How to earn free professional development units (PDUS)

August 5, 2019

As a project management professional with Project Management Institute (PMI) certification, you need to ensure that your skills stay up-to-date by earning mandatory professional development units (PDUs).

Capella core faculty member Don Gottwald, PhD, provided some tips on where to find reputable programs that will keep project managers current—and at no additional cost.

Project management webinars and podcasts

Project management professionals are likely to be members of PMI (and if they’re not already, they should consider signing up right away with this leading industry association).

PMI offers on-demand and live webinars through that allow certified project managers to pursue PDUs. These webinars cover a wide range of topics, including blockchain, Agile, Waterfall, security issues, and supply chain innovation, among others. also has podcasts for its members, many of which are free and eligible for PDU credit.

Create and contribute content

Another avenue for free PDUs is to create and contribute original content to through its Knowledge Shelf program. Knowledge Shelf is a vast library of materials written by project management professionals on a wide range of topics, from broad overviews to niche focuses. Besides earning PDU credit, this is an opportunity to develop publication credit as well.

Educational events

As a member of PMI, you can earn PDUs by attending educational events held by local chapters, which are sometimes free or available at a discounted rate. There are also national programs, but those usually come with a fee.

Giving back

There are several additional paths to PDUs that don’t involve costs. These include:

  • Daily work. If you’re working in an area related to your certification(s), you’re applying your knowledge and skills in a practical setting. That can be translated to PDUs.
  • Give a presentation. Speaking on a project management-related topic at a PMI chapter event, professional conference, or at your place of employment can count for PDU credit.
  • Volunteer. PMI gives PDU credits for certain volunteer roles, including PMI committees or teams. You can also volunteer your certification-related skills to a nonprofit, or work as a mentor or in a teaching capacity, as long as you’re giving instruction on project management-related education and topics.

Check with the PMI for details about any of these methods of earning PDUs.

Capella University’s undergrad project management offerings provide access to PMI certification exams at no additional cost. Learn more about Capella University’s Bachelor’s in Business with a Project Management specialization and Bachelor’s in Information Technology with a Project Management Specialization.

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