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What is Six Sigma certification?

By  Yoke Wong

Reviewed by Vanessa Kintu

Fact checked by Paul Sorene

Six Sigma Certification

Are you interested in learning more about quality-management methods and how to get a Six Sigma certification? Read on for an explanation on the methodology, the training and certification levels. 

Six Sigma certification is an award that proves the completion of a professional skill development and quality-management program. 

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology for eliminating defects and errors in any process. This set of techniques was introduced by American engineer Bill Smith when he was working at consumer electronics manufacturer Motorola in 1986. His quality management techniques and tools were adopted by American corporations.

Under the Six Sigma certification definition, the ultimate level would be to deliver an error-free product 99.99966% of the time.  

Being awarded a Six Sigma certification means the holder has achieved the skills to implement management processes that reliably deliver near perfect results in manufacturing or in any business activity. 

Although many colleges and corporations offer Six Sigma programmes, there is no standard curriculum. US-based professional training and certification provider ASQ said Six Sigma training “focuses on reducing process variation and enhancing process control”.

How does Six Sigma certification work?

Six Sigma certification is categorised by six sigma belt levels: white, yellow, green, black, master black and champion. The process management skills and ability range from novice to expert across the six belt levels. See below for more details:

Sigma sertidicat

According to ASQ: “Six Sigma implementation strategies can vary significantly between organisations, depending on their distinct culture and strategic business goals.”  

Organisations that decide to provide the method to their employees can either implement a Six Sigma programme or create an infrastructure for training.

In the first option, only certain employees are taught the statistical tools and asked to apply them when needed.

In the second option, students learn through a process-oriented approach that teaches them the methodology to select the right tool at the right time.   

How long does it take to get six sigma certified? For Black Belt certification, the mark of career excellence, in a set-up infrastructure, the process can take over four months, including four weeks of instructions. 

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