Giving Back PDUs

PMI requires that all certification credential holders must earn PDUs to maintain their certification. 

PDUs are officially known as Professional Development Units . PDUs are one-hour blocks of time learning, teaching others, or volunteering.  By accumulating and tracking these over a three-year period, you can maintain your certification status with PMI. 

If you have a PMP®, PgMP®, PfMP®, PMI-PBA®, you will need to earn 60 PDUs in a three-year cycle.

Giving Back PDUs Confusion

Most PMI credential holders are confused by Giving Back PDUs.  PMI allows different ways to earn these PDUs. (This is where things can get confusing but I will try to simplify them). As stated above, PDUs are one-hour blocks of time that you spend learning, teaching others, volunteering or working as a PM practitioner. Learning is defined by PMI as “Education PDUs”.   PMI defines “Giving Back” as activities that enable you to share and apply your knowledge and skills as a means to contribute to and help build the profession. 

Education PDUs are REQUIRED.  Giving back PDUs (teaching others, volunteering, etc) are OPTIONAL – NOT MANDATORY.

PMI has the following image on their website.  Notice how Education has the word “Required” under it and Giving Back has the word “Optional” under it.  

Many PMI credential holders believe that “Giving Back PDUs” are required to renew their PMI credential. THEY ARE NOTGiving Back PDUs are one of the different ways that PMI allows to earn PDUs. 

Earning PMI Recertification PDUs

There are two options for earning the correct amount and types of PMI recertification PDUs. The two options are:

Option 1 - Earn All Required PMI Recertification PDUs in Education Courses

The first and easiest way to earn PMI recertification PDUs is to complete 60 PDUs of education courses from any PMI ATP (formerly called a REP).  The PDUnow site is an example of a PMI ATP site. This would be option 1 from the graphic above. The PMI website states the following:
“There is no limit to the number of Education PDUs that you can earn – meaning that you can earn all 60 PDUs in Education if you choose.”

Option 2 - Earn Some Giving Back PDUs and Then Earn the Remaining PDUs in Education Courses.

All PMI credential holders can earn “Giving Back” PDUs. PMI allows the option to earn up to 25 PDUs for your activities in this area. Again, you are not required to earn Giving Back PDUs, you have the option to earn “up to” or “a maximum of” 25 Giving Back PDUs.  

You must earn the remaining PDUs in education courses.  For example: 

New Dashboard Image is Confusing Many PMI Credential Holders

When you log into your dashboard on, PMI has added a new graphic which most PMPs also find very confusing.  

This image is showing essentially the same thing as described above. Giving Back PDUs are still optional. You can earn all 60 PDUs in Educations courses. However, you are required to earn a minimum of 35 PDUs for Education Courses, if you are going to earn 25 Giving Back PDUs (the max allowed). You can also each any combination of Education PDUs and Giving Back PDUs as long as they total 60 PDUs.

If you have any questions about Giving Back PDUs, you should contact PMI Support at: