11 Free PDU Earning Ways – Free PMP PDU Sources

If you hold a PMI certification, you need to earn a certain amount of PDUs to renew your certification. Professionals seek Free PDU resources when it comes to renewing their certification. They look for Free PMP PDU courses, Free PDU webinars, Free PDU events, and so on.

In this article, we’ve explored the 11 legitimate PMI-approved free PDU earning ways. Let’s go on through each way one by one.

📌 Hint: Do not skip this article, you will find FREE PDU resources throughout the article.

How many PDUs do you need to claim?

Before diving into free PMP PDU resources, you should determine how many PDUs you need to claim to renew your certification. PMI requires a different number of PDUs for each certification track.

  • If you have a PMP®, PgMP®, PfMP®, or PMI-PBA®, you must earn 60 PDUs in a three-year cycle. There is a further requirement for these 60 PDUs as well. You must earn at least 35 Education PDUs and you can earn at most 25 Giving Back PDUs.
  • If you have a PMI-ACP®, PMI-RMP®, or PMI-SP®, you must earn 30 PDUs in a three-year cycle. You must earn at least 18 Education PDUs and you can earn at most 12 Giving Back PDUs.
  • If you have a CAPM®, you must earn 15 PDUs in a three-year cycle. You must earn at least 9 Education PDUs and you can earn at most 6 giving back PDUs.

Note that, there are further details about PMI triangle categories. You can learn more about PMP PDU requirements. Let’s move on to Free PMP PDU earning ways now.

💡Julia Boyer renewed her PMP certification. Read Julia’s PMP renewal story!

Free PDU Categories at a Glance

There are two main categories to earn Free PDUs. Education and Giving Back. Education PDUs can be earned at professional seminars, webinars, classes, or even self-directed learning. Giving Back to the Profession PDUs can be earned through volunteering, mentoring, working with professional groups, and more. Each of these are the ways to earn Free PMP PDU hours.

The following table summarizes the 11 ways to earn Free PDU for PMP Renewal.

11 Ways to Earn Free PDUs
Education Giving Back
1-Course or Training (*Most Popular) 1- Work as a Practitioner
2- Global Events 2- Create Content
3- Local Meetings 3- Give a Presentation
4- Online or Digital Media 4- Share Knowledge
5- Reading 5- Volunteer
6- Informal Learning

You can watch our 11 PMI Approved Ways to Earn PDUs video on YouTube.

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1st Free PDU Earning Way – Free PMP PDU Courses

As we’ve highlighted in the table, Free PMP renewal PDU course programs are the most popular way to earn PDUs among PMP-certified professionals. The following infographic summarizes why PMI-certified professionals opt for PDU courses when renewing their certifications.

PMP Renewal PDU

While there are several benefits of renewing PMP through PMP renewal PDU courses, here are the top five reasons:

  1. No Caps: There is no maximum limit for the education category, so, you can earn all 60 PMP PDUs in one program, and renew your PMP. You do not need to go elsewhere to find additional PDUs.
  2. Self-Paced: You do not need to attend an event, conference, or seminar. You can follow the courses at your place, at your pace.
  3. Affordable: Depending on the program content, you can enroll in a self-paced PMP Renewal PDU course bundle for ~$200-300. However, seminars or conferences start from $1,000, not only that, you cannot earn all PDU needs in one event.
  4. Requires less effort: When you enroll in PMP Renewal PDU Courses, all you have to do is follow the curriculum, earn PDUs, and renew your PMP. However, other PDU earning ways require significant effort from the PMP-certification holder such as creating content, sharing a presentation, volunteering, etc.
  5. Less prone to PMI audit: Since the PDU training programs are used by many PMP-certified professionals, PMI already has a track and record of the activities. However, for other categories, PDU submissions are more unique and may be more likely to hit a PMI audit.

We’ve explored this alternative in detail in the PMP PDU Courses article.

60 PMP PDU for PMP Renewal

Free PDU Courses or Training Programs Accepted by PMI as a Source of PDU

PMI accepts instructor-led formal education courses or classes held in-person or online. Here is a list of courses accepted by PMI as a source of PDUs.

  • Virtual and in-person instructor-led courses from PMI Training
  • Online courses are available on demand
  • Academic education through programs accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC)
  • Training courses offered by PMI Authorized Training Partners
  • Disciplined Agile or PMP® certification training courses offered by a PMI Authorized Training Partner
  • Courses from other third-party providers (SFBS 60 PMP PDU Course Online program belongs to this category).

Note that, earning all PDU needs through Free PDU resources is not practical. However, you can earn a few Free PDU hours from Free PDU courses.

San Francisco Business School offers a comprehensive 60 PMP PDU Online Course program. The program offers three self-paced business training programs: Executive LeadershipStrategy Creation & Execution, and Marketing Strategy. For each course in the program, SFBS awards a certificate of graduation. While earning PDUs, you will earn reputable business merits to highlight in your resume and LinkedIn.

SFBS Course Diploma & LinkedIn Certificate

Watch how Julia Earned 60 PDUs and Renewed Her PMP

Julia Boyer is a PMP-certified Professional from Dallas, Texas. Julia enrolled in the 60 PMP PDU Program from SFBS and renewed her PMP. Watch now her PMP renewal journey.

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2nd Way – Attending Free Global Events

Several project management conferences, events, and activities are organized throughout the year. Note that, these events are generally premium events and you need a ticket to attend the event. However, some employers pay for the ticket price for their employees. Or, if the employer is a sponsor in the organization, employees of the sponsor organization can attend for free. So, you can attend these events and earn Free PDUs for your PMI certification renewal.

Typically, a one-day activity earns 6 PDUs. So, if you attended a two-day event, you will earn around 12 PDUs.

