Nickle-and-dime PDUs: convenient, cost-effective ways to earn certification credits

November 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Posted in PMI, Study hints, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Editor’s note: Our guest blogger, PMP certification holder Colleen Reed, project manager for a Washington, D.C.-area information technology firm, shares her budget-busting method of acquiring PDUs.

My most excellent Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification comes with a requirement to take 60 continuing education credits of the PMI-approved sort, called professional development units (PDUs). I have three years from the receipt of my PMP to earn those 60 PDUs. There are many, MANY ways to earn credits, which the PMI helpfully lists here (http://www.pmi.org/Pages/Ten_Ways_to_Earn_PDUs.aspx). Some of these credit methods have limits; some do not.

My favorite method for earning my PDUs are those very inexpensive ($5) or free Web-broadcast seminars that account for between a half and two credits each. So far, I’ve nickle-n-dimed myself up about 10 credits worth of those classes.

My favorite class so far has been a Web-broadcast lecture on project risk management for the widening of the Panama Canal. It was hosted through the Washington, DC PMI chapter, and cost me $5 to “attend” online. That was an interesting political science and management lecture rolled into one convenient package. And it earned me 1.5 PDUs towards recertification. I also took some online webinar courses on Earned Value Management from Global Knowledge, which earned me a single PDU each.

Admittedly, this earning rate pales in comparison to, say, the 22 credits that I could earn for attending a three-day class of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But as a working professional, I find there are many advantages to these small-fry webinars:

  • The first one is convenience. I can “attend” a webinar from any location that has a computer and a connection, and sometimes I don’t even need to attend the presentation in real time.
  • The second advantage is targeted content. I can pick a class that covers a topic that I need, and earn PDU credit while also advancing my knowledge base.
  • The third advantage is what I consider my brain-full level. An hour of class time contains just about as much material as I want to absorb during my work day.
  • And the fourth advantage is, of course, cost. While my own company has a very generous training policy, many of us in the consulting business must arm-wrestle our companies for the time off to take courses, the money to take the classes, or both. These webinars are low-to-no cost, so might not be worth anyone’s time when it comes to fighting about money.

So, in short, using webinars to earn PDUs is a great idea. I get my PDUs when and where I want them, in bite-sized pieces, on topics that interest me, and no one is complaining about my training budget. To quote Stephen Covey, that’s a “win-win.”

Colleen Reed, PMP, SNVC L.C.
Program Manager, National Guard Bureau

Related blog posts:

Keep Your PMP Fresh With PDUs

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