Six Sigma Certification

  1. Six Sigma Certification Overview

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a statistics or data-based Business Management Strategy that was developed and adopted by the Motorola company in the mid 1980's. It was originally created to help Motorola identify and remove the causes of errors and defects in their manufacturing process, but has since gone on to become a foundation principle for numerous organizations across many industries planet-wide.

The main thrust of the Six Sigma approach is to eliminate, as much as possible, variations (defects) in products or services. 'Six Sigma' is achieved when producing just 3.4 'defects' per one million servings/units/happenings/etc.

Practitioners of Six Sigma are classified according to 'belts' (similar to that used in martial arts) with Green and Black Belts qualified to undertake Six Sigma processes, and Master Black Belts who act as overseers.

Six Sigma Certification

As for Six Sigma certification, the options for candidates are many and varied. There is no central governing body overseeing the Six Sigma certification process, so candidates wishing to become Six Sigma certified can pick and choose from which ever Six Sigma training provider they wish - but let the buyer beware as not all Six Sigma credentials are created equal. Some certification providers, for example, may require Six Sigma certification candidates, who pass the exam, to also have a proven record in hands-on practical experience before being awarded the Six Sigma certification. For other institutions, however, simply passing the exam may be enough. Therefore just as the quality of the credential may vary, so too will its value in the eyes of a potential client or employer. Before candidates spend large amounts of money with a Six Sigma training provider, they should research the provider, and the requirements of the certification, carefully.

But despite there being no central authority on all matters Six Sigma, there are organizations that operate as independent arbitrars of Six Sigma certification providers, ensuring quality and standards are met in the training and certification process. These organisations have their own list of approved training providers. Some such organizations are:

As for the certification process, this will vary from provider to provider. As well as a large number of third-party Six Sigma training providers, many companies also offer their own in-house Six Sigma qualification (e.g. GE, Caterpillar, Motorola) - and with the case of in-house programs it's often easier to meet any practical hands-on requirements. Not everyone works for such companies, however, so third-party training providers will be the option for most people. Generally speaking though, candidates will need to attend a training course where they'll be given the relevant course material. At the end of the course there will be a written exam (the length of the exam, number of questions etc., will also vary depending on the provider). With some providers, just passing the exam will be sufficient to earn the Six Sigma credential, whilst with other providers, practical experience will also need to be gained or demonstrated.

Someday there might be standardization of the Six Sigma certification requirements, but for now candidates (and companies) should carry out adequate due diligence. The ultimate value of the Six Sigma certification lies not in the certification itself, but the ability of the person having the credential.