A Black Belt, however, does not necessarily require a degree in six sigma. There are still many benefits that one can derive from a six sigma training and getting a six sigma certification, especially if you are already employed in the field. The first thing to be aware of, however, is that there will be a difference between a Black Belt and a Six Sigma Green Belt, even though the latter is promoted as a member of the organization. They both still go through the training provided by Six Sigma and, just like any Six Sigma trainees, must maintain a high level of competence in their job.
There is no upper limit on the number of Six Sigma Green Belts in an organization, though promotion and increase in salary might affect how long they remain in their present position. A Green Belt is also promoted after completing his six sigma training and is expected to stay with the company for a year or more. In some companies, this is followed by an additional year of seniority.
The Bok is an assistant to the Black Belt, who does most of the training. The Bok has more seniority than the Black Belt and he is the person who performs all inspections and makes the actual improvements in the processes. However, he is not allowed to make the final decisions and is only consulted when changes need to be made. He is also the one who reports to the Black Belt and acts as the ‘line manager’ for issues or problems that might arise.
The Bok should have great analytical and leadership skills. It is his job to ensure that the Six Sigma project is moving along smoothly and in the correct direction. This is because the Bok is the one responsible for analyzing the results of the projects and reporting them to the Black Belt. Without him or her, there would be chaos. For instance, if there are problems found in one part of the process, it is the Bok who brings it to the attention of the Black Belt, who then gives his/her recommendation to the management or Black Belt supervisor. This way, everyone wins.
Before becoming a Bok, you should complete your formal training. This includes a three-month apprenticeship in a real office that uses Six Sigma. You will be taught how to handle problems in a timely manner, how to create quality policies and develop Six Sigma documentation and analysis processes. You will also be trained on how to use visual aids and how to present information in a clear and concise way.
Upon completion of the apprenticeship, you should be able to show that you can quickly solve problems and bring about positive changes in the processes using Six Sigma. The training will also expose you to real projects in which you will be required to demonstrate your expertise. This is where your Black Belt certification comes in. You should be able to apply the concepts and ideas that you learned during the course to real projects. Once your Black Belt certification has been passed, you are now ready to take your first class.
Once you have completed your Six Sigma Black Belt training, you can expect to take your first project during your first day at work. That first project should be simple but must be done right in order for you to gain confidence. From there, you will slowly be able to command more authority and be given more responsibility over your projects. As you do, you will see that Six Sigma is not just for hardcore business professionals; it is also for those who want to improve the quality of their lives.