Desks in a classroomThe PMI Registered Education Provider (REP) program is a training provider certification program run by PMI for providers that issue Professional Development Units (PDUs) for project management training courses. The REP program was created to enhance the ongoing professional development of PMI’s members, PMI-credentialed members (PMPs, PgMPs, CAPM holders, and so on) and other project management professionals. By attending a course presented by a PMI REP, a project manager can be assured that the course in question adheres to Project Management Institute quality standards, and that the hours spent in that course can officially be attributed toward a credential holder’s required quota of Professional Development Units.

Becoming a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP)

Project management trainers can apply to become a PMI Registered Education Provider in order to give PMI-approved training courses to PMI credential holders. This is an expensive process (costing thousands of dollars, plus there is a renewal charge) during which PMI will go over the courses that you are interested in providing and verify their quality. In order to become a REP, a trainer or training organization must:

  • Be a legal and mature entity that offers project management training
  • Provide evidence of quality product design, delivery and content
  • Demonstrate that course content is consistent with PMI standards or offers differing or new concepts that are clearly indicated as such in marketing and instructional materials
  • Properly award PDUs for course completion
  • Offer proper REP marketing representation.

Becoming a REP will demonstrate to potential students interested in taking courses covering PMI material that the courses have been given the PMI stamp of approval. Another plus side to becoming a REP is that you will appear on a list of Registered Education Providers on PMI’s website. You also earn the right to advertise yourself or your company as a REP, and to use the REP logo on your course materials. This can be helpful, as people have a tendency to believe that if you go through the process to become a REP you must be a quality provider.

On the other hand, PMI has certain restrictions on what PMI-based material REPs can present; for example, they minimize the number of PMI artifacts you can use as slides (I believe three is the maximum, but I could be wrong). So PMI can exert some control over your PMI REP-certified presentations. Furthermore, the process is very expensive, which isn’t a big deal to large training organizations, but prohibitive to smaller companies or individual trainers.

You don’t need to take courses from a REP to earn PDUs

It is not necessary to take classes solely from PMI REPs in order to earn PDUs. If you look up the various categories where you claim your PDUs, you will notice that you can claim PDUs under Category 4 – “Other Provider”. You will need your registration form, a certificate or letter of attendance, and a brochure or course materials outlining the subject matter covered and the qualifications of your instructor so that PMI can perform an audit of that course if they so desire; this is to make sure that these other providers are in fact providing quality project management education outside of the Registered Education Provider boundaries. In order to claim PDUs from a REP, all you will need is their PMI REP code.

Likewise, if you are a training provider, you do not need to be a PMI REP in order to conduct training. If you are a training provider that offers legitimate project or program management training, one hour of training that you perform can be used toward the earning of one PDU. Make sure the project managers that you train have the documentation listed above, should your course be audited by PMI.

I’ve taken courses from PMI REPs and from non-REPs, and I have found the courses from both sources to be of good quality. Courses from PMI REPs are likely to be somewhat more institutionalized; as becoming a PMI REP is an expensive process, it is the larger training organizations that tend to become registered.

If you’re taking a course from a non-REP, you will want to make sure that the training provider is legitimate, that the course is relevant and of good quality, and that you collect the required information from that provider should your PDUs be audited. Otherwise, I would use whatever providers are cheapest and most effective in order to earn your PDUs. And don’t forget that there are other ways to earn PDUs – for example, by attending PMI meetings, by volunteering or by training others.