Understanding the End of the PMP Certification Cycle

You’ve made it! Three years have flown by since you earned your PMP Certification. During that time you’ve honed your Project Management skills, progressed in your career and met some great people. To top it all off, you have kept up with your continuing certification requirements and met your minimum of 60 PDUs.

Now what? Is this an automatic renewal process or is there more involved? There are four criteria that must be met to maintain your status as a PMP.

  • Obtain 60 PDUs within the three-year certification cycle
  • Complete the Application for Certification Renewal
  • Reaffirm PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and the PMI Certification Application/Renewal Agreement
  • Pay the Renewal Fee (currently $60 for PMI Members)

It’s pretty easy to renew once you’ve obtained the necessary PDUs and is mainly a matter of filling out forms and submitting payment.

The Fine Print
However, the following are a couple of points you should be aware of as you near the end of your PDU cycle.

Three Statuses

You have three full years from the date you pass your PMP exam to renew your certification to remain in Active Status. For example, if you passed the exam on September 15, 2009, your certification would need to be renewed by September 14, 2012 to remain a PMP in good standing. This allows you to continue to use the PMP designation and have your name appear in the Online Registry (see Sidebar for additional information on the PMI Online Credential Registry).

Since there is a PMP in “good standing”, is there a PMP in “not so good standing”? Sort of. If you find yourself past the active date of your recertification and have not met the requirements, you can no longer call yourself a PMP until those requirements have been met. Your certification is considered in Suspended Status and the overdue requirements must be met within one year of your certification date. If you slip past this one year grace period, your PMP certification will be lost and you will need to start all over again.

In addition, there is also a Retired Status. Anyone who has had their PMP Certification for at least 10 consecutive years and is no longer paid for their Project or Program Management services can apply for this status. This puts the requirement to earn or report PDUs on hold without the requirement of starting over again if you are more than one year past the end of your PDU cycle date.

For the Over Achievers Among Us

You may find yourself in the enviable position of having earned more than 60 PDUs within the 3 year recertification period. You can apply up to 20 PDUs to your next certification cycle as long as these PDUs were earned in the third year of your certification cycle.

Pay Your Dues

You also want to be mindful to keep up with your annual PMI Membership Dues. The renewal fee for PMI members is $60 and $150 for non-members.

Renew Online in No Time

The easiest way to renew your PMP certification is online. Here’s what you do:

  1. Log in to your account at www.pmi.org
  2. In the left sidebar there is a Certification Status block. Click on Certification and Application Information.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will receive a message of whether you have accumulated the required number of Professional Development Units. If you do not have enough PDUs, you will need to take the steps necessary to acquire the required number of PDUs.
  4. If you have received the required number of PDUs, click on Begin the Renewal Process and follow the step-by-step instructions that will allow you to finish the process.

That’s all there is to it. Your updated certificate will be mailed within 6-8 weeks.

Recently Upgraded Certification Homepage

As you go through the steps outlined above you may notice the Certification Homepage has recently been upgraded. You now have the ability to view your PMP Exam results (do you remember what you scored?) as well as the original application you submitted to start the PMP journey so many years ago. In addition, you can download the PMP logo and guidelines for use as you continue to differentiate yourself as a PMP.

Before you know it, three more years will have flown by and it will be time to renew again. Think about how much more you will have learned and contributed by implementing your project management skills to achieve your personal and professional goals.

8 Responses to “Understanding the End of the PMP Certification Cycle”

  1. Marianne Burke, PMP says:

    Good information as I enter my 3rd year!
    Thank you!

  2. Himanshu says:


    I aquired PMP certification this year in Feb and have already got the necessary PDUs to be eligible for renewal. Should I wait for the 3 year cycle to be over and then apply for renewal or I should do it now.

    Pls. advise.


    • Elise says:

      There is no benefit to renewing early, unless you fear you’ll forget later. Your PDU cycle will still begin and end on the same date regardless of how early you renew. For example, I earned 90 PDUs in my first three years and renewed 6 months early, but I still was only allowed to carry 20 of the 30 PDUs I earned in the third year over into the next cycle, which started on the same day it would have otherwise.

      And actually PMI continued to warn me my membership would expire for the last 6 months of that cycle even though I had already renewed, so you’ll get reminders.

  3. Sandra says:

    It’s probably worth noting that the fee to renew PMP certification is $60 and as I haven’t yet seen any good reasons for renewing early will likely hold onto my cash for a while longer;-)

  4. Chikata Egboluche says:


    Pretty good information………….though less than a year as PMP i am working out the best ways to meet up the necessary PDUs and countdown to the next cycle.


  5. Diane Newton says:

    This was a very useful article. I am coming up on my recertification date and I did not realize that I need to do anything beyond complete my 60 PDUs. Thanks Jennifer!

  6. Chiriqui Panama says:

    I am new to blogging and actually enjoyed your site. I am going to bookmark your web site and keep checking you out. Thanks for sharing your site.

  7. NS says:


    I’m in the 3rd year of PMP cycle. I got 60 pdu’s and asked to renew.

    I’m planning to accumulate PDU’s to carry forwad to next cycle. Do i need to renew by pay 60$ to to report the PDUS? Can I report it now and pay it later?

    Any suggestions

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