What is Six Sigma certification and what will you learn in a certification course?
A certification is a credential received upon successful completion of a course – in this case, a course that teaches the Six Sigma methodology.
There are several benefits to having a certification:
- Demonstrating skills and knowledge to potential employers
- The ability to better perform one’s job
- Increased marketability and salary potential
- Greater recognition and credibility among customers
Obtaining a certification, however, is not simply a matter of taking a course. To earn the actual certification or credential, it is often necessary to take a quiz, a test, or to otherwise prove that one has the skills taught in the course.
Below will look at Six Sigma certifications in more detail.
What Is Six Sigma Certification and Should You Get Certified?
To discover whether or not a Six Sigma certification is valuable, it is first necessary to know what Six Sigma is and what types of certifications are available.
What Is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology.
Like lean, it focuses on continual improvement, improving customer satisfaction, and increase in quality across the organization. Also like lean, it began in manufacturing.
However, Six Sigma has a much more data-driven focus.
- Reducing process variation
- Minimizing defects
- Statistical methods
- Performance improvement
- A more rigid competency hierarchy
Although Six Sigma has its limitations, it often generates positive business outcomes and has therefore been widely adopted by a number of organizations, particularly those that rely heavily on production. IBM and Honeywell, for instance, have adopted and make extensive use of this methodology.
Organizations that use Six Sigma naturally want to hire experienced Six Sigma specialists, which is one reason to consider investing in a certification.
What are the different types of Six Sigma Certifications?
A Six Sigma certification, as mentioned, teaches the core content in the Six Sigma methodology. That being said, the business methodology is technical and requires training.
The Six Sigma methodology has adopted a “belt” system, much like the one used in karate or judo, to rank skill levels.
These ranks include:
- White belt
- Yellow belt
- Green belt
- Black belt
- Black belt levels two and three
- Master black belt
Each level teaches different skills such as:
- An overview of the Six Sigma system
- The core tools used in the system
- Statistical methods and data-driven methods
- Six Sigma project management best practices
- Leadership skills
The higher the rank, the more skills one needs to learn and demonstrate in order to obtain a certification.
Where can you obtain a Six Sigma certification?
As mentioned, Six Sigma certifications have become quite popular in recent years. It is possible to obtain a certification from a wide number of schools and many of them are online. This makes it easy to obtain a certification no matter where you live.
That being said, there are a few points to note about getting certified.
- Not all educational institutions are created equal
- Schools that receive accreditation tend to offer the best quality
- It is important to research schools before making an investment
- Different schools and different levels may have different prerequisites
In short, researching a Six Sigma certification is the same as researching any other certification. You must do your due diligence beforehand.
What Six Sigma jobs require certification?
The answer to this question will depend on the organization doing hiring. Every organization, after all, will have its own criteria.
In general, however, there are certain types of jobs that do require certification or a minimum amount of on-the-job experience.
A few of these include:
- Six Sigma analyst
- Six Sigma engineer
- Quality inspector
- Six Sigma business architect
- Production supervisor
As mentioned, organizations that use Six Sigma are typically those that are involved in manufacturing engineering, product development, and so forth. These jobs will typically be very mathematically oriented and scientifically oriented, unlike lean, which has been used in a range of businesses and business disciplines.
Should you get a Six Sigma certification?
There are several points to consider when answering this question.
- What are your career goals?
- Will a Six Sigma certification help you achieve those goals?
- Is certification the most useful form of employee training for your situation?
- Does your organization use Six Sigma?
- Are you interested in data science and statistics?
If you feel that a Six Sigma certification would be beneficial to you, it is necessary to investigate schools closely. As mentioned above, after all, not all schools offering certification are created equal.
When evaluating potential options consider:
- The reputation of the school
- Whether or not the school is accredited
- The costs of the school
- Whether the certification is offered online or offline
- Your schedule
- Alternative disciplines to Six Sigma
Unless you know for sure that your organization needs a Six Sigma professional – or that you want to specialize exclusively in Six Sigma – this last point is worth considering. New disciplines, after all, such as Lean Six Sigma, have become quite popular. And there appear to be as many, if not more, certifications available Lean Six Sigma as there are those in Six Sigma.