What is the Best Six Sigma Certification?

One question that we often hear is ‘What is the “best” Six Sigma certification?’  This question is usually broken down into two topics.  Topic one is who you get your certification through.  Topic two is what belt level you should get.

The answer generally comes down to how you plan on using your new certification.  Lets take  a moment to discuss both topics.

Because Six Sigma doesn’t have a single accrediting body for certification purposes, there are many organizations that offer Six Sigma certification.  This is a good thing, since competition in the market place forces companies to provide both quality training and competitive pricing.  There are many options for you to pick from, both in-class options as well as online options.

You should start your search by asking yourself this question, “Why do I want a Six Sigma certification?”  The answers below should help guide you in determining where to get your certification.

Working Within Six Sigma Full Time:
For someone looking to work with Six Sigma methodology on a full-time basis, having an extensive skillset will be critical.  It takes many years of working within quality improvement projects to become proficient in using all of the tools of the trade.  Because of this, it is usually better to focus on the training aspect, rather than the certification aspect.  Taking an in-depth training course will help prepare you to use the tools and understand the complex methodologies required to work in Six Sigma full time.

Working Within Six Sigma Part Time or Enhancing your Resumé:
If you’re looking to improve your skillset or enhance your CV with a new certification, then going through an advanced training program may not be the most cost-effective option.  An online certification program, like the one offered by MSI, may meet your needs.  MSI provides all of the study material you’ll need to prepare for the certification exam.  The material is self-paced, so you can move at whatever speed is comfortable for you.  You can take the exam as soon as you feel you have a solid understanding of the Six Sigma fundamentals.

When selecting a company to get your certification through, you should review the company in detail.  Are they recognized by any professional organizations?  The Management and Strategy Institute has a great article that you can read which gives more information on this subject.

The second topic is which belt-level you should acquire.  This depends partially on what you are trying to achieve with your certification.  A Six Sigma Black Belt is the “project manager” or leader of a Six Sigma team.  If you are looking to work in a leadership role, or have responsibilities for “quality control” then the Black belt is usually the appropriate level.  In Six Sigma, you do not need to progress through the belts, you can start at whichever level you’re most interested in.  It is very common to only hold one belt-level in Six Sigma since most people only certify at the level they intend to work at.

If you’re not looking for a leadership role, then the Yellow or Green Belt is a great certification to have.  These certification levels prepare you to work under the direction of a Six Sigma Black belt and add valuable process improvement skills to your personal skillset and resumé.