What is Six Sigma certification

Six Sigma certification is a process of verification of an individual's command of the Six Sigma methods and techniques using a "Belt" classification. The belt aptitude system ("Black Belt," "Green Belt," etc.) reflects the positions these individuals would occupy within an organizational infrastructure, their aptitude in applying Six Sigma methodology, and their specific job roles.

Breaking Down Six Sigma certification

Six Sigma certification represents a level of expertise an individual possesses related to Six Sigma principles. In effect, it professionalizes the management of quality in the manufacturing process. Originally, Motorola and General Electric developed Six Sigma certification programs for internal use. Since the 1990s, other organizations, such as professional groups, universities, and for-profit training organizations began to offer it.

There is no unifying standard or organization that sets a standard for what is required to be certified as a "Belt" — each certifying company or third-party certification service determines its own criteria. In some organizations certification may come at the result of an exam or a series of tests, written examinations, or a signed certification that an individual has satisfied a minimum number of Six Sigma-based projects, in addition to relevant professional or practical experience. Some certification services will require recertification after a certain period of time. Certifying services will charge a fee for their certification programs.

Six Sigma Certification Belts

Six Sigma certification levels are represented by key roles and also belts denoting competence in teaching or implementing Six Sigma principles.

  • Executives: Members of the top level of a company's management that set the standards for Six Sigma certification for an organization. Ideally, they encourage innovative ideas in problem solving, as well as working around organizational barriers to change and improvement.
  • Champions: Such individuals generally come from upper management and will mentor or advise Black Belts.
  • Master Black Belts: These individuals, sometimes called "Champions," have the necessary Six Sigma expertise to enable the teaching and supervision of Green Belts and Black Belts. They tend to focus on the consistent use of Sig Sigma principles.
  • Black Belts: Work on specific projects while applying Six Sigma methodology with a focus on implementation and project leadership.
  • Green Belts: The most elementary level of Six Sigma specialization, Green Belts work in a team environment under the supervision of Black Belts. They focus on implementing Six Sigma principles.

Six Sigma Certification Preparation

To prepare for attaining Six Sigma certification, many certifying organizations suggest that individuals should seek out Six Sigma training, either though a qualified institution or through an employer-sponsored program. Though not required, real-world experience may be either advisable or required.