Six Sigma Certification: Definition and How To Complete It


Discover the world of Six Sigma certification, a recognized methodology for enhancing quality assurance. Learn about its origins, belt classification system, training levels, benefits, and costs in this comprehensive article.

Unlocking the power of Six Sigma certification

Six Sigma certification is an esteemed validation of an individual’s mastery over a distinguished quality assurance methodology. This article delves into the intricate landscape of Six Sigma, exploring its history, training levels, practical applications, and the notable advantages it offers to both organizations and professionals.

The birth and evolution of Six Sigma

Rooted in the 1980s and enthusiastically embraced by American giants like General Electric, Six Sigma emerged as a suite of sophisticated quality management tools. Its architects, Bill Smith and Mikel Harry, who hailed from Motorola, gave birth to this transformative approach. Interestingly, the name “Six Sigma” itself was trademarked by Motorola in 1993, marking a pivotal milestone in its evolution.

The sigma symbol and defect-free precision

The concept of Six Sigma is encapsulated in its name, borrowing from the Greek lowercase letter sigma (σ). This symbol signifies a statistical measure, representing a standard deviation from the average of a data set. When applied to a bell curve, the area within six sigma deviations on either side of the mean is crucial. Any data points outside this range are flagged as defects, highlighting deviations from optimal norms.

Striving for perfection, achieving six sigma quality entails a staggering precision: only 3.4 defects per million items produced. This level of excellence is synonymous with error-free performance in manufacturing, a remarkable feat that fosters an impressive 99.99966% accuracy rate.

The belt classification system

Akin to martial arts belts, Six Sigma certifications are awarded through distinct belt levels, each corresponding to specific roles within an organization. These levels, earned through hands-on experience, educational courses, and examinations, encompass:

  • White belt: Entry-level understanding of Six Sigma’s fundamentals.
  • Yellow belt: Application proficiency and practical project assistance.
  • Green belt: In-depth knowledge applied under a Black Belt’s guidance.
  • Black belt: Mastery of Six Sigma principles and project execution.
  • Master black belt: Expertise in implementing Six Sigma across functions.
  • Champion: Strategic leadership in Six Sigma implementation.

Benefits for employers and employees

The profound benefits of Six Sigma span both organizational and personal realms. For employers, the advantages include reduced waste, heightened efficiency, increased revenue, error reduction, elevated customer satisfaction, and enhanced brand recognition. Employees, on the other hand, experience improved compensation, increased opportunities, greater job security, and leadership prospects.

Unveiling Lean Six Sigma

An evolution of Lean and Six Sigma principles, Lean Six Sigma amalgamates waste reduction methodologies with precision-focused quality enhancement techniques. By eliminating unproductive resource consumption, Lean Six Sigma strives for 3.4 defects per million products, an aspiration that aligns with optimum customer satisfaction.

Customized certification paths

Unlike standardized certifications, Six Sigma certification pathways vary widely. Organizations, educational institutions, and certifying bodies determine their own criteria. Certification might involve exams, project completion, or a combination of both, often associated with a nominal fee.

Navigating the costs

The cost of Six Sigma training varies, depending on the provider. Corporate training might be internally funded, while independent certifications require a fee. For instance, Project Management Academy offers options ranging from Beginner Yellow Belt at $495 to Black Belt Training at $3,595.

Embark on the Six Sigma journey

In conclusion, Six Sigma certification signifies expertise in a renowned quality enhancement methodology. With diverse belt levels, personalized paths, and a rich legacy, Six Sigma continues to redefine quality standards across industries. Aspiring professionals and organizations alike can benefit from its principles, fostering improved efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall success.

Key takeaways

  • Six Sigma certification validates mastery of a prominent quality assurance method.
  • Originating from the 1980s, Six Sigma’s name derives from the sigma symbol’s representation of standard deviation.
  • Training levels encompass White, Yellow, Green, Black, Master Black, and Champion Belts.
  • The benefits of Six Sigma extend to both employers and employees, fostering enhanced performance and job prospects.
  • Lean Six Sigma merges waste reduction principles with precision-driven quality enhancements.
  • Costs of Six Sigma certification vary based on providers and levels of instruction.
View article sources
  1. What Is Six Sigma? – Purdue University
  2. Lean Six Sigma Certification: Is It Worth It? – University of South Florida Corporate Training and Professional Education
  3. Bottlenecks in Production: Maximizing Efficiency and Output – SuperMoney
  4. Ishikawa Diagram: What It Is, Common Uses and How To Create One – SuperMoney