What Is Six Sigma Certification? (With Tips And Benefits)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

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Six Sigma is a methodology to improve processes with unknown problems using statistical analyses. Professionals with a Six Sigma certification receive training for minimising and eliminating defects in products and services and raising the product quality. Knowing the details of this methodology and certification can benefit you in your management career by increasing your career prospects. In this article, we answer the question 'What is Six Sigma certification?', share its methodologies, explain belt levels, provide tips on how to get a Six Sigma certificate and also explore its benefits for management professionals.

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What Is Six Sigma Certification?

Before learning the answer to the question 'What is Six Sigma certification?', it is important to understand that it is a quality improvement approach that members of respective management teams can learn to benefit their organisation. A Six Sigma Certified professional is aware of the complete Six Sigma principles and meets a specific standard of proficiency. Sigma, a statistical term, helps a certified professional judge the current state of a process and its scope for attaining perfection.

Some goals of the Six Sigma process include re-working and simplifying operations, reducing defects and rejections, shortening time to market, cutting down costs, improving customer satisfaction and upgrading the competitive position. The Six Sigma process can help ensure that 99.9% of the products manufactured are defect free. It is especially useful in industries like manufacturing, engineering and construction, finance, supply chain and health care.

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Six Sigma Methodologies

Six Sigma projects follow two project methodologies, each with five phases. These are:


DMAIC is an acronym for define, measure, analyse, improve and control. It is a data-driven method used to improve the manufacturing of a product or the delivery of a service for increased customer satisfaction. DMAIC decreases defects and increases the quality level of a company's products and services.

In the first phase, you define the problem, improvement opportunities, project goals and customer requirements. Next, you measure how the key aspects of the process are currently performing in their unaltered state in the second phase. In the analyse phase, you examine the previous data to find out the root cause of the defects. Then you can change the manufacturing process to address the defects and optimise the current process in the improve phase. In the control phase, you make regular adjustments to coordinate new processes to ensure future performance.

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DMADV, which is short for define, measure, analyse, design and verify, is a part of the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) process which designs or re-designs different product manufacturing or service delivery processes. If a company wants to build a new product or service or if existing product or service manufacturing processes do not meet customer conditions, even after optimisation, Six Sigma green belts and black belts execute DMADV, under the supervision of Six Sigma master black belts. DMADV develops new defect-free methods and meets or exceeds customer requirements.

In the define phase, you define design goals that are consistent with customer demands and the enterprise strategy. Next, you measure the characteristics that are Critical To Quality (CTQs) and the product capabilities in the measure phase. In the analyse phase, you analyse the data and develop design alternatives, eventually picking the best one. Then you design an improved alternative after multiple revisions in the design phase. Lastly, in the verify phase, you verify the design, initiate pilot runs, implement the production process, collect customer feedback and consign it to the process owners.

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Different Six Sigma Belt Levels

You can get certifications for Six Sigma training in levels using a belt classification system. The five belt levels are:

White belt

White belt certified Six Sigma professionals have a fundamental comprehension of the Six Sigma outline. Their training usually involves an overview of relevant methods and vocabulary for Six Sigma that shows candidates their specific roles and contribution to efficient, reliable outcomes. This involves knowledge about process improvement, variability and adverse effects on process performance. White belts participate in projects and perform basic problem-solving tasks related to quality management and waste reduction.

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Yellow belt

Yellow belt certified Six Sigma professionals know some basic methodologies and some associated improvement procedures, along with important metrics. They participate as equally contributing project team members and review process improvements that support the project. They may also guide limited-scope projects and assist managers at higher belt levels.

Green belt

Green belt certified Six Sigma professionals can create charts and process maps and control an entire plan to guide other employees. They are senior members of the team who assist with data collection and analysis for black belt projects. They may also lead green belt projects or teams.

For a Six Sigma green belt certification, it is necessary to attend a full course where you learn the DMAIC framework and other methods for developing and improving products, services and related processes. It is valuable for individuals in roles like project management, health care administration and finance management. After certification, professionals can understand the problems in a business process, use performance metrics and tools for measuring changes, examine relevant data to glean insights and implement solutions to ensure optimum resource utilisation and sustainability.

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Black belt

Black belt certified Six Sigma professionals execute Six Sigma projects, monitor results, run quality improvement and can make a significant impact on company-wide productivity. They can perform factorial experiments and multiple regression and are aware of different process optimisation methods. They understand team dynamics and assign roles to team members according to skill level.

A Six Sigma black belt certification requires previous knowledge of Six Sigma strategies. These professionals undergo advanced Six Sigma training to master planning and leadership skills. They have a rigorous understanding of driving organisation-wide changes, analysing statistics, deploying Six Sigma principles and supervising projects for green belt teams. In this course, professionals employ Six Sigma tools in a real-world context where they conduct projects to gain hands-on experience.

Master black belt

Master black belt certified Six Sigma professionals receive advanced and highly focused training on Six Sigma projects and statistical methods. Usually, Six Sigma black belts with strong leadership and problem-solving skills become master black belts. These professionals answer procedural questions, resolve complex technical issues, develop key metrics, decide strategic direction, coach green belts and black belts and act as the organisation's Six Sigma technologist and internal consultant. This certification course is useful for professionals who coordinate teams across all departments or are part of executive leadership.

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Tips For Getting A Six Sigma Certification

Depending on your requirements, you can avail of programmes offered either by educational institutes or by corporations. Here are some tips on getting a Six Sigma certificate:

  • Get your Six Sigma certificate from an accredited body. There are mainly three organisations that provide this certificate, namely, the American Society for Quality (ASQ), the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) and the Council for Six Sigma Certification (CSSC).

  • Make sure you meet the requirements. To achieve a Six Sigma certificate, it is essential to meet the experience requirements and show your competency to attain the belt level for which you have applied.

  • Familiarise yourself with the evaluation process. As there is no standardised process, different organisations can use different methods of evaluation. This may include a written certification exam or completion of Six Sigma-based projects and tasks.

  • Research the fees. All certification services charge a fee, which increases with more advanced Six Sigma levels. Research and compare the cost at different institutions before starting the certification course.

  • Consult your employer. Through the employer path, you can receive training under Six Sigma experts and master black belts who can validate your application of the Six Sigma tools and concepts personally.

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Benefits Of A Six Sigma Certification

The Six Sigma certification is extremely beneficial for quality control professionals, process improvement professionals, production managers, process control specialists, frontline and factory supervisors, management professionals such as human resource (HR) and information technology (IT) professionals, finance engineers and business analysts. Here are some benefits you can get if you obtain the Six Sigma certificate:

  • Offer increased value to your employer and its clients

  • Increase the ease of the existing job by applying the Six Sigma tools and techniques

  • Attain more employability and scope for promotion

  • Gain improved management, leadership, risk assessment, financial and team-building skills

  • Gain enhanced ability to manage larger projects and teams

  • Gain expertise in identifying and improving requirements in the project definition phase

  • Develop the ability to explain how to measure product and process

  • Can reduce the process cycle time and allow overall cost saving

  • Acquire the skill of performing data analysis and hypothesis testing

  • Gain increased ability to identify and eliminate errors and reduce risks

  • Gain the ability to improve customer satisfaction and quality of products and services

  • Gain the skill of improving business processes and sustaining quality improvement

  • Enjoy more job opportunities across various industries

Please note that none of the companies, organisations or institutions mentioned in this article are not associated with Indeed.

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