It’s a competitive environment for today’s businesses, which means a smaller margin for error and an increased need to improve constantly. As a result, there is no room for wasteful business processes; organizations realize this and are looking for Lean Six Sigma-certified professionals to help their businesses reach as close to perfection as possible.
This article shows you how to get Six Sigma certification into your skill set. You will get a refresher on some Six Sigma basics, the difference between Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, the different Lean Six Sigma levels, how to get certified, the requirements for certification, and much more.
So, let’s start with defining various Six Sigma terms.
Exploring Six Sigma Definitions
Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven process improvement methodology created to eliminate process defects and waste. Six Sigma Certification is designed to show a prospective recruiter that you are proficient in the fundamentals of this efficient process improvement technique. Six Sigma’s performance increase and process variation decrease helps reduce defects and improve the quality of products or services, business profits, and staff morale.
On the other hand, Lean Six Sigma fuses Six Sigma with Lean methodology; the latter focuses on waste reduction and promotes a standardized workflow. So, Lean Six Sigma is a data-driven, fact-based improvement methodology emphasizing defect prevention over defect detection. The process combines Six Sigma and Lean methods to remove the eight common types of waste: Defects, Inventory, Motion, Non-Utilized Talent, Over-Production, Waiting, Transportation, and Extra-Processing.
Today, people typically use the terms Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma interchangeably, and we’ll do that for this article. However, Six Sigma has gravitated towards the Lean philosophy over the years, so the distinction has been justifiably blurred.
About the Different Lean Six Sigma Levels
So before learning how to get Lean Six Sigma certification, let’s check out the various Lean Six Sigma levels or belts.
Six Sigma White Belt
Lean Six Sigma white belt certification covers the basic Six Sigma concepts. In addition, white belts support the organization’s change management and work with local problem-solving teams that assist the relevant projects.
Six Sigma Yellow Belt
Lean Six Sigma yellow belt certification deals with Six Sigma’s specifics, where to apply them, and how to do so. They support project teams working on tasks that solve problems.
Six Sigma Green Belt
Lean Six Sigma green belt certification means the person understands advanced analysis and is trained to resolve problems that influence quality. Also, green belts lead projects and help black belts collect and analyze data.
Six Sigma Black Belt
Lean Six Sigma black belt certification means the person is an expert and an agent of change, leading projects and providing training.
Six Sigma Master Black Belt
At last, we arrive at Six Sigma Master black belt certification, the highest level of Six Sigma achievement. At this level, professionals act as consultants, shape strategy, develop key metrics, and coach black and green belts.
Now that we’ve established the various Six Sigma levels let’s learn how to get Six Sigma certification.
The Path to Certification
Whether you’re interested in how to get Lean Six Sigma certification or the more basic, generic Six Sigma certification, your path is the same. There are two standard paths to get Six Sigma certification.
- If you already have substantial experience with Six Sigma, usually about three years’ worth, and are familiar with the respective belt’s “Body of Knowledge,” you can just take the exam outright.
- However, if you have little to no experience in these methodologies, take certification courses and bootcamps to ramp up your Six Sigma knowledge and training. There are also numerous online self-study resources you can use. Once you take suitable lessons and improve your Six Sigma understanding, you can sit for the certification exam.
Bear in mind there is no “right” way. Everyone’s path differs and relies on the applicant’s experience and background.
Requirements For Six Sigma Certification
You must satisfy the prerequisites and pass an exam offered by one of the following associations to get certified:
- American Society for Quality [ASQ]
- Council for Six Sigma Certification [CSSC]
- International Association for Six Sigma Certification [IASSC]
How to Get Six Sigma Certification: About the Exams
Here are how the different Six Sigma certification exams break down:
- Six Sigma White Belt
Duration: 30 minutes
- Six Sigma Yellow Belt
Number of questions: 75
Duration: 2 hours
- Six Sigma Green Belt
Number of questions: 100
Duration: 3 hours
- Six Sigma Black Belt
Number of questions: 150
Duration: 4 hours
- Six Sigma Master Black Belt
Number of questions: 110 and performance-based assessment
Duration: 5 hours 18 minutes
How to Prepare for a Six Sigma Certification Exam
Consider these tactics before sitting for a Lean Six Sigma certification exam.
- Test yourself with practice questions, which you can easily find online.
- Read the official Six Sigma certification books and study guides.
- Take a Six Sigma training course to understand the concepts and methodology better..
- Review the syllabus and prepare your study routine.
- Research and learn to use the relevant Six Sigma tools and techniques.
