Should you obtain a Six Sigma certification online?
Certifications in any business methodology, including Six Sigma, can be an excellent way to enhance your recognition, demonstrate your credibility, and boost your expertise.
However, not all certifications are equal and Six Sigma certifications have come under criticism by some, which begs the question – are they worth the investment?
In this post, we will explore the pros, cons, and considerations of obtaining a Six Sigma certification online.
Should You Get a Six Sigma Certification Online?
Six Sigma is a very popular process improvement methodology that focuses on minimizing variations in business processes and defects in products and services.
This process improvement methodology originally began in manufacturing, but it has since spread to a wide number of other fields. Six Sigma can be applied, for instance, to management, product development, and even to the business as a whole.
Organizations that utilize Six Sigma will often seek out Six Sigma practitioners, which means that they are more likely to hire someone who has demonstrated an understanding of this field.
This example highlights one of the biggest benefits of a Six Sigma certification, or any type of employee training for that matter – better job prospects.
Other reasons to consider getting certified include:
- Increased credibility among peers
- Boosted recognition among customers
- A deeper understanding of the Six Sigma methodology
- Improved salary prospects
- The ability to deliver better outcomes within one’s organization
Additionally, an online certification offers several other benefits over onsite certifications, such as convenience and affordability. Online courses, after all, are often scheduled more flexibly and, since they are online, they cost less to produce, which cost savings are often transferred to the learner.
Another point to note is that the safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a massive trend to remote working and the hybrid office. For many, therefore, online courses are safer than in-person courses.
Downsides to Online Six Sigma Certifications
Benefits such as those listed above offer compelling reasons to consider investing in an online certification, but there are downsides to consider.
- Some have pointed out that the quality of online Six Sigma certification programs can vary greatly
- Six Sigma training only focuses on Six Sigma, so it is only relevant to businesses that use this methodology
- Theoretical training does not substitute for real-world experience
- Time and costs may be an obstacle for some people
In short, it is very important to evaluate one’s own situation – as well as the certification course in question – before investing in any training, Six Sigma or otherwise.
What to Look For in a Six Sigma Certification Course
Here are a few things to look for:
Certain certifications are held to strict, universal standards. A title that is accredited by a single authoritative body, for instance, would require that any schools teaching that method would need to meet specific standards.
To issue a law degree or the title of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), for instance, schools are legally required to meet stringent standards that are issued by the CFA Institute.
Certain bodies, such as the Council for Six Sigma Certification and the International Association for Six Sigma Certification, do accredit other schools that provide Six Sigma certifications.
Yet not all institutions that offer certifications do receive accreditation from a third party – and those that do may not always adhere to that authority’s criteria.
It is therefore critical to evaluate an institution’s reputation when selecting a program.
One way to do this is to see if the organization receives accreditation from a third party, such as those noted above.
Another is to read the testimonials of past students. Students can attest to quality of the instruction, the outcomes they achieved as a result of the course, and more.
Another area to examine closely is the actual content of the courses. Since, as mentioned, schools may not adhere to a set of specific standards, it is important to examine exactly what content they teach.
That content, after all, is the main reason for an investment in a certification.
At the bare minimum, it is necessary to determine whether or not the certification teaches content that will enable you to be a successful practitioner.
At the same time, one should evaluate the different levels of certification – such as green belt vs. black belt – since each level will teach different content.
Costs and availability
Naturally, it is important to find a course that fits with your own schedule.
Today, most professionals are busy, which makes online certifications very convenient and useful. For example, some courses are entirely on-demand, some are live, and some are hybrid.
However, different courses have different formats, so it is a good idea to find one that suits one’s own schedule before making the commitment.
Generally, if you are examining Six Sigma certification courses, you feel that it will be valuable to your career.
However, as we have seen, unless an organization is actively using that methodology, or plans to, the certification will not be very relevant or helpful to your career development.
Also, you should consider factors such as the content covered by a course, the reputation and accreditation of the school, and the time and cost commitment.Also note that Six Sigma certifications differ from Lean Six Sigma certification courses, which have also become quite popular.