PDUs and the PMI Examination Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Training hours

There’s a lot of confusion about the role of PDUs and the PMI exam eligibility requirements. The simple fact is PDUs are different to the hours of approved education needed to be eligible to sit for a PMI credential.

Approved education hours are accumulated by completing courses focused on the knowledge framework for the examination (basically the 9 knowledge areas of the PMBOK Guide for CAPM and PMP).  PMI requires the following:

  • CAPM 23 Hrs of approved general project management education
  • PMP 35 Hrs of approved general project management education
  • PMI-SP 40 Hrs of approved education in the specialist area of project scheduling
  • PgMP has no formal education requirements.

In the event of being audited, to prove to PMI your training is eligible you either need

  • a certificate from a PMI approved Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) such as Mosaic
  • or the course transcript showing the course covered the knowledge framework defined in the exam specification.

Eligible training hours are very specific, you can earn them by attending a classroom based course or participating in a web or email based course – it’s the course content that matters.  Eligible training does not have to be an exam preparation course, any combination of courses that cover the required knowledge framework count!

However, there is a significant difference between ‘eligible training’ and ‘effective training’.  Eligible training will allow you to apply for the examination.  To be reasonably sure of passing your examination specific preparation is essential (all PMI examinations have a fairly high failure rate). The purpose of a well structured exam prep course is to align your knowledge with the specific requirements of PMI’s mult-choice exam questions. For more on this see The Right Way, the Wrong Way and the PMI Way.


PDUs are completely different – the requirements for PDUs are set out in the PMI Continuing Certification Requirements handbook (CCR). PDU stands for Professional Development Unit.

As a starting point, you can only earn PDUs after you have passed your exam. Exam preparation courses cannot provide PDUs for the credential you are studying towards: you have to complete the course to be eligible to sit the exam and can only earn PDUs after you have passed the exam.

In limited circumstances the study for another credential may earn PDUs; if a person already holds a PMP credential and is undertaking a course of study for the PMI-SP credential, the hours of training for the PMI-SP would earn PDUs for her PMP but NOT for her PMI-SP.

The only way for a PMP to earn PDUs from a PMP exam prep course is to take a second PMP exam prep course after you have passed your PMP. As a training organisation we can see some merit in this ($$$$) but practically there is no point.

The other key difference is PDUs can be earned from a very wide range of activities including attending conferences, participating in webinars, being a volunteer and writing papers as well as attending training courses. Similarly for a training course to earn PDUs it only has to be relevant to your work and associated with project management (eg, an ITIL course). This covers a very much wider spectrum than the focussed training needed to to earn the hours needed to be eligible for a credential.

Click here for more on earning and recording PDUs


  • Most activities that improve your capability as a professional will earn PDUs.
  • Only focused training based on the exam specification counts towards the training hours needed to be eligible for a credential.
  • You must accrue the eligible training before applying for the credential
  • You can only start earning PDUs after you have passed the credential.

For more information see:

5 responses to “PDUs and the PMI Examination Eligibility Requirements

  1. Pingback: PMP Eligibility Requirements | Act Knowledge

  2. For PMP we need 3 years of Project management experience right?

  3. Pingback: PMI PDU Update | Mosaicproject's Blog

  4. Great! I think they all have appropriate knowledge regarding any field. Thanks for sharing these educational blogs over here.

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