Maintaining your PMP certification: Renewal requirements [updated 2021]

July 28, 2021 by Greg Belding
The Project Management Professional (PMP) and the PMI Talent Triangle are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is a great way to boost your career, earn more money, gain more respect from colleagues and peers and more. However, like many other qualifications, certification holders must keep up with certain renewal and maintenance requirements to stay in good standing.

What are the PMP renewal requirements?

To understand the PMP renewal requirements, you first have to understand the life cycle of the certification. After you have earned the credential, you have to certify that your skillset is up to date via the continuing certification requirements (CCRs) program used to sustain PMI credentials’ global recognition and value.

The requirements of the CCR program are simple: earn at least 60 professional development units (PDUs) within the three-year cycle. You are responsible for recording your PDU activities by using CCRs. If you do not earn and record the required PDUs within your CCR cycle, the certification will be suspended and will eventually go into an expired status. “Certification holders who are military personnel called to active duty, incapacitated due to illness or out on maternity leave can request an extension,” according to PMI. 

Professionals can complete PDUs during the suspension period and may apply them to their recent CCR cycle.

So, when does the three-year cycle begin? The time considered to be the beginning of the certification life cycle is the day of passing the PMP certification exam. The certification holder will then have until the third anniversary of the passing of the PMP certification exam before the next certification cycle begins. This also counts for subsequent cycles even if completing the requirements and applying for renewal early. So, for example, if the certification renewal date is July 1, 2019, but you renewed early on March 1, 2019, your certification renewal date will still be July 1, 2022, (three years from the original renewal date).

PMP certification holders need to fill out and submit the application for certification renewal. Make sure that you include your current contact information and your PMI member ID. The application for certification renewal can be found on the PMI member login web portal.

After filling out and submitting the certification renewal application, PMP credential holders will need to pay the renewal fee (PMI member price is $60/non-member is $150); submit your payment by logging onto This will be followed by the last step in the renewal process, which PMI sent out confirming a successful renewal of the PMP certification.

What are the PMP PDU maintenance requirements?

Certain qualifications need to be satisfied for the PDUs to count toward your goal of PMP PDU maintenance. Hours can be logged either through classroom time or time spent giving back to the profession. Below is a chart that you can use to understand the two concepts:

Education Attend classroom or online courses

Education Organization meetings for a maximum of two PDU

Education Digital media or online

Education Self-Reading, reading PM Books/Blogs/Articles

Education Informal learning

Giving Back Work as a practitioner in your certified role for a max of eight PDU

Giving Back Creating content: create new sources of knowledge

Giving Back Giving presentations

Giving Back Volunteering for a not-for-profit, such as PMI

Giving Back Sharing Knowledge by teaching, mentoring or applying knowledge

As you can see above, PMP certification holders have many options in terms of how they want to earn these PDUs. Despite this apparent flexibility, some restrictions apply, which may make some reconsider how they plan on earning these continuing education units. For one, PMP certification holders can only earn up to 25 PDUs from giving back to the profession. This means that 35 PDUs will have to be earned from education.

You can earn your Education PDUs by attending classes offered by PMI or from one of its Authorized Training Partners (Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s), Chapters and Communities. Otherwise, go to a PMI congress, SeminarsWorld and other events, or consider self-directed learning activities (reading, listening to podcasts, watching videos etc.

There are specific guidelines regarding the education PDUs that PMP certification holders need to follow. These requirements flow from what PMI calls the PMP Talent Triangle.

The PMP Talent Triangle divides the skills taught via educational PDUs into three different categories: technical project management, leadership and strategic and business management. Moreover, these three categories have specific definitions, which are explored below.

Technical project management: the technical aspects of performing your job/role.

What this means to you is developing the skills complemented by real-world experience and solutions implemented to overcome project management challenges. The project manager is expected to effectively apply this structured accumulated project management knowledge in the real world.

Leadership: the ability to guide, motivate or direct others to achieve a goal.

PMP certification holders are expected to build the leadership skills that will help a project manager meet all project management objectives and expectations of the stakeholders by demonstrating appropriate behavior for the situation. Other skills related to this part of the talent triangle include negotiation skills, team development, conflict management abilities, emotional intelligence, resource intelligence and more.

Strategic and business management: the development of business management skills consistent with a clear strategic method and goal in mind.

To this end, the project manager will effectively execute their projects through the lens of the strategy and vision of organization leaders. The expectation here is that the project manager will demonstrate their strategic planning, entrepreneurial and contract management skills and simplify any complexity they can.

PMP certification holders cannot put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket to satisfy the education PDU requirement. A minimum of eight PDUs must be earned from each of the different parts of the PMI Talent Triangle. While this will not break down into three equal pieces of the PMI Talent Triangle, PMP certification holders can let their interests guide where they will invest their time for the remainder of their educational PDUs.

Can I regain membership if my certification has been canceled?

If a PMI certification is canceled, memberships stay active. This means that even if your certification has been cancelled, you will still have standing as a PMI member.

How long is the PMP certification good for?

As explained above, the PMP certification is good for three years. At the end of these three years, certified holders will have to renew their credentials to benefit from this certification.

If you do not meet the requirements for renewal, then your certification will be in suspension status. Suspension status lasts for one year or until the certification holder can fulfill the renewal requirements or earn the PDUs they lacked. You cannot act as a PMP certification holder during the suspension period or use the PMP designation.

If you still have not met the requirements for renewal at the end of the one-year suspension period, you will enter expired status. To reinstate your PMP certification from expired status, you will have to reapply by completing a new application, submitting the associated fees and retaking the examination, as mentioned in PMI’s CCR Handbook.

Do I have to retake the exam?

Another good thing about the PMP certification is that certified holders do not have to retake the exam to renew their credentials. If you have already earned the required 60 PDUs, submitted your application for certification renewal and have received your confirmation email from PMI, you are good to go. However, if your certification expires, you will have to retake the exam, as explained above.

Renew your PMP certification

The Project Management Professional, or PMP, certification is an excellent choice for project managers. Such a well-recognized and respected qualification validates expertise and skills in the field and can help impress current and potential employers.

To remain an active certificate holder in good standing status, however, the credential must be maintained and renewed through earning and reporting 60 PDUs within a three-year renewal cycle with rules and caveats as explained through the article.

This certification can play an essential role in your career development, and spending time to understand how to renew your PMP certification is a worthwhile investment.



Posted: July 28, 2021
Greg Belding
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Greg is a Veteran IT Professional working in the Healthcare field. He enjoys Information Security, creating Information Defensive Strategy, and writing – both as a Cybersecurity Blogger as well as for fun.