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The difference between PDUs and Eligible Training Hours


Eligible Training Contact Hours

The required training contact hours may be accrued by successfully completing courses, workshops and/or training sessions provided by; tertiary institutions (eg as part of a degree course), PMI Registered Education Providers (PMI-REP), other training companies, consultants, PMI Chapters and/or your employer. Both classroom based and distance education courses are acceptable (but not PMI Chapter meetings or self-directed training). Courses offered by Mosaic and other R.E.P.s (see more on PMI Registered Education Providers) are pre-approved by PMI for the designated Contact Hours. The eligibility of contact hours from other training sources are the responsibility of the PMP candidate and will be determined on a case-by-case basis through the application audit process.

Your training must include content from all nine of the PMBOK ‘Knowledge Areas’: -

  1. Integration: The processes required to ensure that the various elements of the project are properly coordinated
  2. Scope: The processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.
  3. Time: The processes required to ensure timely completion of the project.
  4. Cost: The processes required to ensure that the project is completed within the approved budget.
  5. Quality: The processes required to ensure that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken.
  6. Human Resources: The processes required to make the most effective use of the people involved with the project.
  7. Communications: The processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimate disposition of project information.
  8. Risk: The processes concerned with identifying, analysing and responding to project risk.
  9. Procurement: The processes required to acquire goods and services from outside the performing organization.
  10. Stakeholder management: The processes needed to effectively identify and engage with the project's stakeholder community.

Counting your 35 Contact Hours

PMI defines a Contact Hour as follows: 'One contact hour is equal to one hour of participation in an educational activity.' This means that if you sit in a classroom for 60 minutes and you are trained on a project management topic you have earned 1 Contact Hour. How long ago the training occurred does not matter - unlike the experience requirements, there is no time limit. 

Mosaic's Mentored Email™ courses are approved by PMI for the 35 Contact Hours needed for the PMP exam (23 Hrs for CAPM) - the time you personally spend on the course is irrelevant as long as you complete all of the modules; PMI's approval is based on the long-term average time taken by all trainees to complete the course.

University and college courses may also count for Contact Hours but only the actual hours spent studying formal project management topics - you need to assess these and have some documentation to back up your claim - it's highly unlikely all of an Undergraduate (Bachelors) Degree course will be focused on project management, unless of course, it's a project management degree, but many IT, engineering and business degree courses include modules on 'project management'.

For the contact hours to be eligible, they must be earned in formal training sessions conducted by a trainer. Self-study does not count, neither does attending PMI Chapter meetings unless the meeting is a specific training event such as an exam preparation workshop.

Eligible training does not have to be an exam preparation course, any combination of courses that cover the required knowledge framework count! However, there is a significant difference between ‘eligible training’ and ‘effective training’.  Eligible training will allow you to apply for the examination.  To be reasonably sure of passing your examination specific preparation is essential (all PMI examinations have a fairly high failure rate). The purpose of a well-structured exam prep course is to align your knowledge with the specific requirements of PMI’s multi-choice exam questions. You can sample a representative set of questions on our 'questions page'.

PDUs are different!

Professional Development Units (PDUs) are required to maintain PM's professional credentials including PMP and PMI-SP (the CAPM credential has a 5-year life and then expires). PDUs are the measuring unit used by PMI to quantify approved learning and professional service activities. Each professional development activity yields one PDU for one hour spent engaged in the activity.

PDUs can be earned from a very much wider range of activities including formal courses, self-directed study and professional service, but you can only start earning PDUs after you have passed your exam. Some limitations apply and are outlined on our 'Earning PDUs' page

Education PDUs must be related both to the skill areas defined in the PMI Talent Triangle, and to the domains and knowledge areas defined in each of the respective exam content outlines.  For more on PDUs see 'Earning PDUs and keeping your credential active'.

Note: if there is any conflict between the summary information contained on this page and the detailed information contained on the PMI website or in the CCR handbook, the PMI information takes precedence. This information is provided to assist PMI examination candidates and credential holders to understand their obligations, it is not necessarily up to date or accurate. All CCR forms are copyright of PMI.