If you Googled PDU and found a bunch of articles about electronics then you are finally in the right place! Here we’re talking about Professional Development Units.
What’s a Professional Development Unit?
Professional Development Units is a term for measuring time spent on professional education. In particular, it’s PMI’s® method of talking about professional education.
Earning PDUs is essential to evidence that you are keeping your skills up to date. They are required for ongoing certification. In other words, if you don’t keep learning, you’ll lose the ability to use your post-nominal letters.
How much is 1 PDU worth?
One PDU is equivalent to 1 hour of learning.
PDUs are available in 15-minute chunks. In other words:
- If you do 10 minutes of learning, you get no credit.
- If you do 15 minutes of learning, you get 0.25 PDUs.
And upwards from there.
While we might talk about ‘contact hours’ in this sense, you don’t need contact with anyone in order to earn a PDU. Reading a professional journal and making notes on interesting articles is enough to qualify, and there is no ‘contact’ involved in that.
How many PDUs do I need?
Different PMI certifications require different amounts of professional development to keep your credential in date.
The PDU requirements for CAPM® for example, are different from those for other PMI credentials like the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certificate.
The table below shows the specific number of PDUs you need for various PMI certifications to stay relevant and the type of PDU required split across the PMI Talent Triangle.
|PMI® Certification||PDUs required|
|DASM||7 in Agile topics|
|DASSM||7 in Agile topics|
|DAC||7 in Agile topics|
|DAVSC||7 in Agile topics|
What about other professional bodies?
All professional bodies to my knowledge require project managers to demonstrate ongoing competence.
APM uses the term CPD: Continuous Professional Development. This means the same thing – an ongoing commitment to learning as a professional to demonstrate that we are equipped for modern challenges and still capable of doing the job.
APM has a requirement on Fellows (like me) to do 35 hours of development per year.
In order to maintain your PRINCE2® certificate , AXELOS requires you to do 20 hours of CPD per year. That entitles you to a digital badge. (Yes, they also call it CPD.)
How to earn PDUs
There are loads of different ways to earn PDUs. Here are some common methods:
- Courses: Learning online or in the classroom tends to require multiple hours of study so that’s a great way to earn a lot of PDUs at a time. Take advantage of any training offered by your employer and log all your hours.
- Volunteering: Giving back to the profession comes in lots of different forms, from volunteering at your local PMI Chapter to donating your time to Project Managers Without Borders and more.
These methods apply regardless of what professional body you are earning them for. Follow the exact guidelines as laid out by your membership organization, but I’m pretty sure that there is a lot of commonality between what counts as ongoing professional development.
Types of PDUs
PMI splits PDUs into a number of categories, and certification holders are expected to earn the required amount of each. Be sure to check the exact requirements in your credential handbook.
Leadership PDUs are typically the hardest to earn, so you might want to put some time into thinking about how to get those.
If you need to earn PDUs fast , then I’d recommend the PDU Podcast as that’s a good resource to have playing in the background while you do other things around the house or office.
For me, the hardest thing is remembering to keep a record. I do a load of writing, research, mentoring, listening to podcasts, teaching, developing training materials and more – all of which count towards my professional development credits.
However, I’m terrible at making a note of them and using the official online portals to log my time.
Don’t be like me!
Make a point of keeping your logs up to date so you don’t get to the end of the year and then have to scrap around trying to remember what you did.
APM has an Excel spreadsheet to use as a log, or you can use their online tool. PMI also has an online tool you can use for logging your time: the Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS), which you can access via their website.
Put 20 minutes, once a month, in your calendar and keep your records up to date because chances are, the year you don’t do that is the year you get audited.
This article first appeared at Rebel’s Guide to Project Management