and Professionals in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) are required to maintain and report 60 PDus in a 3-year cycle to PMI to maintain the certifications. You can accrue these PDUs in two categories:

  1. Education PDUs
  2. Giving Back PDUs.

You will require a minimum of 35 Education PDUs. Within the education PDUs, you will need a minimum of 8 PDUs for each of the three skills in the PMI Talent Triangle i.e. 8 PDUs in Ways of Working, 8 PDUs in Power Skills, 8 PDUs in Business Acumen.

Having PDUs in the Giving Back category is optional. You can only have a maximum of 25 Giving Back PDUs. Within the Giving Back PDUs, you can accrue a maximum of 8 PDUs in the sub-category of "working as a professional" and a maxiumum of 17 PDUs in "volunteering and creating knowledge."

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, recognized globally, is an achievement that exemplifies an individual's grit, talent, and experience in managing projects proficiently. However, maintaining this certification requires continual commitment as it is subject to expiration every three years unless appropriately renewed. The same renewal process also applies to other PMI (Project Management Institute) certifications like the Program Management Professional (PgMP), Portfolio Profession (PfMP), and Professionals in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA).

The renewal process mandates that certification holders accrue and report a total of 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) within a three-year cycle to the PMI, thereby upholding the relevancy and validity of their respective certifications. These PDUs are classified into two major categories:

Education PDUs: This category requires a minimum accumulation of 35 PDUs. These PDUs correspond to a combination of specific skills in the PMI Talent Triangle, namely Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen. Each of these three skill domains requires a minimum accrual of 8 PDUs, thus ensuring a comprehensive skill set for effective project management.

Giving Back PDUs: This category, although optional, provides opportunities for contributing to the profession and accruing a maximum of 25 PDUs. This section is subdivided into "working as a professional," where one can earn up to 8 PDUs by employing their professional expertise, and "volunteering and creating knowledge," which allows accumulating a maximum of 17 PDUs through voluntary service and knowledge dissemination activities.

So, maintaining your PMP and other PMI certifications requires strategic planning and commitment. The bifurcation of PDUs into Education and Giving Back categories emphasizes the importance of continual learning and the essence of contribution to the professional community. Therefore, the renewal process ensures that certified professionals stay updated, continue their professional development, and provide value back to the project management field.

ways of working power skills business acumen
Ways of Working Power Skills Business Acumen
Agile and Hyper Agile Leadership Benefits Management and Realization
Hybrid Active Listening Business Models and Structures
Design Thinking Communication Competitive Analysis
Transformation Adaptability Customer Relationship and Satisfaction
Data Gathering and Modeling Brainstorming Industry Domain Knowledge
Earned Value Management Coaching and Mentoring Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Governance Conflict Management Market Awareness
Performance Management Emotional Intelligence Function-Specific Knowledge
Requirements Management and Traceability Influencing Strategic Planning, Analysis, Alignment
Risk Management Interpersonal Skills
Schedule Management Negotiation
Scope Management Problem Solving
Time, Budget and Cost Estimation Teamwork

In this comprehensive blog, we will explore the top 10 ways for PMP-certified professionals to earn PDUs for recertification. These strategies encompass various educational, experiential, and giving-back opportunities, providing a well-rounded approach to continuous learning and growth in the field of project management.

PDUs for PMP recertification

Educational Opportunities for PDUs

1. Attending Project Management Workshops and Seminars

Participating in project management workshops and seminars is an excellent way to earn PDUs while gaining insights from industry experts and thought leaders. These events cover a wide range of topics, including project planning, risk management, agile methodologies, and stakeholder engagement. By attending such events, PMP-certified professionals can acquire new skills and knowledge to enhance their project management capabilities.

2.Completing Online Project Management Courses

Numerous reputable organizations offer online project management courses that align with the Project Management Institute's (PMI) Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). These courses cover various project management disciplines and methodologies, allowing professionals to earn PDUs conveniently from the comfort of their homes or offices.

PMP Certification Training Online courses offer flexibility in terms of scheduling, enabling busy project managers to balance their career responsibilities with professional development.

Giving Back Opportunities for PDUs

3. Leading and Directing Projects

One of the most significant and impactful ways for PMP-certified professionals to earn PDUs is by actively leading and directing projects. Project managers spend a considerable portion of their careers planning, executing, and overseeing various projects. Each hour spent in these roles contributes to their expertise and competence in project management.

The PMI acknowledges the value of this practical experience and offers PMP-certified professionals the opportunity to claim PDUs for the time they dedicate to leading and directing projects. For every hour spent on these responsibilities, project managers can earn one PDU under the "Giving Back to the Profession" category. This initiative recognizes the immense value of hands-on experience in real-world projects and encourages professionals to continually apply their project management skills to contribute to the success of their organizations' endeavors.

