Six Sigma involves tools and techniques created by Bill Smith et al. at Motorola in 1986, resulting from their improvement efforts. While Six Sigma refers both to the name of the company (Six Sigma) and also to this quality improvement system (the “six sigma”), the term has come to mean much more.
So, what is Six Sigma? The idea behind Six Sigma is to improve production processes to reduce defects. By reducing defects, companies can reduce costs and increase their productivity.
The purpose of the certification is to provide a formal acknowledgment of learning so companies can have confidence that certified employees have achieved a particular level of competence.
What Will You Learn with Six Sigma Certification Training?
Six Sigma certification is a rigorous program that requires commitment and dedication to attain. In the process of attaining these certifications, individuals will gain a clear understanding of what Six Sigma is and an in-depth knowledge of the various tools necessary to its implementation.
As you move through this certification training, you will also learn how to select the suitable projects for Six Sigma, perform data collection and analysis, develop quality improvement strategies, improve processes using DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) methodology, create a Six Sigma project team group, and more.
The overall goal is to help you present yourself as someone who has attained an understanding of how to use Six Sigma to improve a business and can do it to meet the needs of an organization.
What Does the Program Involve?
Six Sigma certification is a comprehensive program that involves:
- Instructional classes that learners will take to learn the material for the exam
- A Six Sigma Green or Black Belt project that they must complete before taking an exam
- An exam taken at the end of each level tests for understanding and knowledge of all concepts covered during instruction
- Ongoing support and access to resources for learners
The Six Sigma certification process can be divided into different levels. Each level of the six sigma certification builds upon the previous, with Level 1 introducing Six Sigma and completing basic projects.
In contrast, Level 4 provides advanced knowledge of statistical methods (theory) for project management.
White Belt Certification
Individuals who decide to start their Six Sigma certification training with Level 1 White Belt training will learn the basics of what Six Sigma is, its history, and the tools it uses. Individuals trained at this level are not expected to have prior knowledge of quality management or statistical methods (theory).
Although candidates may take multiple classes before starting their certification project, they may begin their Six Sigma Green Belt project once they complete at least one foundational course.
Yellow Belt Certification
The second level of certification is the yellow belt, which requires candidates to complete Level 1 White Belt training and at least one foundation course, generally in process improvement.
Level 2 builds upon Level 1 by giving learners an understanding of the use and implementation of statistical tools such as process histograms, Pareto analysis, and run charts.
Green Belt Certification
The following certification level is the Green Belt. At this level, learners must complete all required courses from Levels 1 and 2 before continuing project-level training.
Learners who pass the exam will solve problems related to product design, development, and service. At this point, they may also become part of a Six Sigma project team.
Black Belt Certification
The Six Sigma Green Belt certification is a prerequisite for the Six Sigma Black Belt certification and involves multiple exams, including one where you must complete a project. The exact number of exams required depends on the school, but you can expect to take several before earning this certification.
The Black Belt certification involves additional figure exams and completing a more challenging project than Green Belt certification. The completion of the exam requires you to present your work in front of an audience. This presentation is done either in person or via teleconference methods.
Master Black Belt Certification
Individuals who complete the Six Sigma Black Belt certification may move to the Master Black Belt program. The first step is taking an exam that tests your knowledge of statistical concepts and the use of advanced statistical metrics tools such as inferential statistics, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis.
After passing this test, there are two additional exams that you must pass before being able to apply for the Master Black Belt certification. Once you have completed all three exams, you may begin your project work toward this certification.
Individuals who complete the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification may also pursue the Six Sigma Black Belt Advanced Level certification. This certification is an optional certification that requires you to have already passed all of your exams for Master Black Belt, including a final project.
You must then pass two additional exams (one covering project management and one Minitab).
Now you have got the answer to your question, “what is Six Sigma?.” The Six Sigma certification program provides a framework for individuals in various industries to improve quality and reduce cost. Not all organizations require that you complete each level before beginning the next. However, it is essential to understand your training before starting your project work.