Top 7 Tips for CBAP or PMP Re-Certification (even if you aren’t certified yet)

The past year was a double-whammy for me. I had to re-certify both my CBAP® and PMP® credentials. After renewing my CBAP twice and my PMP three times, I’ve learned a few lessons.

First, here are some basic facts about re-certification:

  • Your CBAP and PMP status must be renewed every three years from the anniversary date of earning your initial certification.
  • You need 60 “DUs” every three years to re-certify. For PMI these are PDUs and for IIBA, these are called CDUs. I’ll use the term DU when it applies to both organizations. There are limits to the numbers of DUs per category, so ensure you have some breadth in your professional development. See below for links to the PMI and IIBA re-certification pages.
  • IIBA will notify you by email approximately three months in advance of your anniversary, and will send a copy of the necessary handbook, application, and reporting form. In the future, the process will be online, but for now the email route is needed.
  • To be honest, I can’t recall if PMI reminded me or not to re-certify. That is one of my lessons learned below. PMI has an online re-certification process that is easy to complete.

Lessons Learned

  1. Keep track of your development activities, contacts, and hours. I can’t stress this enough and the moment you earn your credential, start doing this. During my first re-certification cycle, I had to scramble the last few months before my deadline. It was difficult combing through calendars, web sites, project records, and emails to find the details I needed. Advice: don’t wait until the last moment to compile your activities.
  2. After that ordeal, I developed a spreadsheet to help me keep track of the details. I wish I had this from the start! It has been invaluable to track both my PMP and CBAP activities. Some of the events I attended, presentations I gave, and articles I wrote apply to maintaining both my PMP and CBAP. That is a huge bonus.  Advice: use a spreadsheet to track your activities and update at least monthly.
  3. Some of my activities counted for more DUs than others. Attending a webinar or chapter meeting only provides one DU. Taking a class, writing an article, or giving a presentation could count for as many as 15-20 DUs or more. It is easier to track and report these “large-DU” activities than a bunch of 1-DU activities. If you only have the opportunity to attend the 1-hour varieties, then you will have more to track and report. Advice: take advantage of large-DU activities to reduce your reporting burden.
  4. Volunteering is a great way not only to give back to our professions, but also to earn DUs. I have volunteered for both PMI and IIBA and have enjoyed the networking, energy, and sense of contribution that come with it. Advice: do volunteer work at least once during your re-certification cycle and earn up to half of your required hours.
  5. During my first cycle, I did not know that I could use hours spent practicing project management towards my PMP re-certification. I discovered this somewhere during my first CBAP re-cert and started to track those hours. It definitely pays to keep track of your project hours performing business analysis or project management work. You can claim up to 25 CDUs for IIBA, and can count up to 45 PDUs for PMI. For PMPs, you can claim up to 5 per year or 15 per cycle. Advice: track up to the maximum allowable hours spent doing professional work and keep documentation for it.
  6. During all my re-certification cycles, I find my hours are always way higher than need be. It doesn’t affect my doing the activities, but I now report them differently. For PMI, practitioner hours count as part of the 45-PDU maximum of “giving back to the community.” Let’s say you spend 15 hours writing a white paper for a Global Congress (category D), do 40 hours of volunteer service (category E), and spend 1000 hours doing PM work on projects (category F). The maximum you can claim is 45 PDUs during one cycle for those three categories. I might report the 15 hours in category D and the 40 hours in category E. The hours in category F are useless for renewing my PMP, so I would not even bother. The online reporting to PMI makes this easier than the manual reporting to IIBA. Advice: don’t go overboard reporting hours that won’t help you.
  7. On the other hand, in case IIBA or PMI audits your re-cert application, you would do well to over-report to a certain degree. (Both organizations randomly audit candidates.) I confess to having reported over 200 hours for my most recent CBAP, which were about 100 less than my initial re-certification. The next time I’ll try for only 120, double the number needed. Advice: track and report double the number needed for re-certification, and you will sleep easier.

I hope this is helpful. I had better go and follow my own advice and enter my PDUs, which I haven’t done in a while. You can find a copy of my re-certification spreadsheet on our website.

Additional Notes:

  1. If you earn more than the required 60 DUs in the current three year cycle, you may apply up to 20 of the excess DUs to the next three year cycle. Only DUs earned in the third year can be transferred. These rules apply to both PMP and CBAP.
  2. IIBA EEP-endorsed courses and PMI REP-endorsed courses automatically qualify for DUs for your recertification. Because of IIBA’s and PMI’s review processes, they are guaranteed to meet the needed criteria. (Which means all Watermark Learning courses will qualify for re-certification DUs.)