Attending global events has benefits like expanding your professional network and learning the changing trends in your domain. However, there are some pitfalls to these events.

  • Typically organized in big cities. If you are living in a relatively smaller city, you might not see any events to earn PDUs.
  • Requires in-person attendance. Many of the events take a few days, and you have to take days off from your work to attend these events.
  • Expensive. Typically, these events are charged $1,000/day. So, for a two-day event, you need to pay around $2,000. Travel and accommodation, if needed, are not included in these fees.
  • Does not earn 60 PDUs at once. Although it requires a significant amount of time and money, you cannot earn all 60 PDUs through one event.

Considering you are a full-time working professional and looking to earn 60 PMP Renewal PDU hours in one step, we do not recommend this way for earning Free PDUs.

3rd Way – Local Free PDU Meetings

PMI has an extensive network in many countries and cities. In many major cities, there are PMI chapters and they organize 1-2 hour events every month. In many cases, these events are for free. Typically, one presenter talks about a topic for 1-2 hours and the attendees follow the activity. These activities typically earn 1-2 PDUs. You can earn Free PDUs by attending these Free PDU meetings.

4th Way – Free PMP PDU Online or Digital Media

PMI accepts self-paced learning activities as a source of PDUs. You can find several Free PMP PDU programs online while many of them offer limited PDUs. San Francisco Business School offers a self-paced Free PMP PDU Course Online Program as well. If you attend this program, you can earn 3 Free PDUs and submit them in the Online or Digital Media sub-category under the Education category.

Free PMP PDU Course Program

Free PMP PDU Webinars

There are several project management webinars organized on the web. If you can attend these Free PDU webinars, you can earn Free PMP PDU hours to claim on your PMI profile. Free PMP PDU webinars typically earn 1 PDU and last for one hour.

Free PDU webinars can be on different business-related topics. Such as how to start your own company, fundamentals of entrepreneurship, common mistakes on project management, etc.

5th Way – Reading Free PDU Resources

Self-directed reading relevant to the certification you hold can be claimed for PDUs. For instance, reading a project management-related blog, a business education blog, or a book can count PDUs toward renewing your PMP certification. 1 hour of reading counts as 1 PDU, however, everyone’s reading pace is different. So, earning Free PDUs for PMP renewal through reading resources is not a crystal clear way to go.

6th Way – Informal Learning

You can earn Free PDUs by engaging in structured professional discussions with others, for example, mentoring or “lunch and learn” sessions. For instance, if you are giving a presentation to your colleagues about project management, you can submit this as PDUs.

Important Note: The 7th through 11th Way of Earning PMP Renewal PDUs below are under the Giving Back category. As we’ve outlined in the beginning of the article, you can claim a maximum of 25 PDUs through Giving Back PDUs.

7th Way – Free PDU for PMP Renewal as Working as a Practitioner

By working in your certified role, you can earn Free PDUs by applying your knowledge and skills in a practical setting. If you are working in a project management-related role, you can earn up to 8 Free PDUs as working as a practitioner. However, it has a limitation. PMI accepts a maximum of 8 PDUs in a three-year cycle for the work as a practitioner category.

After earning 8 Free PDUs under the Working as a Practitioner category, you will need additional PDUs to complete your 60 PMP PDU cycle. SFBS offers 45, 30, and 15 PDU programs as well.

If you need fewer than 60 PDUs, you can opt for one of these programs.

8th Way – Create Content

Do you write articles or blogs? Give webinars? Make videos? Today’s digital world is full of new content and anything you create counts towards your re-certification. Typically, you can claim Free PDU hours for the hours you worked on project management content creation. For instance, if you wrote a blog post for an hour, you can claim 1 PDU in your PMI profile.

Creating content is cumbersome. There are several aspects of curating quality content. If your profession involves creating content, it is fine, you can earn Free PMP renewal PDU hours while you are working. However, just to earn PDUs, creating content is a tough path.

9th Way – Give a Presentation

If you speak at your organization, at a PMI chapter event, or at a conference, you can claim PDUs for it. For instance, if you gave a speech in a project management activity for an hour, you can claim 1 hour PDU for this activity in your PMI profile.

While there are nearly one million PMP-certified professionals, only a few thousand professionals could have earned PMP PDUs through this way. Because giving a speech to top-notch professionals requires exclusive skills. Besides, you should be invited to these events as a speaker, so you can earn PDUs.

10th Way – Share Knowledge

Others can benefit from your experience and knowledge. Keep track of the time you spend mentoring and teaching and claim it towards re-certification. An example of this can be sharing your knowledge in a discussion group at work. If you have a group of professionals sharing knowledge, if you attend those activities, you can claim Free PDUs.

For instance, if you’ve explored the ways of using AI in project management and want to share this knowledge with your colleagues, you can earn a Free PDU for PMP renewal through this activity. You can gather in a meeting room and share your knowledge with your colleagues.

11th Way – Volunteer

PMI is just one of many organizations that relies on volunteers. Why not become one and earn Free PDU credit toward re-certification in the process? You can search for volunteering options at the PMI website. Note that, these activities may not be available in your location if you are living in a small city.

Summary of Free PDU Ways

PMI requires PMI-certified professionals to earn PDU hours every three years. There are 11 ways to earn Free PDUs. The first six are under the Education category and the last five are under the Giving Back category. You can earn all required PDUs in the Education category. However, there is a maximum PDU earning limit for the Giving Back category.

PMP Renewal PDU course programs are the most popular way to earn PDUs. Professionals choose to earn PDUs through courses because they are self-paced, affordable, and require less effort. Since there is no cap for the education category, professionals can earn all the required PDUs at once through PMP PDU course programs. One of the other benefits of PDU courses is they are less prone to PMI audits.

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