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What are PDUs in PMI? A Complete Guide

In today’s fast-paced and hypercompetitive world, it’s essential for project management professionals to continuously expand their skills and knowledge in a variety of areas to remain adaptable, competitive, and well-versed in the latest practices and methodologies.

That’s why the Project Management Institute (PMI®) has developed a set of standards for professionals to earn Professional Development Units (PDUs), maintain their PMP® certification status, and stay on top of their game.

But what are PDUs? What does PDU in PMI mean?

Read on to find answers to your questions about what professional development units mean in the PMI methodology. You’ll also learn how they relate to your PMP certification and the requirements you need to keep your PMP certification current.

By the end of this article, you should have a better idea of PMI’s different types of PDUs, learn how to navigate how you can learn what PDUs are, and better visualize how they can propel your project management career forward with the help of an online project management bootcamp.

PMI for Project Professionals

Let’s start at the beginning.

Who Is PMI?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides project professionals with various resources to help them grow their skills, increase their impact, progress their careers, and advance the project management field as a whole.

There are currently more than 20 different globally recognized certifications that project professionals can earn and acquire from PMI. One of PMI’s most popular project certifications you might have heard of is their Project Management Professional Certification — or PMP.

Maintaining Your PMI Certification

Most PMI certifications, including the PMP certification, follow a three-year renewal cycle. To ensure that project professionals stay current with changes and innovations in the field, PMI established the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program. The CCR program details the number of PDUs necessary to maintain your certification status. PMI also works with certified training partners and universities to give you more learning and upskilling options.

But, seriously, what is a PDU in PMI?

Also Read: 5 Project Management Steps You Need to Know

What Is a PDU in Project Management?

A PDU in PMI is short for Professional Development Unit, which is a block of time certification holders dedicate to upskilling and furthering their professional development in the project management field.


One hour of professional development activities is the equivalent of one PDU. However, you also have the option to break Professional Development Units down into quarters—but no less.

In the table below, you can see how time correlates to PMI’s PDUs.

1 hour1 PDU
45 minutes0.75 PDU
30 minutes0.5 PDU
15 minutes0.25 PDU

Types of PDUs

PMI outlines two distinctive categories in which to sort PDUs, which will be elaborated on later in the article.

#1. Education

These PDUs refer to learning opportunities that develop and broaden various skills, such as technical expertise, leadership, and business management strategies.

#2. Giving back to the profession

Alternatively, these PDUs involve opportunities where you can share your knowledge, apply your capabilities, and contribute to the overall development and progress of the profession.

Do PDUs Benefit Project Management?

Yes! PDUs in PMI ensure that PMPs are encouraged to seek opportunities for professional growth proactively and remain at the forefront of their profession. Regularly participating in activities rooted in skill enhancement, knowledge expansion, and collaboration help develop and advance your career and the field. You can achieve all these things through an online project management bootcamp.

Also Read: Understanding KPIs in Project Management

PDUs for PMP Certification: Rules & Requirements

Once you obtain your PMP certification, PMI’s three-year certification cycle begins immediately. This means you have three years to fulfill the PMP PDUs necessary for renewal.

Total Number of PDUs RequiredMinimum Number of PDUs Required: EducationMaximum Number of PDUs:

Giving Back to the Profession


Education PDU Requirements

Since the field of project management is so vast, it’s essential to ensure your PDU activities are relevant to your PMP certification. That’s why PMI uses its Talent Triangle to further define the scope of the education PDU activities required to renew your certification. To better understand why renewing your PMP certification is important, consider how the PMI® Talent Triangle has evolved to meet new challenges.

The latest Talent Triangle defines three different skill areas:

  1. Ways of Working
  2. Power Skills
  3. Business Acumen

PMI Talent Triangle


Depending on your PMI certification, the number of PDUs required in each leg of the triangle will vary. To be eligible to renew your PMP certification, you’ll need to fulfill the education portion of your required PDUs as follows:

Total Number of PDUs RequiredNumber of PDUs Required:

Ways of Working

Number of PDUs Required:

Power Skills

Number of PDUs Required:

Business Acumen


Notice that after fulfilling the PDU Talent Triangle requirements, you’ll still have to earn 11 educational Professional Development Units. PMI grants its certification holders the freedom to choose which parts of the Talent Triangle on which these remaining PDUs focus.

Giving Back to the Profession PDU Requirements

While there’s a limit to the number of giving back to the profession PDUs you can earn, this type of PDU isn’t mandatory. This means that as long as you meet the Talent Triangle PDU requirements, you can renew your PMP certification by earning only education PDUs.

Reporting PDU Requirements

Maintaining accurate records and documentation is essential as you earn PDUs to renew your PMI certification successfully. PMI’s CCR program includes an online system that you can use to upload your PDUs and track your progress, the CCRS.

How Can I Earn PMP PDUs?

Wondering how to actually go about earning your PDUs to maintain your PMP certification? You can find more information and examples of each type of PDU in PMI below.

Earning PDUs: Education

PMI’s CCR program defines five major areas of professional development in which education PDUs can fall, which are listed below. Generally, one hour of activities within these categories yields one PDU in PMI. However, it’s important to check with the PMI so that you don’t experience any surprises or difficulties renewing your PMP certification.

CategoryActivity Example
Taking courses and training sessionsFace-to-face classes
Attending meetings related to the field or professionPMI chapter meetings
Completing accredited online courses and bootcampsOnline courses approved by PMI
Self-directed readingBooks, articles, whitepapers, etc.
Participating in informal learningStructured discussions or one-on-one mentorship

Also Read: Project Management Frameworks and Methodologies Explained

Earning PDUs: Giving Back to the Profession

Just like with education PDUs, PMI has five major categories that PDU activities focused on giving back to the profession can fall, with one hour of activity generally equivalent to one PDU in PMI.

CategoryActivity Example
Working in the role of your certification*Manage successful projects end-to-end
Creating contentWrite and publish an article online
Delivering a presentationPresent on a topic relevant to your certification at your place of work
Sharing knowledge and skillsSign up to be a mentor in a mentorship program
VolunteeringVolunteer on a PMI committee or team

*It’s important to note that PMPs are limited to earning 8 PDUs of this activity per certification cycle, and these PDUs count against the number of maximum PDUs you can earn in the cycle.

Earning Your Certification Is Not Out of Reach

In today’s world of constant change and innovation, it’s essential for professionals to practice ongoing learning to stay competitive in their field and maintain their value in the workplace.

Professional certifications like the PMP from PMI are a great way to set yourself apart in the world of project management, but before you can think about earning PDUs to renew a certification, you need to acquire the certification first!

The best way to prepare yourself for a project management certification exam is by taking an online project management course aligned with PMI’s content. This is your chance to learn from some of the world’s best faculty in live virtual classes and hands-on projects in integrated labs where you can collaborate with peers and instructors.

Already have your PMP certification from PMI? Why not get a headstart on keeping it updated through an immersive program through which you can earn all 60 PDUs required to renew your PMP certification?

You might also like to read:

What is a WBS in Project Management, and How Do You Use it?

What’s a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM), and How Do You Create It?

13 Key Project Management Principles and How to Use Them

The Top 24 Project Management Interview Questions for 22-23

Project Manager Salaries: What to Expect?

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