Six Sigma methodology is an effective and proven way of improving profits and quality by reducing defects and issues with all aspects of the business itself. But the industry is filled with vendors and schools offering training and certification – usually at premium prices. So how do you choose? What are the most recognized Six Sigma Certifications?

What are the Most Recognized Six Sigma Certifications?

For certification, you are going to want to choose the most recognized, respected, and capable option available. This includes choosing between vendors, for-profit schools, individual corporations and industry organizations. Likely candidates include The American Society for Quality, the International Association for Six Sigma Certification, Villanova, GE, and much more.

The Three Types of Certifying Bodies

The certifications come in three forms. You have the main bodies like ASQ, IASSC, universities like Villanova, and in-house certification from corporations like GE, all mentioned above. These are some of the most trusted options available, especially with in-house operations where they want to make sure that you meet their standards and expectations.

The importance of Six Sigma is unmatched. There are not a lot of options like it, at least those that focus on all levels and layers of a business. Quality, efficiency, and profits all receive a boost when Six Sigma is used properly, which means that a business can continue to improve and strengthen over time. It allows for continuous improvements that rely on accurate information and that do not lack in any of the necessities. When you find that your business is not able to compete on a large scale or is not doing as well as it should, you can make use of Six Sigma to boost  performance.

If you are planning to become certified, you should know more about the various options available to you. The ones above are some of the most trusted, of course, but there is more to them than you might think.

Organizations offering Six Sigma Certification

One option that everyone should consider at some point is the main bodies of certification. These bodies focus solely on Six Sigma certification and are highly respected in the field. Numerous businesses know their names and trust the education that they provide. The organizations have the necessary credentials to certify you in Six Sigma that hiring organizations will view positively.

Learn more about what these organizations can offer as well as how each one stands out. Make sure to look into the credentials of each of them to choose one that is trusted and respected. The two leading contenders in this space are the ASQ and the IASSC.

Both rely on established Bodies of Knowledge  to test you.

I personally like the ASQ model because they require you to do real-world projects to become certified. Their test is also open-book and much harder than the IASSC; both concepts which I feel is more like the real world. Go here for more information on how I passed the ASQ Black Belt exam the first time.

Each certifying body values some subjects over others. Here is my understanding of the differences between the 2 main certifying bodies based upon their published certification exam questions by category and percentage:

ASQ Black Belt vs IASSC Black Belt
ASQ Black Belt vs IASSC Black Belt
ASQ Green Belt vs IASSC Green Belt
ASQ Green Belt vs IASSC Green Belt

University Option

Universities are another great option to choose, so long as the university is accredited. Like nearly every field, you will find a university teaching this without the proper accreditation. This means that the certificate you receive will not be of any use to you. Some universities and many community colleges hire independent contractors to teach Green Belt courses. That is the route that I took. Some require you to have real-world projects and others do not. I would stress finding the ones with real-world projects. This material is much easier to understand when you have a guide showing you how to apply the concepts to real projects.

Another option are the on line universities. Villanova is a university aligned with a for-profit education provider that the accreditation required to teach Six Sigma. Choosing it, or others like it, is a good way to start on your career path. You can check out the various universities websites that are accredited or you can speak with them directly to see if their certification program is of any use to you.

Many people like the Villanova path because it adds the prestige of the Villanova university to the certification. I took the Villanova Black Belt training class and exam and passed it on the first try. I did find it useful. And expensive.

Villanova Bodies of Knowledge:

Two things that I do not like about Villanova:

  • You have to re-certify very often by either paying for more classes or taking the exam again. This gets expensive quickly. While others like the ASQ have continuing education requirements, there are many options available for little or no cost.
  • Villanova requires you to do a mock project. Mock projects are great for learning. I think everyone should do one. But I believe that a certification should require real-world experience. If I was hiring a black belt, I would give more credence to the one who passed the ASQ version.

Business Certification

Businesses that view Six Sigma as a vital part of success may have their own in-house certification. Cummins and GE are two of the big ones here. They want to make sure that future employees meet their personal expectations and standards before hiring them. While they may also require another form of certification, that is not always the case. Their biggest concern here is what you can do. They care about your experience and they care that you meet their own standards for a Six Sigma Black Belt. Before having you join, they are going to ask you various questions about your history with Six Sigma most likely and then they are going to have you go through a rather long training process to make sure that you are a right fit for the business.

Which Certification Should I Get if I Don’t Have a Lot of Experience?

I get variations of this question a lot. I believe all answers come down to intent. Why do you want a certification?

Certification means many things to many people. And like it or not, what that certification means to others plays heavily into the conversation as well.

For some it is a validation that you took the time to learn difficult subjects. In this case, pick a certification that has a well-defined and publicized set of expectations (usually know as a Body of Knowledge).

For others is acknowledgement that not only have you learned the topics, but you have proven that you can apply them in a real-world setting. In this case, pick a certification that requires you to have performed well on a certification exam AND has an experiential learning component.

For others, it may mean that people with this certification have met certain minimum hiring standards. Here you’ll want certifications that not only have the exam component but require submission of a portfolio of completed projects.

Pick the certification that best meets your intent.

What Should I Do if I Want an ASQ Certification but I Do NOT Have the 3 Years of Required Experience.

This is a common variation of the question listed above.

