PMP Certification Dominates Changes in 2015: Are you Prepared?

If you believe that earning a PMP certification is as simple as going through an examination, you need to think again. A project management professional has to commit himself to a lifetime of learning; and, this is just what PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirement expects from its candidates. 
As of December 2015, PMI standards will be undergoing a change for the very first time in all these years. Both future and current holders of credentials linked to PMI, such as the PMP certification, must necessarily meet all the changed requirements prior to going forward. If you are still unaware about the regulations that are waiting to come into force, then do know that they involve the ways in which you earn your PDUs (Professional Development Units).
What’s Changing, What’s Not in PMP Certification
Continuing education requirements have to be met after a gap of three years for maintaining active PMP credentials. 
During every cycle, which begins after you pass your PMP examination, it’s essential to earn 60 Professional Development Units. The status of earned PDU’s have to be updated with PMI via an online tool. These points can be either earned by giving back to education, or to the profession. It’s possible for you to earn 1 PDU for each hour that qualifies, with quarter increments being added on a 15-minute basis. These are the two categories where PMP certification changes have taken place. 
Earning PDUs by Giving Back to your Profession
If you manage to author new information related to project management, such as an article, webinar, book, podcast or blog post, then you can look forward to netting PDUs. The same applies for presentations related to project management topics, or if you choose to offer your expertise on a conference panel. In case of podcasts, presentations, webinars, and panels, you may include the actual time spent in presentation as well as that required for preparing your materials.
Additionally, you may earn enough PDU’s by acting as a volunteer for your local PMI chapter or a non-profit organization; wherein you can share your project management expertise for free. It also counts to spend time in mentoring those who are totally new to the profession, or even your colleagues. To top it all, PMI has traditionally permitted time spent on the actual working, in the role of a project manager. While earning PDUs according to the changed regulations, work experience garners only 8 PDUs per cycle, and only 25 PDUs may be earned in total in this category, including the 8 PDUs mentioned earlier. 
Earning PDUs by Continuing your Education
Educational PDUs can be easily earned by opting for select classes conducted by Registered Education Providers accredited to PMI, attending the workshops organized by local PMI chapters, joining programs in universities/ colleges, and participating in the in-house training sessions conducted by your own organization. Seminars and workshops at official PMI events as well as self-directed study may also be counted. As per changed regulations, at least 35 PDUs need to be earned, with there being a provision of earning all 60 PDUs from continuing education exclusively, if you choose to. 
The ways in which these PDs can be acquired, and the shift in hours required, have also witnessed some changes. Eligible education opportunities will now be sorted into three categories: leadership, technical, and strategic/business management. It is important to earn a minimum of 8 PDUs in each category after getting the pass marks, the other educational requirements may be met by joining programs from any category of your liking. 
Plan Ahead with PMP Certification
Even though these new standards will only come into force by the first week of December, it is important that you keep planning ahead and earning PDUs on the way. Remember, any PDUs that you many have already earned as a PMP will also count toward recertification. If your recertification cycle ends in 2016 or 2017, then you may go ahead and accumulate all the PDUs that you require for recertification before December 1, 2015, by keeping the old recertification standards for PMP in place. However, if more PDUs are required after December 1, 2015, for them to be eligible, all new Education PDUs have to align with the new standards for PMP certification. 
If you have already earned, or happen to earn, your PMP this year, then the new standards are applicable to you and you may start reporting all existing PDUs right away, why wait for December. Earlier, it was permitted to earn extra PDUs above those required for a single PMP recertification cycle. Rolling over of some of the additional PDs to the next cycle was also allowed. Well, that remains to be true post 2015 too: you may choose to transfer up to 20 PDUs to your next PMP recertification cycle. However, all these PDs should align with all new standards for eligibility. 
PMP Certification 
Undoubtedly, these changes in PMP certification standards are quite strict and require PMP holders like you to pursue further educational opportunities. This effectively means that you need to look around for the right programs and invest more time and resources; simple work experience will not work. But then, these shifts serve to be good news for those PMPs who value their certification and wish to raise the bar for themselves. Overall, these more stringent standards will make PMP Certification more desirable for serious candidates and fast become one of the most coveted credentials in all industries in 2015. 
Grab the opportunity of becoming a better leader and start preparing for gaining success on your way forward with more PDUs and your PMP certification. 

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