PMP 35 Contact Hours OR PDUs for CCR: Should I Get Only From PMI REP?

PMP 35 Contact Hours35 contact hours of project management education is a mandatory requirement set by Project Management Institute to take up PMP exam.

There is a general misconception among PMP students that they must get this from PMI certified REP (registered education providers).

One of the common questions I also receive from PMP aspirants is whether they can show PM education from non-REPs towards PDUs (Professional Development Units) – necessary for maintaining PMP credentials.

The fact is that project management education providers that are not certified by PMI (non-REPs) can also provide 35hrs contact education as well as PDUs! And PMI recognizes and accepts these.

Let us explore in a bit detail.

PMP 35 Contact Hours Defined

First let us see how does PMI mean by ‘contact hour’. PMI’s PMP handbook explains it as, “One contact hour is equivalent to one actual hour of training or instruction received.”

Contact hours can be translated as those formal training hours that you need to invest in as a certification aspirant.

Contact hours can be earned from REPs or non REPs in any of the forms given below –

  • Face-to-face training sessions
  • Virtual training sessions
  • Online self-learning
  • Instructor-led classroom training
  • Instructor-led live virtual classroom training

All of your 35 contact hour education need not come from single education provider or single course.

PDU Vs Contact Hours confusion

We understood what constitutes Contact hour, above. Now let us understand how PMI defines PDU – “PDUs are the measuring unit used to quantify approved learning and professional service activities”.

Many PMP students believe that they need 35 PDUs for the exam. What you need is Contact hours not PDUs. The confusion arises because the training programs provide 35 contact hour certificate as well as PDUs.

Remember: Contact hours are needed BEFORE your PMP exam, and PDUs are needed AFTER your PMP exam.

Once you get PMI certified, you enter re-certification cycle within which you have to acquire a specific number of PDUs to maintain your certification.

For instance, if you are a PMP certified professional, you need to renew your certification every 3 years, and it takes 60 PDUs to renew your PMP certified status.

PDUs, an integral part of PMI CCR program, is intended to keep us relevant and updated with the latest trends and practices in Project Management. One PDU is equivalent to one hour of project management training that you can pursue via REPs or non-REPs.

Below is an excerpt from PMI about non-REP training and PDUs from CCR handbook –

non-rep pdus pmi handbook proof

In short, PMI allows you to submit 35-hrs of contact education certificate from non-REPs as well.

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How to get non-REP PDUs?

There are many ways to achieve non-REP PDUs.

If you are a PM practitioner, then that itself is a great PDU opportunity.

Alternately, you can opt for continuing professional education programs from non-REPs.

What you need to figure out is the right segregation of PDU activities under technical, leadership, and strategic business management buckets (Talent Triangle).

Talent Triangle is a new concept that PMI introduced during the revamp of Continuing Certification Requirements program in 2015 to streamline the process.

PDU efforts, like those given below, are effective and meaningful, because you’ll be educating others by sharing your insights when you’re earning PDUs.

  • Provide PM training to community
  • Write project management books
  • Give presentation, webinars & conferences in project management or related domains

Once you earn enough PDUs, it’s time to submit PDU claims for the activities before the certification validity period expires.

The Complete Guide to PMP 35 Contact Hours of Project Management Education

Claiming PMP PDUs

Given below are the main steps in claiming / reporting PMI PDUs –

  1. Log into PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements System at
  2. Click ‘Report PDUs’ option on the left side bar
  3. Select ‘Course or Training’ option under Education section

pmi ccr report pdu

4. Mention details of the training provider along with the date and duration of training

pdu entry pmi ccr ccrs

5. Make sure you show the number of PDUs (cross check with your certificate provider) under ‘Technical’ part of the Talent Triangle option, under ‘PDUs Claimed’ sub section

That’s about it.

In closing,

You may want to get your PMP 35 contact hours (to fulfill PMI’s mandatory requirement) or your PDUs (for CCR) right now. While searching for training provider ensure that you choose the best players in the training industry, who focus on the quality of their training. It is also important to choose someone that has a great track record.

Coupled with your enthusiasm to excel, the PMI certification and the renewal process is sure to help you evolve in your career.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • T cooper July 19, 2016, 6:04 pm

    Hi Shiv!
    Been procrastinating about pmp for a while. I might be immigrating this year, and since I’m 35 with only a local degree some friends suggested that I complete a pmp certification to have some chance of getting an office job in my new country.
    I’m trying to get my 35 contact hours to atleast complete my registration. Because of work commitments, my only option is an online course.
    What do you recommend? Simplilearn? Pm prepcast? Or something else?

    • Shiv Shenoy August 15, 2016, 11:59 am

      Hi! Online courses have few advantages over classroom setting. I personally used PM PrepCast and been recommending this to my coaching students. Couple of months ago I also got a chance to look at updated content from Simplilearn and am quite impressed with that too. You’ll see my reviews of both on this blog. I have included lot of data raw data points so you can go through both and decide which one is better suited for your style of learning. As far as my books are concerned I’m offering the same set as bonus for both these products.
      Hope this helps.
      Good luck!

  • Danilo Tambone July 12, 2016, 2:36 am

    Hi Shiv,
    Thanks for clarifying this!

    Let’s also remember that, for PMI requirements, when PMP candidates want to get their 35 contact hours, from either REP or non-REP online providers, they have to make sure that the online provider includes an end-of-course assessment and final certification, in order to make those 35 contact hours valid.
    Without the assessment, it’s like simple personal study, and this is not according to the spirit of the PMI for PMP candidates (or any other certification of theirs).

    Differently, no test is required for PMP certificate holders who want to report PDUs after watching a video or reading a book on Project Management (but some personal written notes will come in handy in case the PMI makes you an audit anytime).

    Thanks again for sharing, and all the best!

    Danilo Tambone