Hi Ted,

I am a master student in Engineering and Management department at Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Also, my bachelor degree is Industrial Engineering and my bachelor graduation project was related to Lean Management, especially in Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen, 5S, Root and Cause Analysis. After I worked on it, I decided to study in this area in the future. After I graduate this master program next year, I want to study in the USA. I search a lot of job posting in Indeed and almost all of them want a green or black belt even in the entry level. I read all the comment in your website but still, I haven’t decided should I attend one of the courses or not because in the ASQ website there is information about the necessity of 3 years work experience. If you give me any advice about it, I will be appreciated.

Busra G.

Let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good here.

Any certification is better than no certification.

If you have the requisite training, I’d suggest taking the IASSC Green Belt (you can see their expected Body of Knowledge here.) That exam is entirely academic meaning that you do not have to have any experience at all. If you feel that you have good command of this material, I suggest signing up for my free practice exams and taking the baseline exams that I offer.

If you do not have the requisite training, I would think about taking a Green Belt course that aligns with the ASQ Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge (you can see that here).

Do This In ALL Cases

Regardless of the path you choose, be sure to get a role and build your portfolio of work. This can be formal employment or volunteering. One of the chief reasons I endorse professional organizations is that they come stocked full of mentors who can help you find both.

Once you have your first certification you can build your own portfolio of achievements. Then, once you have the required years of experience you can take the ASQ exam. This may seem far away but remember that the time is going to pass no matter what you do, so you may as well be intentional about it.

At the end of 3 years you’ll have (2) certifications, you’ll know a lot more than you do now, you’ll have a tremendous personal network and you’ll have documented your projects creating a portfolio of accomplishments that you can bring to any interview you do.

What are the Most Recognized Six Sigma Certifications: Conclusion

When it comes to the most recognized for each, it is hard to say with certainty. In truth, there are multiple exceptional options for all three. Some points to consider when choosing one, if you are going through most recognized and respected, are employment prospects, number of people certified through it, and salary expectations because of it. There is a long list of options and many of them may seem appealing. You have to look at them as a whole, weigh their benefits and downsides, and choose the one that is going to fit your interests and needs the most. Making an informed decision through research is the best path to take, especially when you consider how long training can take in some cases. If you want the highest chance of success, respect, and a good job, then put in the hours to find the right certification.

One More Thing

Whatever certification you choose, you have to pass your exam. Did you know that the people who use my practice exams and study guides report a 100% success rate of passing their exams the first time? Join here. There’s a 100% refund if you find it’s not for you in the first 30 days.

Comments (137)

The American Society for Quality is one of the most recognized societies for quality. They offer a variety of certifications including Six Sigma Yellow Belt, Six Sigma Green Belt, and the Six Sigma Black Belt. The ASQ certifications are true certifications — not certificates. Many organizations will offer a mere certificate. The difference is that a certificate is earned by a completing a course whether any material was applied (or even learned). A certification is a statement from a recognized, large organization stating that they are willing to stake their reputation on the ability of a certified person being able to APPLY the skills (not simply having read about them). As a result, the ASQ Certified Six Sigma Green Belt process is actually more rigorous, arduous, and more time consuming that most Six Sigma Black Belt requirements. ASQ requires mentored, documented, approved projects starting at the Green Belt level. As a result an ASQ certification is among the most respected (and hardest to get) in the nation.

Thanks, Jeremy. You are absolutely correct. If I were hiring people with Six Sigma qualifications, I would absolutely prefer those who achieved the ASQ certification over others who passed a course on the internet.

What do you do if there is nobody in your organization with any Six Sigma certification and you do not know anybody? How do you find a mentor for ASQ certification?

Good question, Katherine. I’d suggest joining the ASQ and reaching out the member base and local chapters. That’s one of the benefits of a professional society; there’s a large number of members with many often willing to reach out. Also, it’s a great way to increase your network and professional knowledge.

A few articles that may be of interest to you:

Six Sigma Black Belt certification requires two completed projects with signed affidavits

How do i achieve this. I have been a manufacturing quality analyst for more than 5 years

Hi Henry,

I’m assuming you’ve completed two projects. If so, I can’t speak for ASQ but I think you’ll need a certified black belt mentor to sign the submission form on their site where you apply to take the BB exam.

I totally agree with you that demonstration of skill on real life project comes second to non.

I actually would prefer one who has been certified according to the Ohio State University certification standard as they require you to complete one project as GB and two as a BB making a significant contribution in $ or as a significant step change for non-profit project.

The nature of the ASQ certification process allow people to never have lead a project to achieve the credential as GB only need to pass the exam and BB only need to verify a certain number of years working with the LSS BoK before taken the exam.

Sorry I was just on ASQ site and I am a member and you can file an affidavit for one project and 3 years of experience in 1 of the main Bodies of Knowledge.

I have almost 3 years of experience in Quality management systems so far. I am planning to get the certification through IASSC for Black belt. For which I am almost on the midway of the preparation as per the IASSC BOK. I have a doubt that since I dont have any on going project right now, I dont want to prefer ASQ currently. Is a certification from IASSC black belt has a good value in the global market in order to get into a higher level or better company? Am I going the right way by taking this exam? Please help

Hi Vineet, I think it depends on your employer (or places you will be applying.) I personally only value the ASQ certification because it requires leadership of projects and I do not believe you can truly understand this stuff unless you practice it on real business projects. But that’s just me. Other people value other things. I would recommend that you reach out to recruiters at the place you are looking to be hired and understand their disposition. Many recruiters have little to no understanding about the difference between the various kinds of certification.

