When you begin evaluating training providers, you’ll find a variety of acronyms are used to describe how you can leverage the training programs as part of your certification and re-certification goals. These acronyms often get confused by providers and course participants alike.
In this article, we’ll explain the difference between PDs, CDUs, and PDUs, which are terms used by the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) and the Project Management Institute (PMI)®.
Professional Development Hours (PDs)
Professional Development Hours (PDs) is a term used by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) to define the type of coursework required as one of the many requirements to sit for the ECBA, CCBA® or CBAP®.
To qualify for PDs, the training must involve meaningful interaction with the instructor and cover a BA topic included in the BABOK® Guide. To qualify for PDs, the course does NOT need to be an exam prep course. Courses offered by an Endorsed Education Provider™ (EEP™) of IIBA have already been evaluated by IIBA and the education provider may advertise the PD hours for which the class qualifies. Should you take a class from a non-EEP, you can list the class on the certification application and IIBA will determine if it qualifies for the PD hours that you are requesting. (As long as the class meets the requirements specified by IIBA in the certification handbook, this should not be an issue.)
Bridging the Gap is an Endorsed Education Provider of IIBA and The Business Analyst Blueprint® certification program, where you can also earn your Applied Certification in Business Analysis (ACBA), qualifies for 60 PDs, or more than what you need to apply for any IIBA certification.
Continuing Development Units (CDUs)
CBAP and CCBA recipients must re-certify every 3 years if they wish to maintain their designation. Re-certification involves filling out an online application and documenting a certain number of CDUs or Continuing Development Units. CDUs are broken into 6 categories. Three of those 6 categories can be fulfilled by participating in training opportunities. Like courses that qualify for PDs, courses offered by an EEP have already been evaluated by IIBA and will automatically qualify for a certain number of CDUs.
However, the requirements for some categories of CDUs are more lenient. Self-study courses, webinars, professional development meetings, and other less formal training opportunities to learn about business analysis can all qualify for CDUs. And, as is the case with PDs, an offering can qualify for CDUs even if it’s not pre-endorsed by IIBA as long as the opportunity meets the requirements of the CDU category you list it under.
Again, The Business Analyst Blueprint® certification program, where you can also earn your Applied Certification in Business Analysis (ACBA), qualifies for 60 CDUs, and can help you meet your re-certification requirements with IIBA.
Professional Development Units (PDUs)
Finally, let’s talk about PDUs or Professional Development Units. The PDU term is used by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is very similar to IIBA CDUs. PDUs are relevant for maintaining any of your PMI-supported certifications, the most common of which is the Project Management Professional (PMP)®.
Because the acronyms are so similar, PDUs are often confused with PDs, but they are most definitely not the same. Similar to CDUs, many less formal learning opportunities such as webinars and professional meetings can easily qualify for PDUs without meeting the more stringent requirements of the IIBA PDs.
In a Nutshell
In a nutshell, if you are applying for the CBAP or CCBA, focus on earning your PDs. If you are already a CBAP or CCBA Recipient, focus on CDUs. If you are a recipient of one of the many PMI certifications, focus on PDUs. (And, yes, many offerings count for both CDUs and PDUs. If you hold certifications from both IIBA and PMI, you can count the same opportunity on both re-certification applications.)
About The Business Analyst Blueprint®
When you join The Business Analyst Blueprint® certification program, you’ll learn all 12 of the industry-standard techniques and the business analysis process framework – to build your confidence in the best practices of business analysis.
You’ll create validated work samples and be a credentialed business analyst as a recipient of the Applied Certification in Business Analysis™ (ACBA).