For those who are following the Six Sigma strategies, attaining a green belt certification is an important step to take. This is the first level of belt that one can attain (other than the yellow belt, which doesn't have its own certification), and is where everyone will get the needed experience to advance. Some employees may go on to attain more advanced belt levels including the black belt, and master black belt.
Any company that wants to implement Six Sigma standards will need to have a number of their employees certified as green belts.
What is the Green Belt
While many people look at the Six Sigma green belt as a starting point on a journey toward attaining a higher-level certification, the fact is that most people never push beyond this level. Those who have a green belt will have the knowledge and experience needed to perform Six Sigma focused work, and even lead some projects, for the company.
Requirements to Attain a Green Belt
Six Sigma green belt certifications aren't like most other types of certifications that allow applicants to simply study and then take a certification exam. While there will certainly be studying involved, and an exam is required, that isn't the whole story.
Six Sigma also requires that you have real world experience working on Six Sigma projects. They also want you to have experience working with black belt, or master black belt, individuals who can mentor you toward your goals.
Part of getting a Six Sigma green belt is completing on the job projects that follow the Six Sigma methodologies. Projects can either be part of an individual's normal job, and can be reviewed another authorized employee or outside individual, or focused projects done outside of work.
Companies often encourage potential green belt individuals to find a project within the company so that they can gain the benefit of the effort. They will then also pay any expenses associated with the project, having it reviewed, and anything else that needs to be done.
Individuals who want to attain a green belt, but their current employer isn't interested, can often find project opportunities through volunteer opportunities, business groups, or other resources. They can provide an issue that needs to be resolved, and the individual can create a project out of that. Many schools and training centers will also provide project opportunities to green belt candidates.
Green Belt Certification
There is an exam that must be passed in order to even qualify for becoming a green belt. Just passing this exam won't be enough as you also must complete the projects as mentioned above. If you pass the exam alone, one is typically considered a yellow belt until they complete the other requirements.
The amount of time that it takes to study and pass a green belt certification will very greatly depending on how an individual studies. Most people will follow online or self-study courses, which can last anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months, depending on their dedication to the work.
Some colleges, universities, and private educational institutes provide focused on attaining Six Sigma certifications. In most cases, the courses focused on the Six Sigma green belt will last 3-6 weeks, at which point students should have the necessary knowledge to pass the certification exam.
Why Seek the Six Sigma Green Belt
The green belt certification is a highly sought-after option for many companies. Whether an individual wants to move forward to attain higher level belts or not, the green belt alone can potential open many doors within a company, or make it easier to find employment with a new company. The following are some of the many benefits that getting a Six Sigma green belt can bring to both individuals and companies:
- Useful in All Industries - Most people who attain a green belt certification will do it with one particular industry in mind. The concepts learned in this process, however, are valuable across all industries, so finding work is often much easier.
- Nurtures Leadership Potential - Part of ones role as a green belt will be leading certain projects. This experience helps to grow, and demonstrate, leadership skills, which can open up doors to higher level positions over time.
- Improved Salary Potential - Those with Six Sigma belts make significantly higher salaries than those without them over the course of their careers.
- Eliminate Defects & Errors - Employers love Six Sigma certified individuals because they are always looking for ways to find and eliminate defects and errors within processes.
- Fosters Positive Relationships with Leadership - Those with the green belt certification will be running projects that require regular communication with leadership teams.
These benefits are all in addition to the advantages that are provided by gaining this knowledge and experience.