Thank you for creating this fantastic, concise resource for everyone. I am an engineer just starting out in industry and I’m considering working my way towards the Black Belt certification. Since ASQ has the 3 year work experience requirement do you think it is a good idea to take Villanova’s Green Belt certification course first to build my foundation and then a year or two later take ASQ’s Black Belt examination after I have completed the required 2 Six Sigma projects?

I greatly appreciate the content provided. In 2007, Allstate Insurance Company went crazy with Six Sigma. The CEO, Tom Wilson was huge on the topic. I was Certified by Allstate after completing 3 Six Sigma projects and taking a test in house. I have been working on Six Sigma projects leading to multi million dollar IT projects since then.
I was disappointed in myself in getting a 54% on the practice test I took, but recognize I have not studied a word since around 2009. I wanted to see what I still had in my memory. I guess I need to do some reading to refamiliarize myself with some of the terminology.

I am currently doing IASSC Green Belt online. I will be doing my own project at the end of it, using the skills and knowledge that I will have learnt on my Green Belt course and I will be documenting it too so that I have hard evidence of a completed project.

Can anybody give me any more advice on what I should do with regard to my final project and how I can make it seem more ‘valid’ to a potential employer?

I was searching for pursuing LSS Black Belt training and came across Acuity University’s BB training and certification program.
Kindly advice if it would be wise to pursue this program.
Thank you,
Apurva

Hi….I purchased the Career Match online green/black belt bundled package – do you have any feedback for me re whether or not this program is worth my time and effort? At the time, I inquired with CM as to whether they are accredited or not and they claimed that they were…? I just now received information as to how I will test for each module and the provider they sent me a link for is IASSC. After hours of researching, it is confusing as to what the best route is for me to take – please advise if the track I’m on is going to be acceptable in the industry.

Many thanks for your reply ~ Nancy

Hi Nancy,

Yes, many educators confuse this on purpose. They are trying to sell courses. Some are good, but most hiring managers I know will only accept the ASQ certification. IASSC is gaining steam. Personally, I would only hire black belts who pass the ASQ because you are required to have led projects to obtain that certification.

I m considering to obtain six sigma. There’re lots of on-line six sigma courses. it looks cheap and easy to obtain. what’s difference between ASQ/IASSC and on-line courses. On-line course can be accreditor like ASQ/IASSC ? I m confused which one can be the right accreditor.

Jac, there are only a few reputable organizations that the industry recognizes. ASQ is considered the gold standard. IASSC is also considered OK. Everything else is just paying for a piece of paper an in my opinion not worth the time. I wouldn’t hire anyone without the ASQ certification.

In my experience, it is really ASQ then everyone else. IASSC is a popular choice because they do not require you to have actually applied the material in the real world and their exams are much easier. But I would check with your network.

Since there is no actual body or organization made up of businesses and master black belts to give accreditation to institutions giving six sigma courses for certification, any institution can say that they are “recognized” in the industry for their six sigma courses and certification process. Some of them may in fact be quite good with their certification program but aren’t given the credit they may deserve due to organizations like ASQ and IAASC being more well known and, in effect, having a corner on the six sigma certification market. It would be good to know that the originator of this article is not in any way affiliated with either ASQ or IAASC since they both are constantly mentioned and heavily favored (especially ASQ) by said author for anyone (like myself) pursuing certification.

Hi Keith, Much of what you say is fair. There may well be good certification programs out there not receiving the spotlight ASQ and IASSC do. The title of the post is what are the most recognized certifications and that’s what I’ve tried to answer. If you have other recommendations, please add them. But consider the topic at hand.

If the question becomes, which is the best certification to pursue, we might have different conversation. But I’m still not certain the 2 most popular organizations would be left out of that conversation.

As for my affiliation, I took and passed the Villanova Black Belt exam. I quickly found out that the ASQ was considered the gold standard by people in the industry because of its rigor and because it requires you to have actually led Six Sigma programs. I joined ASQ as a member, took the exam and passed and since then they’ve asked me to write for them occasionally. I’ve been named one of their Influential Bloggers and am working to have a larger piece of mine published later this year. That said, I am very happy to join another organization and publish with them if it affords the same continuing educational and professional networking capabilities.

Which organizations do you feel this article neglects and why?

Hi, I have 3 years of work experience in project management and am looking forward to pursue Green belt six sigma certification. I came across a certifying body by the name TÜV SÜD, could you please let know if it would be advisable to go ahead with it.

Hi,

I’m actively looking to obtain Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification however before doing that of course I would need to find a way to study its fundamentals and everything else pertaining to it. I’ve been in contact with a representative from Villanova university and although, without a doubt, the university is a reputable one, I find it a little pricey for what it is worth.

My question is, what is the best way to prepare for ASQ’s LSSGB certification? I saw on their website that they offer an online training for such. Would it be a good choice to enroll in their courses? Also, with regards to the real-world application of the Lean Six Sigma principles, does the organization help you find a project you can participate in or will you have to find one for yourself?

Thank you very much!

Hi,

I would like to clarify on a statement in my last post. When I asked about projects, I was referring to the ASQ organization.

Thank you.

Are you considered certified if you complete the Villanova green belt course? Will I be able to put CSSGB behind my name?

Hi,

Thank you very much for the detailed info, very useful.

please confirm if you have come across IQF a USA certification. Is it recognized, if so how well.

Hii all
I had an experience of two years as a production engineer.I am doing my Masters of Science in Industrial Management. Can any of u suggest me the best Certifying body for Green Belt

Hi Lokesh, Since you are enrolled in school I would check out the job fairs and speak to prospective employers to see which ones they value. If there isn’t a consensus, I am partial to ASQ.

