March 25, 2015–The Project Management Institute (PMI) has announced that credits toward maintaining project management certifications must be distributed in a manner that places new and more specific emphasis on continuing education. PMI says that these changes are driven by data suggesting that employers rate leadership ability highly for project managers. Project Management Professionals, or PMPs, have had to earn 60 Professional Development Units, or PDUs, during the course of three years in order to maintain their certification. While the number of PDUs required and their timing will not change as a result of the announcement, the requirements for their distribution will. Highlights of the change are:

  • more PDUs will be required to be earned via education rather than through volunteer work, working as a project manager or by creating knowledge related to project management,
  • PDUs earned via education must be distributed according to specific requirements among the three areas of the PMI Talent Triangle–Strategic and Business Management, Technical Project Management, and Leadership.

There has been no change in the way that education PDUs may be earned; for example via online training, self-directed learning, etc.

Although the new requirements will go into effect 1 December 2015, project managers who are in the midst of a re-certification cycle will not be required to comply with the new PDU distribution requirements for their current cycle. After 1 December 2017 all will be required to comply.

Rules for carrying PDUs forward from one certification cycle to the next have not changed.

These changes affect all of the PMI certifications (PgMP, PfMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-ACP, PM-RMP and PMI-SP in addition to the PMP certification), although the overall number of PDUs required differs depending on the certification.

Gary Heerkens, President of Management Solutions Group, author of The Business-Savvy Project Manager and a long time leader in the push to develop more financially astute project managers noted,

“The successful project manager of the future will need to do much more than simply define what they are delivering to their clients and how those deliverables function. Future project managers will be able to describe how their project links to company strategy, to estimate the economic worth of their project’s benefits, and to develop a plan that ensures the realization and sustainability of an ongoing stream of project benefits,”

when asked about the certification changes.

The changes are summarized in the following tables. More details can be found on the PMI Continuing Certification Requirements Updates web page.

 

For PMP, PgMP, PfMP and PMI-PBA Certifications:

Current Requirements

Requirements as of 1 Dec. 2015

Total

60 PDUs every 3 years

60 PDUs every 3 years

  Education

No more than 30 from self-directed learning

At least 35

      Technical Project Management

At least 8

      Leadership

At least 8

       Strategic and Business Management

At least 8

  Giving Back

No more than 45

No more than 25

      Volunteering
      Creating Knowledge
      Working as a Professional No more than 15

No more than 8

 

For PMI-ACP, PM-RMP and PMI-SP Certifications:

Current Requirements

Requirements as of 1 Dec. 2015

Total

30 PDUs every 3 years

30 PDUs every 3 years

  Education

No more than 15 from self-directed learning

At least 18

      Technical Project Management

At least 4

       Leadership

At least 4

      Strategic and Business Management

At least 4

  Giving Back

No more than 20

No more than 12

      Volunteering
      Creating Knowledge
       Working as a Professional

No more than 4