Updates to the Continuing Certification Requirements for PMP exam

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by Jim

As you may know, once you get your PMP certification you never take the exam again. However, in order to maintain that status, you must get 60 Professional Development Units (PDU’s) in the course of a three-year cycle and then pay PMI 60 bucks. (If you get up to 80 in that cycle – and 20 of them are in the last year of the cycle – they will push over to the next cycle). PDU’s equate roughly to one hour of doing something related to project management, for example, doing your job, reading a book, writing an article, blogging, going to PMI chapter meetings, taking classes, volunteering, etc. In other words, you get PDU’s for the things you’d do anyway. And you record those PDU’s on the PMI site as you receive them. (Keep track of all PDU’s earned as PMI can audit you at any time).

I mention all this because as of Dec. 1 2015, new changes to this program take effect. Yes, you will still need 60 PDU’s every three years. As PMI explains in their FAQ for Certification Holders, this is being done because employers of PMP’s have noticed certain skills lacking in newly certified project managers. PMI specifically refers to a Talent Triangle, consisting of three pieces:

  • Technical Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Strategic and Business Management

I’ve attended a few PMI meetings on this topic and it’s clear that while mostly everyone has the first bullet, the last two are sadly lacking.

Of the 60 PDU’s, you will need (at least) 8 from each of the three areas. PMI says that once you fill each section, the remaining PDU’s can go into any of the three sections.

There are some other changes, mostly reflecting how many PDU’s you can get in each broad category, of which there are two: Education and Giving Back. The latter has a cap of 25 PDU’s, meaning the balance must come from within Education.

Those are the major bits. Regardless of what stage of the cycle you are in (or will be in), it is key that you know the rules of this game before collecting PDU’s. As to classes in these areas, there certainly are plenty. That said, I think that most education providers who have been teaching project management only are now figuring out what they want to teach in terms of leadership or strategy.

I strongly encourage you to absorb all the information PMI has on this topic which you can find here. They have a number of webinars on this topic. If after viewing these you still have questions, strongly suggest you call PMI directly. I see far too many people go on the Internet and ask some random stranger about these things. (That includes me). Go to the source. That’s what they are there for.

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