Best, Ted.

Hi,

Currently I am working in Office Administration profile also in some HR responsibilities. I have almost 6 years of experience in this profile. Now I am planning to move my career in quality. Could you please suggest me if Green belt certification is good for me or I am eligible to get this certificate??

Thank you!

Thank you so much!
I read that article but my question is still the same, like if I move in quality than it is obvious that I need to get a certificate for that and also the experience for the same.

Many thanks!

Dear sir,
Please, i wanna more info and advice about this organization (ASQ – IASSC – IQF – Villanova and The council for six sigma certification)
I will take Lean SSBB in next month, please, let me know the best and the priority in choice like: 1 is X 2 is Y and etc..

Thanks in advance

Hi,

Are you familiar with Management and Strategic Institution? I am currently based in Singapore, and there isn’t much MSI certified holders in the region.

Look forward to your input.

Hi, I just recently completed a Project Management course and working to become PMP certified. Which certification is most accepted, PMP or Six Sigma?

Thanks,
Sherryl

Hi Sherryl,

Congratulations on the PMP – that’s an exacting exam! Would love to hear your thoughts on the material and hear about your preparation!

As for which is most accepted, I think it comes down to focus areas. When Six Sigma is needed for a specific role at a company, there are few substitutes. Project management as a field is much broader so I would think that the PMP is more accepted simply because the field is well-known.

Six Sigma Black Belts are expected to have advanced project management skills. Project Managers are not expected to have Six Sigma knowledge, per se. I see the certifications as complementary.

If you are a project manager, I would suggest getting the PMP and Six Sigma Green Belt.
If you are a Six Sigma professional, consultant, or strategist, I would suggest the Six Sigma Black Belt AND the PMP.
If you work in software, I would suggest the PMP – Agile Practitioner over the regular PMP as the are entirely separate areas.
Program Managers and Six Sigma Champions and many Master Black Belts would benefit from PMI’s program management certifications as well as specific six sigma certifications.

I hope this helps!

Hello Sir

I have studied six sigma back in college ( 2 years ago ) and I have attended a course with my company as well

I have a basic information about six sigma and I really want to be green belt certified
how long does it take to get the green belt ?

Is the Villanova SSBB certification regarded as highly as ASQ? Is there a “pecking order” to what the industry views as more acceptable? ASQ, IASSC, Villanova? I’ve checked into the Villanova program and it seems a bit expensive.

Mark – your mileage may vary, so I would tell you to check with your network on this. What I have seen is that the ASQ is the undisputed king as it has both a complex real-world application requirement and a rigorous exam. The Villanova gives you good training and access to live instructors. They also require you to complete an imaginary case study, which no one else does. Their exam is difficult, more so than IASSC’s but I found it far easier than the ASQ.

My advice would be to invest in good training then to take the ASQ certification when you have enough real-world project experience. I do recommend getting non-ASQ certifications while you are completing the necessary real world experience needed to sit for the ASQ.

Hii,
I am Graduate student pursuing my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering I have zero Industrial Experience. But I want to mold my career in manufacturing . I have taken many course in manufacturing in my masters . Now my interest is to learn Lean six sigma online. Which certification will you prefer for beginner in the field of lean six sigma ASQ, IASSC, Villanova. Is Villanova Master Certificate in Six Sigma worth the cost of $7XXX . Or any other institute you will prefer for lover cost .

Thank You

Mike, If you do not have industry experience, you’ll have to start at Green Belt – no one would rightly take an inexperienced Black Belt seriously. If you have the opportunity, I would suggest joining ASQ because aside from the certifications, there is a robust community that can help you as you start your career. One way to look at any training or certifications is to benchmark others in your desired career. What path did they take to get there (and how recently)? What is a logical career path that will get you there? What are the people who hire for those kind of positions looking for? After speaking with enough people you’ll see patterns emerge for your unique situation.

Hi Everyone, just wanted to chime in on the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification topic. I’ve been a Six Sigma Black Belt for over a decade. Started out as GB back in 2004 then progressed through company BB. Eventually I decided to process through the Villanova BB program. I went through that program back when they shipped you DVD’s (I’m old). I’m not sure if they still do that – I’d imagine it’s delivered via the web now. I enjoyed their program and thought it was a bit tough – primarily because the concepts were new to me. Having practiced for over ten years and earning another BB through an aerospace company I worked for (it was mandated as a senior level BB) – I felt I was solid on the BB BoK. So I decided to start studying for the ASQ BB Exam about 3-4 weeks prior to my exam date. Not a smart idea. I can attest that even as an experienced BB the ASQ exam challenged me. They have a unique way to ensure you understand the material. Fortunately I passed and I’m putting together my portfolio for their Master Black Belt. As a side note: I went through the Moresteam GB program a few years back just to see how their program was and I feel it’s strong as well. Hope this helps.

Chad Burroughs
Virtual L6S | Trainer | Coach | Mentor
http://www.chadburroughs.com

Hi Larry, I would check with people in positions to hire you for the next role you seek for a definitive answer. As for myself, it doesn’t carry a lot of weight. I think it’s a good overview and in a place where you are applying for a role that requires introductory knowledge of Six Sigma practices, it’s a good show of faith that you’re interested in the topic.

I passed Villanova’s Master Certificate Lean Six Sigma certificate course back in 2008. To earn my master certificate Villanova required that I pass Lean Green Belt, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt courses. Since finishing these courses I have heard varying options to what my training means to actual certification. Am I eligible to list on my resume that I am a Master Black Belt, (CLSSMBB)? I currently hold a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification through a separate source, and want to accurately state my professional certification status.

