Maintaining Your PMP Certification – Keep Growing!

Aug 30, 2018 | Project Management

With your PMP credential, you have moved into the fast lane on your career highway! 

Whether your destination is a leadership role in IT, a full-time Project Manager position, the next level of management in your division, or an office in the C-suite, having your PMP is like adding a turbocharger to an engine.  You have increased your “horsepower” and enhanced your performance potential for advancement as a leader, no matter where your career is headed!

Remember, however, that the PMP is a credential that must be kept active.  That is, the PMI requires that you continually maintain and improve the value-add of your credential through relevant formal education and other activities. This is much like medicine, engineering and other board-certified or licensed disciplines—professional development units (PDUs) are necessary to keep your PMP certification active with the PMI.

The Good News …

… the PMI provides all of the guidance you need to maintain your PMP certification!

Check out this link:   The PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Handbook.  PMPs are expected to understand and comply with the requirements outlined in this handbook through active participation in the CCR program and renewal of their PMP certification every three years.

The CCR Program …

… describes two areas of professional development activities that you will participate in to earn PDUs toward renewal of your PMP certification:

  1. Education—learning opportunities
  2. Giving Back—opportunities to apply and share your knowledge and experience

As mentioned above, the PMP certification cycle is three years, during which you are required to obtain a total of 60 PDUs – a minimum of 35 PDUs in Education and a maximum of 25 PDUs in Giving Back.  Each activity in the Education and Giving Back areas earns one PDU for one hour spent in the activity.

Here’s something important to remember: 

If you do not earn and record the required PDUs within your certification cycle, your certification will be suspended. 

Education Requirements

Remember the PMI Talent Triangle from the article Destination: CEO/Senior Management!  PMP Certification – How You Get There?  Here it is again for easy reference:

PV Article 1 Blog3 Img1 Triangle


The three legs of the triangle—technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management—define the competencies that are addressed in your continuing education PDUs.  These competencies are defined in CCR Handbook as follows:

Technical project management: Knowledge, skills and behaviors related to specific domains of Project, Program and Portfolio Management.

Leadership: Knowledge, skills and behaviors specific to leadership-oriented, cross-cutting activities that help an organization achieve its business goals.

Strategic and business management:  Knowledge of and expertise in the industry or organization that enhances performance and better delivers business outcomes.”

Also, there are minimum PDU requirements for each of the competencies listed above.  This table shows the breakdown of PDUs needed for each competency leg of the PMI Talent Triangle: 

PV Article 1 Blog3 Img2 Table


Finally, the PDUs you earn in the Education area must be related to the domains and knowledge areas that are relevant to the exam content outline for the PMP certification. 

Now, how do you satisfy your Education requirements? 

  1. Formal training, defined per the CCR Handbook as:

“Instructor-led formal education courses or classes held in-person or online”

The courses can be offered by a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP) – you can go to the Learning area of the PMI website to search for REPs in your area. 

  1. On-line, self-paced courses – various opportunities and sources are provided in the CCR Handbook.
  2. Training events that are conducted during meetings of your local PMI chapter (routine meetings won’t count for Education if they don’t provide an educational segment).
  3. Informal learning (such as structured discussions) and self-directed reading.

Giving Back Requirements

The Giving Back area is all about contributing to the project management profession, which can also enrich your own professional development no matter what your specific career direction is.  Check out the CCR Handbook for additional information

To earn PDUs for Giving Back, you can:

  1. Work as a practitioner in a business domain that is relevant to your PMP.  Note that there are some restrictions on claiming these PDUs.  See the CCR Handbook for more information.
  2. Create new knowledge sources.  This means you can write articles, blogs, and books, or create presentations.
  3. Give presentations or speak at events/conferences or within your organization.
  4. Mentor or teach others.
  5. Volunteer at PMI. 

Wrapping Up …

Some final points:

  • Use the PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS) to report your PDUs as soon as they occur.
  • Your PDUs need to be completed during your three-year recertification cycle.
  • Once you have completed all required PDUs for your recertification, the PMI will notify you to apply for renewal.  You will be required to submit a payment of the renewal fee.
  • Remember to read the CCR Handbook for all of the guidelines you need to know for maintaining your PMP in active status!
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