Six Sigma certifications can be acquired in two different ways: through on-the-job training and in-house courses. The on-the-job training tends to focus on specific processes and how they affect the Six Sigma project. Although this type of training tends to be more helpful in the early stages, it tends to become too specialized and is often used only for senior positions. Due to the huge demand for Six Sigma experts, there are many courses offered both in the United States and abroad, which offer different certification levels.
Green Belt – This is the first level of Six Sigma certifications. At this level, students get one-on-one training and can easily transfer the knowledge learned into the workplace. This certification emphasizes quality improvement through the implementation of Lean principles. The main advantage of this certification is that it allows new employees to start working on projects with few guidelines and with little guidance from an expert. However, it is not a good choice for workers who already have six Sigma project experience under their belt because the new processes involve a lot more work. This certification program is usually recommended for workers in the information technology, engineering, and business management fields.
Silver – The silver level of lean six sigma certifications. Employees who complete this certification get the ability to participate in the project, but without the full benefits of the formal Six Sigma training. For most companies, this certification is necessary if they want to hire individuals with the ability to increase profitability. In addition, it helps them to monitor employees’ performance in improvement and make timely adjustments to their work process.
Black Belt – Employees at this level receive formal Six Sigma Black Belt training. They are highly experienced and get the ability to interact with professionals in the field like Black Belts and Master Black Belts. Workers at this level will also have the potential to take over projects from a Master Black Belt and lead projects according to strict Six Sigma guidelines. This level of certification also enables workers to handle projects independently, as well as being able to teach others about Six Sigma. Because Black Belts and Master Black Belts receive the highest Six Sigma Black Belt certification, employers prefer workers at this level to employees at other levels.
Master – These are the highest levels of certification available. Employees at this level receive formal Six Sigma Master Black Belt training and undergo rigorous classroom and lab work. Afterward, they receive an official Master Six Sigma Certification, which shows that they have deep understanding of the material taught within the program. This certification also indicates that they are capable of handling projects independently, can explain the materials clearly to others, and have the potential to guide others successfully. However, employers do not lower their expectations for workers at this level, so this certification is not necessarily the next step up for workers.
Green Belt – Employees at this level are those who are still in training or at least have not received formal Six Sigma training. Green Belts is able to perform basic functions properly and can help employees improve their work ethics. However, workers at this level should not expect to become leaders overnight. It takes at least a year and a half to complete the training requirements for Green Belt certification.
When employees at each level to complete the required number of training courses, they will earn the six Sigma certification. Employees can get certified at any level once they have reached the certification requirement. Once employees reach the required certification, they will need to take a test to get certified. Some employees choose to get certified sooner than others. If you plan on getting Six Sigma trained at some point, it is best to keep your certification requirements in mind when applying for jobs.