Thank you,
John

Hi John, I think you can state on your resume that you passed the Villanova certificates and programs you stat. If you hold a black belt via a different source, I would state that plus the source. If you have not passed a Master Black Belt program, I don’t think you can list that. Hope that helps.

Hi,

Which reference books you preferred for the ASQ Black belt Examination Test preparation, considering that I have worked on Six sigma projects and also PMP certified.

Thanks
Umair

I read your comments above and decided to go with the ASQ certification. Two questions:
– do I need to have the yellow belt certification to take the green belt one?
– it says that” Operates in support of or under the supervision of a project sponsor or Six Sigma Black Belt.” is a minimum expectations. Would I still be able to get green belt certified if my mentor is not a Black Belt?

I read your comments above and decided to go with the ASQ certification. Two questions:
– do I need to have the yellow belt certification to take the green belt one?
– it says ” Operates in support of or under the supervision of a project sponsor or Six Sigma Black Belt.” is a minimum expectations. Would I still be able to get green belt certified if my mentor is not a Black Belt?

Hi Marja,

You do NOT need a yellow belt to get a green belt. You do not need a green belt in order to get a black belt.

My interpretation of the support question is that you do not need to be under the supervision of a Black Belt, but you should contact ASQ directly.

I read your comments above and decided to go with the ASQ certification. Two questions:
– do I need to have the yellow belt certification to take the green belt one?
– it says the applicant should be under the supervision of a project sponsor or Six Sigma Black Belt.Would I still be able to get green belt certified if my mentor is not a Black Belt?

Hi, I am working as operations manager with a small company and interested to pursue ASQ or IASSC Black Belt certification. Somone guide me, will this certification help me to get a position in a reputed company as operations manager as I have 8 years of experience in Oil & Gas Field of Oman with M.Com degree.

Hi,

I have some questions about the IASSC Black Belt exam. I’ve already read your article for the ASQ exam, but I wonder how hard the IASSC exam is?

1. How much time would you at least plan for someone with a Green Belt (for the IASSC exam)?
2. Why is the ASQ exam more dificult?
3. Would you recommend to do both?

Hello,

my last comment was not published

My Question is how dificult ist the Six Sigma Black Belt Exam (IASSC) if you compare it with ASQ?
How much time need a Green Belt to pass the examination?

My employer is willing to pay for the Villanova Green Belt Certification. Would it be smart for me to take the course and get the certificate, then take the ASQ exam to get ASQ certified?

Hi Ben,

That’s exactly what I did for my black belt and it worked out for me ;’)

There was a bunch of stuff that Villanova taught that I didn’t need in the ASQ. And there were a few things that I had to catch up on

My recommendation is to be sure to follow the BOKs to a T.

And remember that the Villanova certification exam is no joke. I’ve had many colleagues – good, smart, diligent colleagues fail it. If you’re looking for good study materials, I have a great recommendation!

Hi Ted/All,

I am interested in six sigma green belt. i currently serve in USN as an Electrician Mate and possess an 8 month certification in Non Destructive Testing from The Ocean Corporation and a B Sc Physics. Been looking through schools to where i can take the six sigma green belt traing and ASQ certification as you have majorly recommended in your post. i have seen these schools: Villanova, Arizona State University, McGill University, Florida Tech, Loyola University, University of Utah, Missouri Southern state university, NC state university. is there any of these you’d strongly recommend. i intend to get good quality affordable training, then, take the green belt certification by ASQ since you favor them better.

Responses, advises and recommendations will be highly appreciated.

Hi Hao,

Thank you for your service! I think each of those schools would be excellent choices. You might ask the current professors how the syllabus stacks up to ASQ’s Green Belt Body of Knowledge to make sure. With the exception of the Villanova on-line program, I would bet that those programs would cover most, if not all of the topics. And that each of the professors would be happy to direct you to other resources to fill any gaps. And of course I link to all of those topics for additional material as well.

I except Villanova from the list as they have their own certification in mind and consciously do not align to the ASQ. It’s good training, but pricey. My rough estimate based on taking their Black Belt program is that their program is 80% aligned with the ASQ standard and I’ve found they use slightly different terminology.

I do stress that while name-brand programs are helpful, don’t discount local colleges if your schedule permits. I personally received amazing value from taking my Green Belt classes at a local community college. Having the ability to sit face to face and ask questions live in class was invaluable to me.

One program I have just heard about that you may be interested in is Onward to Opportunity a free, comprehensive career training, certification and employment program for transitioning service members, veterans and military families. I’ve been told they partner with Syracuse University to provide free Six Sigma Green Belt training.

Additionally, while I cannot give you specifics, a unit from the Army has purchased licenses for my study guide for their soldiers to use in preparation for their exams. Perhaps that’s an avenue we can explore as well.

Hi Ted,

I read your article and it was useful to me, today I attended a free seminar about six sigma green belt and the tutor mentioned that the top class, reputable, and well-known organizations for six sigma are ASQ and IASSC then there are other organizations come in the second row like as (six sigma institute) then eventually, there are others unknown come later.

I would like to ask you, did you hear about those 2 organizations (six sigma institute) and (CSSC council for six sigma certification)?
What do you think about them?

Hi Ted,

I have been researching both ASQ and IASSC for my Black Belt Certification. I am more inclined to do Lean Six Sigma over only Six Sigma. I have heard, this better fits to profiles like mine, who belong to financial organizations.

