Maintaining Your PMP Certification: Renewal Requirements

September 5, 2018 by Greg Belding
The Project Management Professional (PMP) and the PMI Talent Triangle are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.


Earning certifications can be a great way to boost your career, earn more money, gain more respect from colleagues and peers, and more.  The Project Management Professional certification, or PMP, is a great certification to earn for all of the above reasons.  However, like many other certifications, the PMP certification requires that certification holders keep up with certain renewal and maintenance requirements in order to stay in good standing.  This article will explore what is expected of PMP certification holders with regard to renewal and maintenance of their certification and will answer specific questions that PMP certification holders have.

What Are the PMP Renewal Requirements?

To understand the PMP certification renewal requirements you first have to understand the life cycle of the certification.  After you have earned your PMP certification, you have to certify that your skill set is up to date via the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program.

The requirements of the CCR program are simple: Earn at least 60 Professional Development Units, or PDUs, within the time period of the cycle.  The PMP certification cycle lasts for three years.  At the end of the three-year cycle, if the requirements of the CCR program have been satisfied, another three-year cycle begins wherein another 60 PDU must be earned to keep the certification current.

This begs one glaring question – when does the three-year cycle begin tolling?  The time considered to be the beginning of the certification life cycle is the day of the passing of the PMP certification exam.  The certification holder will then have until the third anniversary of the day of the passing of the PMP certification exam before the next certification cycle begins.

Next, 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 certification holders will need to pay the renewal fee to PMI.  This will be followed by the last step in the renewal process, which is the confirmation email sent out by PMI confirming a successful renewal of the PMP certification.

What are the PMP PDU Maintenance Requirements?

To understand what are the PMP PDU maintenance requirements you have to first understand the PDU.  In its most distilled form, PDUs can be defined by time spent in a continuing education classroom – where one hour of classroom time is the equivalent to one PDU.  Despite this, satisfying the PDU requirements is not as easy as spending 60 hours in a classroom.  There are certain qualifications that need to satisfied in order for the PDUs to count toward your goal of PMP PDU maintenance.

First, one of the most important distinctions within the PDU architecture is that the PDUs can be earned from either classroom time or time spent giving back to the profession.  Below is a chart that you can use to help keep straight what is considered education and what is considered giving back to the profession:

Education                                Attend classroom course or training course

Education                                Organization meetings for a maximum of 2 PDU

Education                                Digital media or online

Education                                Self-Reading – Reading Project Management Books/Blogs/Articles

Education                                Informal learning

Giving Back                             Work as practitioner in your certified role for a maximum of 8 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 – Teaching, Mentoring, Applying Knowledge

As you can see above, PMP certification holders have a lot of options in terms of how they want to earn these PDUs.

Despite this apparent flexibility in earning PDUs, there are some restrictions that 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.

Adding to this, there are certain 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.

PMI defines technical project management to mean methodical, with building expertise in project management methodologies.  These skills are complimented by real world experience and solutions that are implemented to overcome project management challenges. The project manager is expected to be able to effectively apply this structured accumulated project management knowledge in the real world.

With regard to leadership, 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 includes negotiation skills, team development, conflict management abilities, emotional intelligence, resource intelligence, and more.

PMI defines Strategic and Business management as what is necessary to improve project implementation and deliver the best possible results for the organization.  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 be able to simplify any complexity they can.

To satisfy the education PDU requirement, PMP certification holders cannot put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket.  Rather, a minimum of 8 PDUs must be earned from each of the different parts of the PMI Talent Triangle.  While this will not break down to 3 equal parts of the PMI Talent Triangle, PMP certification holders can let their individual 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?

The good thing about PMI memberships is that if a certification has been canceled, the PMI membership will not be cancelled.  This means that 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 a span of three years.  At the end of this three year period, PMP certification holders will have to renew their certification in order to keep benefiting from this certification.

If you do not meet the requirements for renewal, your certification will be in suspension status.  Suspension status lasts for one year or until the certification holder can meet the renewal requirements or earn the PDUs that they lacked.  During the suspension period, you cannot hold your self out as being a PMP certification holder or use the PMP designation.

If at the end of the one-year suspension period you still have not met the requirements for renewal, you will enter expired status.  To reinstate your PMP certification from expired status, you will have to reapply for the PMP certification, pay the exam fee, and pass the PMP certification exam again.

Do I Have to Retake the Exam?

Another good thing about the PMP certification is that certification holders do not have to retake the exam in order to renew their certification.  However, if your certification expires you will have to retake the certification exam as explained above.  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.


The Project Management Professional, or PMP, certification hosted by PMI is a very useful certification for project managers.  Like many other high-powered certifications, the PMP certification has to be maintained and renewed every three years.  If you use the information above regarding maintaining and renewing your PMP certification, you will easily and effectively keep your certification in good standing.



Posted: September 5, 2018
Articles Author
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.

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