January 8, 2019 by Fakhar Imam

Note: The CERT-CSIH certification is being retired on April 30, 2021. Browse current IT and security certifications.

“The SEI will be retiring this CSIH certification program and exam on April 30, 2021. After that date, the SEI will no longer process any candidate applications or certification renewals, it will no longer grant any new CERT CSIH certifications, and the CSIH certification exam will no longer be available for certification candidates. The SEI will maintain existing CERT CSIH certifications on the certified professionals list until they have expired.” — Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University

Earning PDUs, or Professional Development Units, is necessary to meet the renewal requirements of the Computer Security Incident Handler certification (CERT-CSIH, or just CSIH). It also keeps you abreast of the latest processes and technologies associated with computer security incident-handling activities. These activities often involve detecting the incident and responding immediately to eliminate a threat altogether or mitigate its impact. The latest recovery techniques are also applied to recover a loss. This certification was designed by the Software Engineering Institute, or SEI.

Put plainly, a PDU is a quantifying unit that measures development and learning activities related to incident handling. It also shows that a candidate is committed to maintaining and expanding their technical abilities and skills.

In this article, you will be able to know how CERT-CSIH PDUs can be earned, what CERT-CSIH PDU guidelines are and how CERT-CSIH PDUs are calculated.

How Can I Earn CERT-CSIH PDUs?

You can earn CERT-CSIH PDUs by participating in numerous renewal activities associated with incident handling. The SEI requires candidates to participate in professional growth activities to expand their skills. For this purpose, the SEI divides renewal activities into four categories, with each category containing a certain number of PDUs. The following sections describe each of the four categories.

Authoring Activities

Becoming an author is worth it, even when you burn the midnight oil to write and get your work published. Whether you are an author or co-author of something which has been published, it will make you capable of earning PDUs. You can earn a maximum of 30 PDUs per renewal period by taking part in authoring activities:

  • You can earn 20 PDUs by authoring or co-authoring a book or a test book regarding computer security, provided the book is published within your renewal cycle
  • You can earn 10 PDUs per activity by authoring, co-authoring or acting as a contributing editor for an online newsletter related to computer security
  • You can earn 10 PDUs by authoring or co-authoring the article pertaining to computer security incident handling. However, this article must be published in a magazine or journal that is approved by the SEI

Continuing Education

Participating in Continuing Education (CE) programs allows candidates to earn up to 23 PDUs per renewal period. These activities involve professional or formal academic education. However, this education must be primarily concerned with computer security.

  • The SEI offers a seminar or course to candidates. A student can earn one (1) PDU for each hour he/she spends to complete the course. Moreover, this course can also be offered by SEI’s partner or SEI’s approved training provider
  • A candidate can earn 10 PDUs by completing one (1) CEU (Continuing Education Unit). A CEU is a nationally acceptable measurement of participation in the approved non-credit CE program. Earing 1 CEU is equal to 10 PDUs
  • A student can attain 10 PDUs by completing 2.5 hours per week in a 10-week course, which is equal to one (1) academic quarter hour. However, if he completes one (1) semester hour (which is equal to 2.5 hours per week in a 15-week course), he will be able to earn 15 PDUs

Teaching, Presentation and Development

A candidate can earn up to 20 PDUs per renewal period through teaching, presentation and development programs.

  • One (1) PDU can be earned by taking part one (1) hour in the development of presentation for a conference, seminar or a society meeting
  • Speaking one (1) hour in a seminar, conference or a society meeting will result in earning one (1) PDU
  • Participating one (1) hour to develop course curricula awards 1 PDU for each activity
  • One (1) PDU can be earned by one (1) hour teaching courseware related to incident handling

Professional Activities

A candidate can earn up to 40 PDUs per renewal period by participating in professional activities. One (1) PDU credit is earned by spending one (1) hour in a professional activity associated with incident handling. To earn PDUs through professional activities that are approved by the SEI, the students should:

  • Complete an SEI survey of the certified professional community
  • Attend society meetings or approved association
  • Complete in-house educational classes, training or seminar
  • Perform incident management tasks for at least 25 percent of full-time work activities,
  • Participate in a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). A CSIRT is a concrete organization entity that may contain one or more staff to provide 24/7 computer security incident response services to a user, organization or a government agency

What Are the CERT-CSIH PDUs Guidelines?

The validity period of CERT-CSIH certification is a three-year cycle. The expiration period starts from the last day of the month in which this certification was granted. To avoid expiration, a CSIH professional must send 60 PDUs to SEI within the last month of expiration.

The students must pay a fee of $150 through the Certification Renewal Payment Form. Without a fee, an application of renewal cannot be entertained.

The SEI provides the CSIH Certification Renewal Activity Log form to the candidates. The candidates have to provide all PDU-related detail in the form and submit it to

The SEI doesn’t pre-approve PDUs. The candidate must ensure that his/her activities fulfill the renewal criteria. Please note that the SEI can perform an audit on the PDUs.


The CERT-CSIH exam requires every candidate to earn 60 PDUs during his/her three-year certification life cycle. If a student is unable to reach this limit, his/her certificates will expire after a three-year period.

The SEI (the vendor of the CSIH certification) has identified four different renewal activities. The candidate can participate in these activates to earn PDUs. Once the student earn required PDUs, he/she needs to fill two forms — namely the Renewal Activity Log and Payment Form — and submit them to the appropriate email address ( Finally, the SEI will review and approve the candidate’s application if all activities are valid.


  1. CERT-Certified Computer Security Incident Handler, Software Engineering Institute
  2. Welcome to CSIRT, CSIRT
Posted: January 8, 2019
Fakhar Imam
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Fakhar Imam is a professional writer with a master’s program in Masters of Sciences in Information Technology (MIT). To date, he has produced articles on a variety of topics including on Computer Forensics, CISSP, and on various other IT related tasks.