I could not find Lean Six Sigma Black Belt option only in IASSC. I checked ASQ website thoroughly but no certification on Lean. Could you suggest, if this is the case? and if I want to pursue Lean, there is no option other than IASSC?

Hi Jo,

The ASQ curriculum includes Lean. The branding aside, I believe the ASQ to be a superior option and the certification would indicate mastery of Lean principles.

Best, Ted.

Hi Ted,
My name is Najim and I am getting my green belt from University of Houston in December. I like to go for my black belt or Master black belt certification. Here are the troubles I am having:

1- What is the difference between Lean six sigma certificate and just six sigma certification

2-What is the difference between CSSC (Council for Six Sigma Certificate) and ASQ?

3- Which one of the above two would you recommend?

4- I know that CSSC offer Master Black belt certificate. Does ASQ offer master black belt certificate? OR are they just limited to black belt certificate

5- Can I go straight to Master Black belt certificate after getting my Green belt certificate from my university

6- I am getting my PMP certification in January. With PMP and green belt in hand, will ASQ allow me to apply for a Master black belt without having to take black belt first?

Thanks

Hi Najim,

I’m not familiar with CSSC so I’ll default to ASQ. I like ASQ as it’s the industry standard in Six Sigma certifications.

I believe you need a Black Belt to sit for the Master Black Belt – and a certain amount of years & projects to apply for the Master Black Belt.

BEst, Ted.

Hi I am looking for six sigma black belt with ASQ but I am wondering if I need to complete any project from company to get the certification ?

Hi

I have part of one black belt project and i have 6 years of industry experience, whether i am eligible to take ASQ black belt program??

sir, i was completed my B.Tech this year and i am very interested to work as a process improvement engineer in manufacturing companies . so i want to ask you that,at fresher level IASSC lean six sigma green belt certification is good choice for me or not to enter in this lean six sigma world. can you please give me some suggestion over this

Hi Ashwin, I think that a Six Sigma Green Belt is a great way to start out. I think the ASQ certification is held in better regard as it is more difficult, but starting with IASSC cannot hurt.

One suggestion that I have is to speak with other professionals who are currently in the job that you want. Find out what they did to get there. If there was a specific certification that they got, consider going for that one, too.

I’m researching a Six Sigma Green Belt cert. The hurdle I’m trying to overcome is the real world project. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position which will allow me to be involved in any significant real world projects. I’ve been looking at Management and Strategic Institution (MSI) and saw someone up above inquired about it but there was no much feedback. I’m looking at MSI as well because they do not require the project, are accredited and from my understanding follow the body of knowledge that IASSC has created.

For someone who does not have the option for a significant project, are there any reputable certifying bodies that you would recommend if MSI is not deemed suitable\desireable?

Has anyone used the program through 6sixgma.us? They seem to offer a lot of classroom training (and certification), but I have never used them before. Looks good on the surface, but was hoping for some feedback.

I haven’t, Russ. Hopefully there’s another person in the audience who has and can provide feedback.

4 questions I have when I evaluate a Six Sigma training program are:
1) Does it align with respected BOKs? ex ASQ If not, drop it.
2) Does it use a case study method to explain concepts and how they apply in real-life? (Not mandatory, but certainly useful.)
3) Have other people who have achieved success on your desired career path used this? (If not, is there any way you can duplicate what those people did who came before you?)
4) Do the black belt certifications require you to complete an actual project?
5) Are the training and certification two different things? If not, you run the risk of the system being a pay-for-certificate kind of process.

Note that I am not saying any program meets or doesn’t meet these criteria. This is what I evaluate as a mentor and as a hiring manager.

Hello Ted,

Thank you for all the info/comments on the Six Sigma-helps a lot.
I just finished my MS and have no work experience. I am planning to take the six sigma green belt to learn about quality and process improvement.
Can I still take up the ASQ six sigma green belt knowing that it requires work experience?
Could you please suggest online training material to help me prepare for the exam?

Thank You

Hi Bhoomi,

I applaud your efforts to further your education. Currently, the ASQ Green Belt requires work experience. Here’s what I found on their website.

Here are the requirements and exam specifics for a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt.
Work Experience

Six Sigma Green Belts are employees who spend some of their time on process improvement teams. They analyze and solve quality problems, and are involved with Six Sigma, lean or other quality improvement projects.

The Six Sigma Green Belt certification requires three years of work experience in one or more areas of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge.

Candidates must have worked in a full-time, paid role. Paid intern, co-op or any other course work cannot be applied toward the work experience requirement.
Education

Educational waivers are not granted.
Expectations

Here are the minimum expectations of a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt.

Operates in support of or under the supervision of a Six Sigma Black Belt.
Analyzes and solves quality problems.
Involved in quality improvement projects.
Participated in a project, but has not led a project.
Has at least three years of work experience.
Has ability to demonstrate their knowledge of Six Sigma tools and processes.

My suggestion is to focus on gaining the work experience. Then, while you are working, take a Six Sigma course. While ASQ is the gold standard primarily because of its work experience requirements, I’d suggest trying the IASSC exam to validate your knowledge along the way.

I hope this help.s

I was recently laid off and decided to pursue a Green or Black Belt Certification before getting back into the job market. I have informal experience, both leading and participating in 6 Sigma process improvement projects. I wasn’t working under anyone who was certified that I’m aware of. Will these projects qualify and what documentation will I need for the affidavit to take the Black Belt test?

