Six Sigma Certification Eligibility

Today we’re going to discuss six sigma certification eligibility requirements and what you need to know before selecting a certification provider.

Your six sigma certification eligibility will depend heavily on the company you decide to get certified through.  Since there is no singular certification body for Six Sigma, you have a large selection of different companies to choose from.  Some people choose to get certified through a college or university, some will get certified through their employer, while others will go through a private certification body.  The choice is entirely up to you.

Let’s look at each option individually to help bring the eligibility requirements into focus:



College / University

Eligibility can vary widely between colleges but in general you can expect that they will require you to have an existing bachelor’s degree, or currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the college.  Since Universities cater to a younger audience, many do not have a project requirement.  You should be able to enroll in the program and receive either a certification or master certificate in Six Sigma.

Through Your Employer

One of the most common ways to get a Six Sigma certification is through your employer. This, of course, assumes your employer offers a certification program. Many companies that have an existing process improvement project actively in process will offer their employees the opportunity to get certified. They may have eligibility requirements such as your job function (manager or above) or length of time with the company. It’s unlikely that they would have a completed project requirement, but they may require you to work on any existing projects that are currently being done with the company..

Private Certification Body

Certification organizations are where you’re going to find the widest variety of six sigma certification eligibility requirements because each company sets the standard to which they certify someone.  Some companies will base their certification strictly on your ability to pass a certification exam.  Others have many requirements such a having a degree, proof of completed projects, etc.

The Management and Strategy Institute sets its standard through the ‘Six Sigma Quality Standards SSQS’ initiative.  MSI certifications are based on the ability to prove your fundamental understanding of Six Sigma principles by passing a timed certification exam.  MSI specifically avoids the project requirement because SSQS standards dictate that “knowledge” and “experience” are two different things.  A certification demonstrates knowledge, not practical application of skills within a project.  MSI offers project simulators separately for members who would like to demonstrate practical application of skill.

Other certification bodies have different requirements.  Many require a project because in their view you should have training and experience before getting certified.  There is nothing wrong with this thought-process and requirement, and companies are free to require it if that is what their standards dictate.
Some organizations go even further by requiring a bachelor’s degree, usually in business management, statistics, or another relevant field.  The reasoning is that Six Sigma is a business process and therefore you should have a degree in business to ensure you have the base-knowledge required for Six Sigma.

Do Your Research

When you’re ready to get your Six Sigma certification, the key will be to do your research.  There are many certification companies available to choose from.  Think about how you plan to use your certification and exactly why you want to get it.  Is it just to help build your resume or do you plan to work full time with Six Sigma principles?  Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide which certification body is best for you.