Six Sigma is a technique used to reduce defects in the manufacturing process. Although it was originally developed for the manufacturing industry, it can be used to improve any business process by using data and statistical analysis to reduce mistakes, rework, and waste. I’ve found that my six sigma certification (black belt) has helped me to reduce quality issues at the source and put the focus on producing high quality products every time.
To learn more about Six Sigma, read our Six Sigma Crash Course. Today I’m going to tell you about how to become Six Sigma certified. There are 3 basic levels:
- Green Belt
- Black Belt
- Master Black Belt
Green belts are the “front line” Six Sigma workers. They use the DMAIC and DMADV processes to analyze and present findings to more senior Six Sigma staff. To get your green belt, you need two weeks of training but no experience with a Six Sigma project.
To get a Six Sigma green belt, you need two weeks of training in the methodologies and implementation of Six Sigma.
Black belts are the leaders of Six Sigma projects. They plan and guide the Six Sigma project, and make decisions regarding the recommended improvements to the business processes being investigated by the Six Sigma project.
To get a black belt, you need four weeks of training in the methodologies and implementation of Six Sigma, and you must have achieved your green belt first.
Master Black Belt
Master Black Belts are the Six Sigma program managers. They generally don’t manage individual Six Sigma projects. Rather, they identify projects and manage the overall Six Sigma program for an organization.
Master Black Belts require six weeks of training which includes the skills to teach Six Sigma processes to others within the organization.
Some organizations have identified other levels besides these, but they are generally considered unofficial:
- Yellow belts participate in Six Sigma projects and assist green belts in the day-to-day operations, analyses and presentations of a Six Sigma project.
- White belts cannot be directly involved in Six Sigma projects, but have been trained to perform the required analysis.
How to Achieve Six Sigma Certification
Six Sigma training is a decentralized process with little primary oversight, therefore you will find the full range of quality within the training programs. Online courses for green belts start at about $100, but this will give you green belt status only as defined by that training provider. In the end, employers need to ask where you got your training to make their own assessment before hiring a potential green or black belt.
Alternatively, you can look for online or classroom courses which are certified by the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC). This requires a standard exam and results in a designation after your name, such as ICGB – International Certified Green Belt.
The standards for black belt require a successful Six Sigma project implementation. If you cannot get that experience, or if you register with a training provider that doesn’t require it, your certification will not be of the highest standard.
This is similar to obtaining a college education in that some colleges are considered better than others, and some employers value the reputation associated with the better colleges. Having a six sigma certification is a beneficial achievement, but you need to ask where the certification came from.