I was recently laid off and have decided to pursue a Green or Black Belt Certification before getting back into the job market. I have experience, both as a leader and a participant in 6 Sigma process improvement projects. I wasn’t working under anyone with a certification that I’m aware of. Will these projects qualify and what documentation do I need for the affidavit before taking the Black Belt exam?

Hi John,

Thank you for sharing. I know that’s a hard time. I’m sure the certification will help.

I’m assuming you mean the ASQ affidavit for the Black Belt exam. (I’m unsure of any other body that requires this.) My understanding is that they prefer mentorship but reports vary. I would encourage you to contact ASQ directly. I think in either case the best thing that will help you is robust documentation of the projects. I recommend that everyone document their projects robustly (ex following a collection of tollgate meeting templates). This practice helps during the interview processes well beyond the affidavit submission.

Hope this helps. If not, let me know and I’ll see what else I can do.

Hi Bryan,

Unfortunately I do not have experience with Purdue’s offering. I respect the university, so I would be cautiously optimistic! My first question would be how the program aligns with the published ASQ and IASSC bodies of knowledge. Hope that helps!

Best, Ted.

Hi,

I have a Chemical Engineering educational background with 1.5 years of experience in the quality field as a Quality Engineer. I did take a Six Sigma Green Belt online course but I feel I need to strengthen my knowledge even further. Would it be advisable to pursue ASQ SSG Training and Certification right now. Is it necessary to have the 3 years experience requirement to sit for the ASQ SSG Green Belt exam

Another great resource is Linkedin Learning / Lynda.com where they have many Lean/Six Sigma courses to help you learn and prepare and you can get a certificate of completion (not an Certification though). One of the best trainers there is Dr. Richard Chua. He has many lean/six sigma classes on there. If you have a COUNTY (not local) library card you can login to the county library webpage (for me its the Los Angeles County Public Library) and then link to the Lynda.com courses for free instead of having to pay $30/mo which is a great resource. Definitely check it out. High quality courses for sure. They also have an entire learning path for Six Sigma Black Belt that goes thru MANY hours of video training which is a great way to learn and prepare for your cert. https://www.linkedin.com/learning/

Hi Ted! Great content here. I´m curious as to Why ASQ does offer a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Course but when it comes to certification it´s just 6S Black Belt (without “Lean”). Is there no Lean 6Sigma Certification Available or that you could suggest?

I graduated with my Bachelors if Science in Mechanical Engineering and I have been working for 9 months full time and prior to my current role I was interning. I have lead serval projects in both of my roles. I would like to pursue a black belt in six sigma and I was trying to find some where to achieve this while working full time. I came across MSI to get the certification. Would this be a credible place to obtain any kind of certification? Also, with such little work experience can I go straight into black belt or do I have to start at the basics?

Hi Danielle,

I don’t have first-hand knowledge of MSI but I do recognize the name.

My best advice would be to find someone in your industry who has the MSI certification and talk to them. Can you find anyone in your network or extended network and ask them how that certification has worked for them? Is there anyone in your company or industry who has a black belt and is enjoying a level of career success that you’d like to emulate? How did they get there?

In general, starting and achieving is better than sitting and waiting. I think too many of us get caught up in what is best rather than what can I do right now. If you can enroll in MSI and they’ll certify you, what is the downside? If you want or need a certification from a different organization later on you’ll be that much closer

Best, Ted.

The Army just recently launched a credentialing assistance program and I am looking into attempting achieving a green belt in six sigma. What would you suggest for specific route to identify a school or program to sign up for?

Great question, Greg.

My best advice is to think about why you want the credential. Likely its for employment based on either a specific job requirement or it is to follow in someone else’s path. Either way I would reach out to that resource and ask specifically what organization they recommend. Many hiring managers will stipulate a certain certifying body.(e.g. ASQ, IASSC, MSI, etc.)

The next step is to secure training. The certifying body will dictate which training you should take. (i.e. if you want to pass an ASQ certification, your best bet is to take ASQ training.)

Nice article.
But how about Council for Six Sigma Certification (CSSC)?
How valid and recognised their Certification is?

My only interaction with CSSC has been with people on this site and I haven’t been very impressed. I want to preface that this has been my opinion and my opinion can be changed with fact.

I do like what they say on their website. The instances I object to are when people take a course from a CSSC accredited instructor over a week, sit an exam on 3-5 days later, and then pass an exam but have demonstrated to me that they have little to no understanding of materials and certainly no practical experience applying them.

For CSSC to rise in my estimation I would need to see a large volume of strong candidates come out of their program as I have seen with ASQ, Moresteam, various colleges like Ohio State, Purdue, or companies like Motorola and GE.

I am not sure this is accurate.

CSSC has accreditation requirements for its training providers. For example, it states on their website that 95 hours are the minimum requirement for a Black Belt training program and they are expected to have some type of project requirement (https://www.sixsigmacouncil.org/six-sigma-principles-accreditation-standards/). Dozens of universities are accredited by them (including Purdue).

Meanwhile, last I checked IASSC has zero project requirement. When I look at IASSC’s directory of training providers in North America, the first 2 are actually based out of India! Good grief.

ASQ simply has you complete a project waiver (easily forged) in addition to their open-book exam. Not exactly a rigid standard either.

I am afraid that I must also challenge your above notion that ASQ is the six sigma “standard”. ASQ is often mistaken as the standard for Six Sigma because they had a large market in CQM. In fact, it appears that ASQ only started offering a Six Sigma Master Black Belt in 2010 and a Yellow Belt in 2015 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Society_for_Quality).