PMI links:

PMP, PgMP, and PMI-ACP Re-Certification

IIBA Links:

CBAP Re-Certification

CCBA Re-Certification

25 thoughts on “Top 7 Tips for CBAP or PMP Re-Certification (even if you aren’t certified yet)

  1. Couple of points to add
    A – take the time to get your recertification info peer reviewed
    *by someone who has been through the process – there are a few of those folk around now…
    *or by BA mgrs like me – not certified but who have helped some of their people work through the process so are familiar with what is needed.

    B. Give your manager/friend/fellow BA/mother the licence to remind you on a regular basis – as firmly as needed – to actually record as per point 1…

    i.e. nothing wrong with a bit of team work in recertification – and you can always pass it forward like Rich has here – nice one 🙂

    • Thanks, Claire! Both are good additions. I especially like the one about giving permission to be reminded. That would help me, I know! 🙂

  2. Hi Rich, great article. I am looking to attain my CBAP cerftification and of course purchasing your books to prepare! My question to you, is that I am currently PMP cerfied and if i were also CBAP certified, can i take course from an REP (endorsed by PMI) to qualify for 60 courses that would be recognized by CBAP/IIBA also? In essence, i would not have to duplicate my efforts in taking 120 courses when taking 60 course/1 hour would suffice. Please exand on the this subject matter.

    When you have a moment can you email me your “re-certification spreadsheet”?

    MUch appreciated and thank-you

    • Hi Kim, and thanks for your comments and your question. Many courses can satisfy both the PMP and CBAP re-certification requirements and you are wise to take advantage of that. For example, virtually all of Watermark Learning’s courses can be used for both PMPs (category A) and CBAPs (category 2A) for re-cert. We are both a REP and an EEP, so our courses are pre-approved by PMI and IIBA. That way you could take 60 hours of training for your PMP and 30 of those same hours for your CBAP. IIBA only allows 30 hour from training courses as a maximum. They want us to get 30 more development hours from other sources such as academic programs, self-directed learning, volunteering, or professional experience. The IIBA re-cert handbook explains the details.

  3. Hi Rich,

    I am starting this whole PMI/IIBA career. Do you recommend striving to have both and perpetually re-certifying your whole career?

    Also, please send the re-cert spreadsheet for PDUs.



    • Hi John,

      You raise a good point, and one I have asked myself. My answer for my own re-certifications is: I’ll re-certify my PMP and CBAP as long as I am working in the field. For me it won’t be too many years, but for someone in their 30s or 40s, it could be much longer. I believe the PMP and CBAP are professional commitments, much like an engineer or CPA renewing their license or other credential. If we are serious, we need to keep renewing our whole career. The possible pain of re-certifying is more than offset I feel by the learning, interacting, volunteering, and contributing to the industry that we will accomplish through obtaining PDUs and CDUs. (P.S. I’ll send you the spreadsheet.)


  4. Thanks for the spreadsheet ! This will definitely keep my units organised.

    I also have a left field question:

    Do you think that from the perspective of an experienced pmp/cbap, they would have the experience, skills, quals, to be a good CEO?

    Cheers again,


    • Hi Again, John. You’re welcome for the spreadsheet.

      Sure, I think that project management and business analysis skills will help someone in their career. The two together help someone manage change and improve the organization. I also feel that process is an important third “leg” of the stool. We call the 3 facets the “productivity triangle” because excelling at projects, products, and processes are what makes an organization thrive. (See our web page for a picture of this approach:

      Mastering these three would help an individual aspire to being a CEO. John, it sounds like you are ambitious and I say more power to you!

    • Hi George. If you take training classes for your CBAP certification, you can report those as PDUs for your PMP. Nearly all of of our courses qualify for both PDUs and CDUs. It’s an advantage of dealing with a training company who is both a REP and EEP.

      On the other hand, if you do self-study for your CBAP prep, you’d have to try category C, Self-Directed Learning, for reporting your PDUs. Not sure if PMI allows that, but you could try. Let me know if you try that and if it works. ~Rich

  5. Hi Rich,

    Before I go asking about the questions related to CBAP certification, I would provide a breif background about myself. I am a PMP and ITIL V3 Foundation certified Program/Project Manager with 13 years of overall IT experience in the Insurance domain (LOMA 280, 290 and INS 21 certified as well). I am relatively new to the United States and would like to continue my employment here. My plans are to continue in the in the areas of Business and Management. Based on the above context below are my questions.

