What is required for Six Sigma certification?

For Six Sigma certification, study and experience is required. There are various ways to get started on the path toward earning Six Sigma belts. 

Six Sigma certification is broken down using the belt system. The levels of the system are broken down like this: white belt, yellow belt, green belt, black belt, master black belt.

White Belt

This belt isn’t actually a certification; this designation is reserved for anyone who’s interested in completing certification. The white belt is like declaring yourself eligible for a race—you’re announcing your intentions to become an expert of Six Sigma, but the designation doesn’t signify any expertise on the matter. Holders of white belts will have some working knowledge, but will need to focus on mastering foundational concepts of Six Sigma and have enough information to contribute to small group projects.

Yellow Belt

A person with a yellow belt will make for a great contributor to group Six Sigma projects. Considered the workhorses of Six Sigma belts, yellow belt holders are the ones trusted to use Six Sigma methods to get things done. Since Yellow Belts are still developing their knowledge, experience, and skills, it’s important that they be supervised and mentored by someone with a higher certification.

Green Belt

Usually sought by project managers, Green Belts have a solid foundation of Six Sigma knowledge and experience to take supervisorial role on their projects. Their roles should focus on training and overseeing other workers to ensure proper principles and techniques are being using. Green Belts should be mentored by someone with a black belt or master black belt.

Black Belt

Like the martial arts from which Six Sigma certification borrowed the name, earning a black belt in Six Sigma is a high honor, and one not easily achieved. This symbolizes that the black belt holder has worked hard, and for a long time, to become a leader in the field, working on large-scale projects like implementation and managing Six Sigma programs. Black belts often take other belt levels under their wing to show support and provide guidance.

Master Black Belts

This certification is the most elite group out there. Very few experts make it to this level. Master black belts are often used by big corporations, and are often the only one with this designation on the payroll. Master Black Belts oversee large, company-wide projects, which include training, implementation, and program design.


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