Members of the global professional association the Project Management Institute (PMI) will already be familiar with the Project Management Professional credential, also known as PMP, and other project-related PMI credentials such as PgMP for program management, PMI-SP for scheduling, and PMI-RMP for risk management.
To maintain certification you are required to earn a specified number of Professional Development Units, or PDUs, to keep that credential. The number of PDUs to be completed for each three-year cycle depends on the type of certification held; for example, a PMP needs 60 PDUs in three years, while a PMI-SP needs 30 PDUs in the same period. Each PDU is equivalent to one hour’s worth of professional development.
It may sound daunting to think of spending 60 hours on earning PDUs over the next three years but it’s actually very easy. It’s just 20 hours per year, or less than two hours a month. That is little time when considering those who hold these certifications are more than likely spending at least that much time reviewing existing practices and keeping up with new practices without even thinking about it.
Plan on spending those hours learning something that will improve your job performance or by doing something that helps others in your profession. Either way, it’s a rewarding experience that takes very little time if you do it regularly.
Professional development categories
The six PDU categories come in two divisions: Education and Giving Back to the Profession. In some categories you can even earn free PDUs.
The Education Division allows you to earn PDUs while learning new and valuable project management concepts through a variety of media. You can take a classroom course, attend a lecture or seminar or participate in an event or a conference. You can choose self-study rather than a more formal activity, too.
Under the Educational division there are such activities as completing courses either offered by PMI’s Registered Education Providers or other colleges or universities; attending PMI-sponsored events such as seminars, conferences, chapter or communities of practice meetings, or attending other credential related training events; taking and passing a PMI Publication Quiz; and completing self-directed type of learning activities such as reading books or instructional materials, using interactive CDs, or being mentored.
The Giving Back to the Profession Division contains three categories with a big variety of activities. You can be a speaker or instructor, moderate a discussion, volunteer on a project for a charitable group or other non-profit. You can coach or mentor someone on project management topics. As you can see, this category allows you many fulfilling opportunities to serve the PMP community as well as the community you live in.
Activities considered as part of the Giving Back to the Profession division are authoring, co-authoring, or serving as a presenter, speaker, or instructor of material related to the credential; volunteering within a PMI organisation or even a non-PMI charity or community organisation, or working on a PMI project; and even working as a project manager.
With all of the options available to obtain PDUs each professional is sure to find a method that interests them.