    1. My current profile has around 6 years of Java development (SCJP certified) and 7 years of Service/Project Management. With this profile, will I qualify for the CBAP certification (7500 hours of BA work experience)?

    2. Will CBAP fetch me more opportunities, basically a larger range of positions in the market?

    3. Which has better opportunities in US market, being a Java Techno Manager with PM skills or a Business Project Manager? I am little inclined towards Business Project Manager but open for Techno Manager as well. This is very personal but can adapt to the market trends.


    • Hi Hulk Nick,

      Thanks for the background and your questions.
      1. My current profile has around 6 years of Java development (SCJP certified) and 7 years of Service/Project Management. With this profile, will I qualify for the CBAP certification (7500 hours of BA work experience)? >>> You might, depending on how much business analysis work you performed during your projects. One place to look is the CBAP Handbook from IIBA. (Double-check the link; they change it periodically.) The other thing to review is our webinar on “CBAP-CCBA Application Tips and Tricks.” We give advice on what constitutes BA experience or not and feature our experience worksheet. It’s available for free on our web site.

      2. Will CBAP fetch me more opportunities, basically a larger range of positions in the market? >>> It depends. if you look for BA jobs and contracts, it will help you stand out with employers. Do you work on Agile projects? if so, I would think it would help because many Agile teams lack a BA but desperately need business analysis skills.

      3. Which has better opportunities in US market, being a Java Techno Manager with PM skills or a Business Project Manager? I am little inclined towards Business Project Manager but open for Techno Manager as well. This is very personal but can adapt to the market trends. >>> My intuition says the business project manager, mostly because of outsourcing. Technical managers might be better located with tech teams, many of whom are off shore. Business PM and BA jobs are less likely to be offshore.

      Hope I answered your questions, and best wishes figuring out your next step!

  6. Hi, Rich. I just passed my CBAP exam and want to be sure I’m prepared when it comes time to re-certify. Can you please email me a copy of your re-certification spreadsheet? Thanks!

  7. Hi Rich,
    I am in the process of recertifying and was wondering how you reported project hours on your spreadsheet. I tend to have smaller projects but lots of them. Did you report each project on a row (which would mean some projects have partial CDUs)? Or aggregate in some way with details provided in the “Activity” column?

    Great advice in your post!

    • Hi Donna, glad you liked the post. For project hours, I just totaled each project into one row, and kept adding hours to the total every month or so. I recorded some high-level description in the Activities column. From what I understand the IIBA is OK with that.

  8. Hi Rich,

    I am a CBAP recipient since 2012 and in 2013, I attended PMP Exam Prep training (40 hours) , prepared for the PMP exam, and successfully obtained PMP certification. Now, my CBAP ‘license’ is expiring this year, can i use my PMP training and exam prep to claim some CDUs for my CBAP re-certification?

    Also, can you please email me a copy of your re-certification spreadsheet?

    Thanks a ton,

    • Hi Andy, for re-certifying your CBAP you need BA-type training to earn your CDUs. Some PM-type training qualifies, but IIBA is picky about making sure the content covers business analysis. For example in our PMP Prep course we cover scope management, which would count. Topics like time management, cost management, integration management, etc., would not.

      I can send you the worksheet if you send an email to Richard dot Larson at WatermarkLearning dot com.

  9. Hi, Rich.
    I passed my CBAP exam 6 months back. I have been attending some webinars from IIBA and practicing my regular BA activities. Can you please email me a copy of your re-certification spreadsheet? I would like to get started on the other areas of my CDUs.

    Nice post on CDU and PDU.

  10. What kind of articles would qualify for CDU’s?. Would blogs qualify for CDU’s? Could you please help with the list of refereed/non refereed journals that qualify for attaining CDUs for CBAP.

      • Hi Tarun,
        The articles that qualify for CDUs pertain to business analysis and anything in the BABOK. The knowledge areas, tasks, and techniques are fair game. The underlying competencies cover a lot of ground so anything in them (communication, leadership, influencing, etc.) would qualify.

        We don’t have a list of refereed journals. However, Modern Analyst and BA Times are two journals that publish business analysis articles, and any on there should qualify.

        I will happily send you a copy of the recertification spreadsheet to your email. You can also find it on our website at

        Thank you!

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