Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology that can help organizations boost product quality, process efficiency, and more. While a Six Sigma certification can ensure that you are trained in this methodology, is it worth the investment?
In this post, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of certification, as well as the most important points to consider before making the investment.
What Is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a process improvement and performance improvement methodology that originated in manufacturing.
- Reduction in variability
- Removal of product defects
- Maximizing product value
Like lean, it focuses on principles such as continual improvement, or kaizen, and business process standardization, which can have a significant and positive impact on the entire organization.
Organizations that have adopted this methodology have widely reported cost savings and benefits across the board, from defect prevention to reduced waste to better customer experiences.
Though this methodology began in manufacturing – specifically, in the manufacturing department at Motorola – it has spread to other disciplines and can even be applied across the entire organization.
Also, since Six Sigma has become such a popular business framework, certification can be a useful way to demonstrate one’s expertise in this field. And, in some instances, certification may be required for getting hired at certain jobs.
Why Get Certified in Six Sigma?
As with any other certification, obtaining a Six Sigma certification guarantees a certain level of competency in a given field of expertise – in this case, in Six Sigma.
In the case of Six Sigma, it is important to note that certifications are based on Six Sigma’s “ranking” system – that is, its hierarchy of competence.
Certifications are therefore offered for different levels of expertise, such as:
- White belt
- Yellow belt
- Green belt
- Black belt
Naturally, each certification will focus on training for a particular skill level.
Also, every school will differ in terms of quality, content, teaching style, and so forth, so it is important to evaluate options carefully.
Once enrolled in a course, however, you can expect to receive:
- Training, skills, and knowledge that corresponds to a particular Six Sigma belt level
- Support from teachers, either in an online or offline environment
- Course material and exams designed to assess your capabilities
Benefits of certification include:
- The actual skills and knowledge you receive during training
- A certificate demonstrating your competency
- Improved job and salary prospects
The actual value of a certification will naturally depend on one’s own needs and circumstances.
What Points Should You Consider Before Becoming Certified?
Several factors influence the actual benefits you’ll receive from certification, such as the quality of the program and your own needs. Therefore, it is important to approach the selection process with care.
Here are a few questions to ask when considering Six Sigma certification:
- What are my career goals?
- How will the certification benefit me personally?
- Is certification required at my organization?
- What is the reputation of the trainer?
- What is the content of the certification program?
Answering questions such as these can make the evaluation and selection process much easier. It can also lower the chances you’ll choose an unsuitable program.
Where Can You Get Certified?
Six Sigma certification began along with the implementation of Six Sigma by companies such as General Electric and Motorola. It has since become more widespread and, today, Six Sigma certification is offered by a number of organizations.
A few include:
- IASSC, short for the International Association For Six Sigma Certification
- Six Sigma Online, part of the Aveta Business Institute
- Six Sigma Institute, an independent organization that provides a range of Six Sigma certifications
- Management and Strategy Institute, a business organization that provides certifications in several different disciplines
Another useful resource is the Council for Six Sigma Certification, which dubs itself the “official industry standard for Six Sigma accreditation.”
Most Six Sigma training programs are available online, making them a convenient choice for today’s busy professional. However, not all schools offer the same teaching format, so that is another point to consider when evaluating options.
Six Sigma vs. Lean Six Sigma Certification – What’s the Difference?
There are quite a few institutes that offer certification in Lean Six Sigma, a variation of Six Sigma that combines lean thinking with the Six Sigma methodology.
The content of these programs does differ from standard Six Sigma certification programs, so it is important to understand your goals before enrolling.
Lean Six Sigma, for instance, incorporates ideas such as:
- Waste reduction
- Continual improvement
- Process flow
The utility and popularity of this variation of Six Sigma makes it a valuable option, but that shouldn’t be the only factor to consider. As mentioned above, one’s own goals and circumstances should be the biggest deciding factor – if, for instance, one’s own company prefers a standard Six Sigma certification, then it is best to invest in a normal Six Sigma certification, rather than Lean Six Sigma.
Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology that can reduce waste, lower product defects, improve employee productivity, boost customer satisfaction, and much more.
Certification in Six Sigma – or a Lean Six Sigma certification – can be a valuable addition to one’s resume, and it may be a required qualification in certain jobs.
There are quite a few providers that offer Six Sigma certification, many of which are online. This makes them convenient for anyone, regardless of their location or work schedule.
Before investing, it is a good idea to examine one’s own goals and needs, as well as providers’ reputations and course offerings.