Which Lean Six Sigma Belt Is for Me?
If you are trying to understand how to get Six Sigma certification, a great place to start is figuring out which level works best for you. As we’ve already noted, everyone’s story is different. Additionally, only some organizations require their employees to be certified in every Six Sigma level. Nevertheless, it’s critical to understand which Lean Six Sigma belt works best for you so you don’t waste time, money, and other resources on unnecessary certifications. So, let’s examine each belt and see which fits you best.
- Lean Six Sigma White Belt. This is the perfect certification for anyone who wants to get acquainted with Six Sigma basics. In addition, if your organization typically features Six Sigma projects, you should at least secure this certification.
- Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. You should get your Six Sigma yellow belt if your organization routinely initiates Six Sigma projects, and your department will most likely be affected. However, if you are an individual who is just looking to get certified on your own but independent of your organization, skip the Lean Six Sigma yellow belt and consider pursuing a higher-level belt.
- Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. You should go for a Six Sigma green belt if you will work directly on your company’s Six Sigma project. Green belts work under the direction of a black belt. Additionally, if you want to get certified independently of your organization, the green belt level is a great way to acquire a solid understanding of Six Sigma principles.
- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. If you’re a project manager or will be in charge of a Six Sigma project for your organization, you must obtain a Lean Six Sigma black belt certification. In addition, if you want to get your certification independent of an organization, then the Six Sigma Black Belt is an excellent option. It is also preferred for professionals seeking a management-level position, working in project management, or holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. The Lean Six Sigma master black belt stands at the top of the heap. It is usually reserved for people with a black belt certification and years of experience leading Six Sigma projects. People typically think a master black belt is higher than a black belt certification, but that’s not entirely accurate. Master black belts usually perform a few different functions than what a black belt does, but that is primarily because of experience. Master black belts offer training and support to black and green belts and may lead multiple projects simultaneously. Consequently, master black belts usually have strong analytical and statistical skills and many years of experience leading projects at the black belt level. It’s wise not to attempt a master black belt certification until you satisfy these following two requirements:
- You have Black Belt certification from MSI or a similar organization.
- You three or more years of experience leading process improvement projects, specifically at least three Six Sigma projects at the black belt level.
How Much Does Six Sigma Certification Cost?
Costs vary depending on who provides the certification, but here are some benchmark figures to help you, as provided by the actual Council for Six Sigma Certification (CSSC).
- White Belt: Free
- Yellow Belt: $99.00
- Green Belt: $159.00
- Black Belt: $229.00
Advanced Certifications (These require completing a project):
- Green Belt Level II: $300.00 and up
- Black Belt Level II: $300.00 and up
- Black Belt Level III: $300.00 and up
- Master Black Belt: $665.00 and up
Advanced certifications are a meritorious achievement in Six Sigma training. In the past, gaining a black belt certification required completing multiple projects. However, the projects were dropped over time to allow more people to become eligible, and more enrollments meant more fees! The advanced certifications are designed to bridge that gap.
How Long Does It Take to Get Six Sigma Certification?
You know how to get Six Sigma certification, but you may be wondering how long it takes. White Belt certification takes up to four hours. Taking courses to prepare for the Six Sigma yellow belt certification can take up to three weeks, while the Six Sigma green belt certification course takes up to 10 weeks or one to three months. The Black Belt course varies between two to four months or a maximum of 16 weeks. The exact course certification time depends on the project requirements and the certification provider.
Additionally, the Lean Principles course typically takes eight weeks.
Would You Like to be Lean Six Sigma Certified?
If you see the importance of getting Lean Six Sigma certification and you’re interested in how to become Lean Six Sigma certified, you need that training in as timely a manner as you can. Fortunately, this Lean Six Sigma course can help you on your Six Sigma career path.
UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management helps you master Lean Six Sigma in six months and familiarize you with the Lean Six Sigma methodology. The boot camp fast-tracks your budding quality management career using this IASSC-accredited Lean Six Sigma course. You will gain valuable skills and learn practical Lean Six Sigma principles such as:
- Agile Management
- Digital Transformation
- Lean Management
- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
- Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
- Quality Management
The course features live classes delivered by qualified instructors and a capstone Six Sigma project that gives you that vital real-world experience. Once you complete the course and take the certification exam, you will earn your certificate and gain membership in the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.
Glassdoor.com reports that a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt working in the United States earns an annual average of $104,356. So, act now and sign up today, and get that valuable Six Sigma training certification that today’s businesses want in their candidates. Today’s enterprises want Lean Six Sigma-certified professionals. So, why not become one of them?