Luckily, I feel that this view has been steadily dwindling as the older CQM people begin to retire and more universities now offer Six Sigma.

I agree that demonstrable skills are important, however the food court at my local mall is also filled with college-graduates that had their skills/understanding “vouched for” by established major universities.

KM,

You don’t think my opinion is accurate? OK. I can understand that. I haven’t provided data to back up my assertion.

The reason for not publishing the dozens of emails I have boils down to not wishing to engage in legal battles of any kind.

I stand by the fact that I’ve yet to see an ASQ certified Black Belt who wasn’t strong. I’m sure they exist. But at the same time ASQ has world class conferences and publications where members regularly demonstrate excellence. I have no business relationship with ASQ. That’s simply how I feel.

I have seen plenty of candidates from other organizations that are not strong.

I do stand by my statement “For CSSC to rise in my estimation I would need to see a large volume of strong candidates come out of their program”

Looking at your points I don’t see an argument for how CSSC has raised the bar compared to any other organization.

I see that you state that affidavits may be faked. I suppose so but I’m going to assume a high level of difficulty there given the reviews and follow up questions that ASQ asks. Given that we both agree that demonstrable skills are important, how does CSSC go beyond the litany of providers who hand out certifications for training $? It looks like they follow the same method of project validation but instead of an impartial 3rd party they leave it to the instructor (who is paid by the student) to sort out. The economics of incentives being what they are, I’d prefer the ASQ model personally.

Finally, while I have no love of IASSC – simply don’t care either way – I don’t understand your point about India. Could you elaborate?

I didn’t know anything about them before you posted the link. That doesn’t mean anything, but this is what I’ve found.

1) The follow a popular model of certifying other instructors to be able to certify their students. I’m generally not a big fan of that model. I personally get uncomfortable when I see trainers certifying.

2) They publish a public Body of Knowledge (https://www.icbcip.org/lean-six-sigma-green-belt-bok and https://www.icbcip.org/lean-six-sigma-black-belt-bok and https://www.icbcip.org/lean-six-sigma-master-black-belt-bk) – that’s a plus.
It doesn’t look terribly difficult – especially the Black Belt. For instance what they list as a necessary for a Master Black Belt is roughly on par for what I see other orgs require of a black belt. But since they do not publish a practice exam, I’m not sure – I could be off base.

3) It’s concerning to me that Black Belts and Master Black Belts don’t need to have a peer reviewed portfolio of projects. This means it’s possible for an enterprising high school student to simply take the exam and pass it and then be able to call themselves a Master Black Belt having never actually been employed in a job. That’s disconcerting to me.

The ultimate proof is to find people who have gone through the certification. I would welcome their takes on this organization.

Best, Ted.

Do you have any insight into the training provided by Lean Six Sigma Institute? I like their training model and they seem to be highly recognized globally. They informed me they used to be accredited by ASQ, but no longer are as they are their own independent entity now. They are not accredited with IASSC. Any thoughts / comments / concerns?

Good morning,

I am very interested in taking the Lean Six Sigma certification/training program. I have a BA in Sociology, however I have no experience in being a part of any projects or working with certified/accredited Lean Six Sigma belt holders. Can I still qualify to take the program? I work in health care .

Thanks for your assistance.

Hi Jamie,

Yes, you would still qualify for many of the lean six sigma programs out there.

I would select one with in-depth training tightly aligned to a specific industry BOK like ASQ. I would suggest starting at the green belt level.

Best, Ted.

Hi Robert,

I’m an industrial engineer with 9 years in experience in logistics/operations (freight transportation company), I’m planning to study a master degree in logistics and supply chain management at FIU, but also I have read about the 6sigma Certifications, I have been living in the US since a year and a half ago, I’m really focusing on growing as a professional here in the US, as you know I had to start all over again from cero.

what do you recommend me based on what I have said? Do I have to start from the yellow belt first before I applied to study the green belt?

Sorry if I’m taking your time, I’m looking for any advice.

thanks,
Jose Delgado

Hi Jose,

Thank you for the comment. I would take a look at a green belt certification. There is no pre-requisite for a yellow belt. And a green belt will complement your supply chain management studies.

Best, Ted

Ted, I recently invested in some SixSigma courses on Udemy during a huge sale (got over $1000 worth of courses for about $150) and they are offered through AIGPE. I couldn’t easily find anyone else mention them above, could you advise if pursuing certification through this medium is worth it? I’m newly into this part of the manufacturing sector, most of my experience is in spare parts inventory and purchasing, but I never had the chance to engage with any of this material. Thanks!

In a vacuum I think any certification is better than no certification. And you can always double up on certifications (I did both Villanova and ASQ BBs).

Ultimately you want to find a career avatar – someone who is enjoying the kind of career you want and do what they did. What roles did they take? What certifications did they ear? What organizations and communities did they join and participate in?

You won’t replicate their results, but you’ll be directionally on the right track. If you can find a career avatar that has leveraged AIGPE certification, then that’s great! If not, then you have your answer.

I’ve been detailing the paths of several people who have recently passed their Six Sigma certifications here if this helps.

Best, Ted.

I appreciate your quick response, Ted. This is helpful. It’d be more helpful if I knew quite what I actually had planned moving forward. I want to get better at where I am now, but can’t say for sure that I have a trajectory planned.

Then again, that’s a problem for me to figure out!

Perhaps I should just focus on the learning, now, worry about the details later.

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