Claiming PDUs by working as a project manager

I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is this: unless you’re one of the elite rich, you’re probably going to have to work for a living. The good news is, if you’re a PMP certified project manager working in the field of project management, you can claim several hours of the work you’re doing as Professional Development Units (PDUs)!

Claiming PDUs under Category F

An office behind blindsUnder PMI‘s new PDU category structure, introduced in March of 2011, PMP and other PMI certification holders can “earn PDUs for working as a project manager (project risk management professional, project scheduling professional or program manager)” (quoted from PMI’s web site). How many PDUs you can claim in one three-year credential renewal cycle depends on which certification you possess:

  • PMP (Project Management Professional) and PgMP (Program Management Professional) credential holders may claim 15 PDUs per cycle
  • PMI-SP (Scheduling Professional) and/or PMI-RMP (Risk Management Professional) credential holders may claim 7.5 PDUs per cycle.

Meanwhile, there is a restriction on how many PDUs you can claim per year within the three year cycle:

  • PMP and PgMP credential holders can claim 5 PDUs per 12-month period
  • PMI-SP and PMI-RMP credential holders can claim 2.5 PDUs per 12-month period.

You can earn these PDUs only if you work in your respective field for a minimum of six months during the twelve month period. So for example, when I claimed my own PDUs, I claimed 5 PDUs (as a PMP) for the entire 2010 calendar year (January through to December), and also claimed 5 PDUs for half of the 2011 calendar year (January through to June), for a total of 10 PDUs claimed under Category F. I will also be claiming 5 PDUs for my work as a project manager from July of 2011 up until the end of the first half of 2012.

The maximum PDUs allowed in Categories D, E and F

The PDUs you earn for working in the field of project management count toward Category F, which is one of three Giving Back to the Profession categories that also include Categories D and E. In one three-year cycle you are only allowed to claim:

  • 45 PDUs total for PMP and PgMP credential holder
  • 20 PDUs total for PMI-SP and PMI-RMP credential holders.

This clause means that you will need to earn at least 15 PDUs of your required PDUs per three-year cycle within Categories A, B and C: undergoing continuing education, participating in self-directed learning, or taking courses from third party providers (for example, from PMI REPs).

So go manage some projects!

The moral of this story is: if you hold one of PMI’s credentials, and if you are working in the field of project, program, risk or scheduling management, you would be daft not to claim the maximum allowed PDUs for your efforts to put toward achieving your total 60 PDUs for the cycle. So go out and manage some projects – and claim those PDUs!

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13 Responses to “Claiming PDUs by working as a project manager”

  1. Hi,
    Thankyou for your post. I never knew this. I worked for 2&1/2 years as a project manager till Jan 2013. I am now on the 3rd year of my re-certification. Can i claim my pdus now?
    Please reply me asap here or on my gmail.


    • Hello Nitesh,

      You certainly can claim your PDUs at any time within the three-year cycle. So you can claim them right after you earn them (for example, right after a course, or a PMI meeting) or you can claim them right before the end of the cycle.

      Best of luck!

  2. Hi Brian,
    I have been managing projects for past 2 years and now looking forward to claim 15 PDUs as per above justification. I need to know how can i claim PDUs based on work experience…. will PMI require some sort of documented proof or any other detail? pls advise.


    • Hello Farid,

      If you have been managing projects for the past two years, then you can certainly claim PDUs based on that work experience. PMI has never required any documentation from me whenever I indicate that I have been working as a project manager. It seems to me that many people are filing under “Work as a Practitioner”, so PMI probably allows a level of trust when it comes to this.

      On the other hand, PMI could always ask for further information to help prove the work you have been doing. If they do, it is likely that you will be able to furnish something from your manager or from your organization to help to prove the work that you have completed.

      Thanks for the question! All the best to you.

      • I want to ask , can i claim the PDUs for working as practitioner for my work as project manager before i got the certificate? or it must be for the working period after certification?
        another question, how many hours I can claim each year and in the the three yeas cycle in the new CCR system ?
        I got my certificate on 01-May-2016.

        Thanks Alot.

    • Hello there Neeraja,

      Thanks very much for the link – I appreciate it! It is always good to get further information about project management topics such as this one. All the best to you in your project management endeavors.

  3. If I am working as a Tech Developer/Consultant but practicing Project Management Methodlogies such as scheduling , risk management, quality control, can I claim PDUs for such thing

    • Hello Raj,

      PMI doesn’t go into much detail about what they are looking for in this regard. This is what I’ve found on the PMI website:

      “Each day, your work in a domain area related to your certification(s) allows you to apply your knowledge and skills in a practical setting. Using these competencies actively contributes to sustaining and growing the profession.”

      This does not mention that you have to be a “project manager” in order to claim PDUs for working in the field; simply that you have to work in a domain area related to your certification, applying your knowledge and skills. As such, if you are completing a certain number of hours of project management work, it seems to me that you can claim those hours (but probably not all of the hours that you spend working as a tech developer/consultant).

      Hope this helps!

  4. I was accustomed to claiming the 15 PDU’s per 3 year cycle for PMP.

    I recently noticed on the PMI site though that they are now stating that the maximum allowable PDUs that can be claimed under “Work as a Professional” for PMP in a three year cycle is now ‘8’.

    I was unaware that a change in policy ever took place. When did this change occur?

  5. I do some part time project management work as a freelancer like weekend PM and do anyone knows how to get PDUs based on this ?

  6. Hi, can you please let me know if for PMP renewal there needs to be a detailed write up of work experience, like when we applied for PMP certification initially.

    Thanks in advance

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About the Author

Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.