Easy Ways to Earn PDUs for PMP Recertification

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

Congratulations! You’ve passed your PMP exam and you’re officially a certified Project Management Professional. You should celebrate this accomplishment and all the hours that went into it. Once you’re done celebrating, ensure that you don’t have to study for this test again by preparing for your PMP recertification.

PMP credential holders must earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) within three years. That’s 20 PDUs a year, and while it may sound like a lot, it’s easier than you think. Let’s take a look at the two categories in which you can earn PDUs: education and giving back.


Female student researching easy ways to earn PDUs for her PMP recertification on her laptop.

Earning PDUs Through Education

The education category is broken out into three buckets that encompass what PMI calls the Talent Triangle: technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management.


You will need a total of at least 35 PDUs in the education category. A minimum of eight PDUs will be required for each leg of the Talent Triangle, while the remaining 11 can be earned in any of the areas.


The technical project management bucket refers to the knowledge, skills, and behaviors related to specific domains of project, program, and portfolio management. PDUs in this area include:


  • Agile
  • Schedule and scope management
  • Time, budget, and cost estimation
  • Lifecycle management
  • Performance management
  • Earned value management
  • Data gathering and modeling
  • Requirements management and traceability


The leadership bucket refers to the knowledge, skills, and behaviors specific to leadership-oriented, cross-cutting activities that help an organization achieve its business goals. PDUs in this area include:


  • Brainstorming
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Team building
  • Influencing and listening

The strategic and business management bucket includes the knowledge of and expertise in the industry or organization that enhances performance and better delivers business outcomes. PDUs in this area could include:


  • Training on legal and regulatory compliance
  • Attending a webinar on customer satisfaction
  • Presenting on strategic planning for your colleagues

Ways to Complete Education PDUs

PMI offers many different ways to earn PDUs, including paid and free options. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Courses or Trainings: This includes formal education through in-person or virtual classes. These offerings can be held by PMI chapters or through instructor-led online courses.
  2. Organization Meetings: PDUs are limited to one to two per session. They come in the form of PMI chapter or local events, company meetings, or professional meetings such as education sessions at an industry conference. Most meetings will be focused on areas of the PMI Talent Triangle, too.
  3. Online or Digital Media: These can be prerecorded or self-paced learning activities such as webinars, podcasts, interactive CD-ROMs, and videos. PMI also offers PDU bundles for a fee. It’s several on-demand courses where you can earn all of your PDUS in one place. You can also join online courses or listen to the PM Podcast.
  4. Reading: Materials include, but are not limited to, educational, non-fictional books, articles, white papers, or blogs. Some good resources include the PMI Store, projectmanagement.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or your local book retailer.
  5. Informal Learning: This includes structured discussions with other professionals or mentors, such as panel discussions, lunch and learn sessions, and any other structured discussion in an informal setting.


Once you’ve obtained the required 35 PDUs from the education section, you’ll need an additional 25 PDUs. You can keep earning them in education or, if you prefer, you can earn them through the giving back category.

 Group of coworkers listening to a presentation about earning PDUs for PMP recertification.

Earning PDUs Through Giving Back

Giving back is completely optional and is based on providing knowledge and expertise to the project management community through teaching, volunteering, or creating knowledge. You may obtain a maximum of 25 PDUs in this category through a variety of activities.

  1. Working as a Practitioner: You can grow the profession by teaching in your related field. If you’re actively working for the entire three years of your cycle, you can claim a maximum of eight PDUs. If you’re actively working only half the time in your cycle, you can claim a maximum of four PDUs.  
  2. Creating Content: This includes developing resources to contribute to your profession such as books, articles, webinars, or blog articles.
  3. Giving a Presentation: This includes presenting at a PMI chapter event, conference, or an organization that’s related to your profession.
  4. Sharing Knowledge: You can serve as a moderator, mentor, or subject matter expert by sharing your knowledge to help others learn and grow.
  5. Volunteering: This includes providing services or contributions to knowledge within the profession.


Tracking Your PDUs

PMI has made it easy to track PDUs for recertification through the dashboard on your account at PMI.org.


Screenshot of PMI.org dashboard that helps you track your PDUs

With so many great options, there is a chance that you may earn more than the required PDUs in your three-year cycle. If you do, you can apply a portion of them to the next cycle as long as they were earned in the last 12 months of your current recertification cycle.



Keep Growing in Your Career With USF

While PDUs are a critical element of earning PMP recertification, USF offers an additional way to stay current on need-to-know project management skills and trends: the Career Charge blog. With articles on everything from Agile project management solutions to tips on managing projects remotely, the blog offers thoughtful commentary and insights that can help you grow and thrive in the profession.