Experiential learning through project leadership enables PMP-certified professionals to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios, making their expertise more practical, relevant, and valuable. Moreover, the insights gained from leading diverse projects enhance professionals' problem-solving abilities and decision-making skills, enabling them to overcome challenges and deliver successful outcomes consistently.

4. Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring and coaching aspiring project managers is not only a rewarding way to give back to the profession but also a valuable means of earning PDUs. Project managers who have attained the PMP certification possess a wealth of knowledge, best practices, and practical insights accumulated throughout their careers. Sharing this wealth of experience with aspiring professionals contributes to the growth and development of the project management community.

PMP-certified professionals can claim PDUs under the "Giving Back to the Profession" category for their time spent in mentoring and coaching activities. Whether mentoring junior project managers within their organizations or volunteering as mentors in project management associations, this experiential learning opportunity fosters leadership skills, communication abilities, and a sense of fulfillment.

Mentoring and coaching not only benefit the mentees but also provide mentors with fresh perspectives, new ideas, and the satisfaction of guiding the next generation of project managers. It is a reciprocal process where both parties gain valuable insights and contribute to the advancement of the project management profession.

5. Volunteering in Project Management Associations

Volunteering with project management associations and local PMI chapters is an excellent way for PMP-certified professionals to give back to the profession while earning PDUs. These organizations play a vital role in fostering a strong project management community and providing valuable resources and networking opportunities for project managers.

Volunteering activities can encompass a wide range of responsibilities, including organizing events, participating in outreach programs, assisting in workshops, and contributing to community initiatives. By actively engaging with these associations, PMP-certified professionals can contribute their expertise, share knowledge, and support the growth and development of other project managers.

Volunteering not only provides an opportunity to give back to the profession but also offers a platform for professionals to enhance their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Collaborating with like-minded individuals in the project management community allows volunteers to network, form valuable connections, and gain exposure to different industries and sectors.

6.Writing Project Management Articles and Papers

For PMP-certified professionals with a passion for writing, authoring project management articles, whitepapers, or research papers is a meaningful way to give back to the profession while earning PDUs. Writing and sharing insights on project management topics contribute to the professional development of others in the field, offering valuable resources and perspectives for aspiring and experienced project managers alike.

Under the "Giving Back to the Profession" category, authors can claim PDUs based on the length and impact of their contributions. The process of writing articles and papers enables professionals to conduct research, delve deeper into specific topics, and articulate their knowledge in a way that benefits the broader project management community.

Additionally, published works increase the author's visibility within the profession, positioning them as subject matter experts and thought leaders. These contributions can lead to speaking opportunities at conferences and events, further enhancing the author's professional reputation and influence in the project management domain.

Leadership and Strategic Business Management PDUs

7.Engaging in Strategic Business Activities

PMP-certified professionals who hold leadership positions within their organizations can earn PDUs under the "Leadership" category. Engaging in strategic business activities such as participating in board meetings, contributing to organizational strategy, and overseeing business operations qualifies for PDUs.

8. Pursuing Advanced Degrees in Project Management

Obtaining an advanced degree, such as a Master's in Project Management or a related field, allows professionals to claim PDUs under the "Education" category. The number of PDUs earned varies based on the level of the degree and its relevance to project management.

Online and Digital Media PDUs

9. Attending Webinars and Podcasts

Participating in project management webinars and podcasts offers PMP-certified professionals the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts and industry practitioners. Webinars and podcasts often cover specialized topics, trends, and case studies, providing valuable insights for earning PDUs under the "Education" category.

10. Engaging in Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning involves independent study and research on project management topics of interest. PMP-certified professionals can earn PDUs by dedicating time to self-directed learning and documenting the hours spent exploring the relevant subject matter.


Earning PDUs for PMP recertification is a multi-faceted journey that encompasses diverse opportunities for continuous learning, professional growth, and giving back to the project management community. In this blog, we explored the top 10 ways for PMP-certified professionals to earn PDUs, including educational workshops, online courses, experiential learning through project leadership and mentoring, volunteering in project management associations, and contributing through writing.

By actively engaging in these various opportunities, PMP-certified professionals can stay relevant, innovative, and effective in their project management roles. Embracing continuous professional development not only maintains the validity of the PMP certification but also cultivates a culture of excellence and progress within the project management profession.

As project managers continuously expand their knowledge, skills, and experiences, they become better equipped to navigate the dynamic challenges of the modern business landscape. Embracing the top 10 ways to earn PDUs empowers PMP-certified professionals to lead with confidence, inspire their teams, and deliver successful projects consistently.

The journey of earning PDUs is not just a recertification requirement; it is a commitment to excellence and a dedication to continuous improvement in the pursuit of professional mastery.

pmp 35 contact hoursSatisfies 35 contact hours

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