Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about MSI and our certification programs.

Thank you for considering the Management and Strategy Institute for your next certification.  Below are the answers to the many frequently asked questions we receive.  You can also watch the short video to hear some additional information.

The first group of questions covers general questions about MSI and our certification programs.  The second group of questions focuses specifically on Six Sigma questions since these are one of the most requested topics.

Have additional questions now answered here?  Feel free to contact us using our Contact Form and we’ll get back to you quickly.  If you’re a corporate customer, be sure to use our Corporate Sales contact page.

The Management and Strategy Institute holds the following private-industry accreditation’s & industry recognition:

  –  Developer of the MSI Six Sigma Body of Knowledge
  –  Founding member of the Process Improvement Credentialing Standards (PICS)
  –  CPD Accredited Organization.
  –  A+ BBB Accredited Business
  –  International Association of Coaches, Therapists & Mentors (IACTM)
  –  Approved by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.
  –  VA approved for our Six Sigma Black Belt Professional (SSBBP) certification.
  –  Trustpilot certified business
  –  Learn more – Accreditation Information.

If you do not pass the exam, you are given 2 additional attempts to pass the exam at no extra cost.  There is a 24/hour waiting period between retakes, so that you can study areas you weren’t strong in.

No, MSI does not provide instructor support. MSI programs are designed for people who enjoy a self-study learning process. The study material included with each certification is designed to prepare you for the certification exam. To see if you like MSI’s program style, you can try several of our programs for free, before you decide to pay for a certification program. This will give you a good understanding of how our programs look and feel. Find our free programs here:

The Management and Strategy Institute issues a high-quality digital certificate that is immediately available for download upon completion of their certification program. These professional digital certificates can be easily added to social media profiles, allowing users to showcase their achievements and enhance their professional online presence. Additionally, the certificates can be printed for display at home or in the office, serving as a constant reminder of one’s dedication and accomplishments. Furthermore, they can be presented to employers as proof of certification, demonstrating a commitment to professional development and competence in the field.

Yes, all certifications purchased directly on have the certification ID# entered into our verification database at  If an employer has your ID#, they can verify the certification.  It take 48-72 hours to update the database after you’ve completed your certification exam.  Want to see a sample?  Use ID#: abc010120
NOTE:  This applies to paid certifications only, purchased directly on  Free certifications or certifications purchased with a voucher require an additional fee.

Yes, all certifications purchased directly on include digital badges.  They are accessed through the verification portal.  You can download the digital badge and link it directly to your verification data.
NOTE:  This applies to paid certifications only, purchased directly on  Free certifications or certifications purchased with a voucher require an additional fee.

Most MSI certifications do not have prerequisites.  Please read the descriptions of each certification which will list any prerequisites.

Upon passing of the MSI exam, the credential is issued as a certification for a period of 3-years. After 3-years, the certification holder must renew the certification.  MSI provides a paid and free version of its certification renewal process.  You may select either option below:

  –  Paid Renewal option:  (Register Here)
      – $29.95.  Includes updated professional certificate & transcripts.
      – Updated certification data in verification database.
      – Expedited processing.

   – Free Renewal option:  (Register Here)
      – Free.  Database update only, no updated paperwork or certificates.
      – Processing time of 7-10 days.

If credential is not renewed, the certification becomes a lifetime certificate. At that point, the credential holder may no longer use the associated post-nominals after their name. Certifications can be renewed at any time after they have expired by completing the required renewal packet.  

All MSI certifications include free study material with the purchase of your certification.  All study material is accessed online and is available immediately after signing up for an exam.

No, you may use whatever training & study material you’d like to help you prepare for the MSI certification exam.  MSI includes free training material with all certification purchases as a benefit to our members, but you are not required to use it.  We have additional books and programs we recommend in the Syllabus of each program if you’d like some additional material or training options.

You have 1-year to access the study material and complete the exam.

The training courses are completely self-paced, so the time to complete and fully comprehend will vary with every individual.  On average, most people spend 2 to 4 weeks (15 – 30 hours) reviewing the study material before attempting the exam.  This is just the average, and you may move faster or slower to fit your comfort level.  We have some members who take an entire year to complete a program, and others who complete it in 48 hours.  It really just depends on how quickly you feel confident to take the exam.

No, MSI does not include jokes, funny examples, unneeded pictures, or anything else that distracts from your training on the core learning elements. These courses are designed for adults who are looking to enhance their resume, we know how busy you are.  This is why we are able to keep many of our training courses fairly short, while still providing a high level of training.

No, the word “online” does not appear on the certificate or employer verification letter. Furthermore, the verification letter directs employers to our website so they can verify your certificate. The .ORG version of our website does not mention the words online or the cost of the training courses.

No, all training material is included in your purchase.  The material included is everything that you’ll need to study for and pass the certification test.  There are some books that we recommend in the course syllabus that you can purchase to further study a subject, but they are not required.  

This certification exam is timed, the limit is determined by the specific exam.  The exam is completed online from home or work.  You may take the exam as soon as you are ready, it does not need to be scheduled in advance.  All questions are multiple choice.  The exam does not require a proctor.  Exam passing grade is 65% to 75%, depending on the certification.

Yes, MSI is proud of the training courses we sell.  So much so, that if you are unhappy with your purchase within the first 30 days (but before you take the certification test) we will issue you a full refund.  Please see our ethics and privacy policy HERE.

  • NOTE:  If you registered for one of our courses using a voucher you purchased from another website, you will need to contact that website to request a refund.  That company may have a different refund policy.  Unfortunately we can not assist with refunds for vouchers.

Yes, MSI certifications show employers that you are actively working to improve yourself and your business knowledge.  In this difficult economy, having a certification on your resumé could be the key to getting that next job or promotion. 

Currently all MSI customer service is provided through email at  We are in the office from 9am to 5pm Eastern timezone.

Depending on your needs, our certifications may be a great choice for you!  Here is a great article to help you decide: MSI Certification.
Here’s the Top 10 reasons we think you should select MSI for your certification.

Yes!  You can register for our FREE Six Sigma White Belt program.  This program is designed to take about 20 minutes to complete and will give you a good idea of the “look and feel” of our training material and a certification test.

For security and record retention reasons, you can not manually change your email address or name on your account.  To change your name or email, please contact us via the contact form to request a change.  Note regarding name changes – Minor name changes such as a spelling mistake or adding a middle initial can be made without documentation.  More extensive name changes, such as changing of a last name may require documentation to substantiate the change.  This is to protect the integrity of your certification.

MSI offers discounts to select colleges & universities only. 

College Discount Program:

The Management and Strategy Institute offers students from the following universities a discount on our certification programs. You must use your student email address to register for an account to receive the discount. Discounts are subject to change or be removed at any time. Universities should link to their corresponding page to share the discount with their students:

The Management and Strategy Institute provides the following university students a discount to assist students with professional development opportunities. A college being listed on this page is not an endorsement by Management and Strategy Institute. Likewise, MSI has not been endorsed by these organizations and all trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Important rules:

  • You MUST use your student email address to register for an account to receive the discount.
  • No discounts can be issued retroactively.
    College Student Discounts

MSI provides a discount on all MSI certification programs to students of the following colleges. 

Western Governors University

University of Phoenix

Southern New Hampshire University

University of Washington

Yes, MSI certifications are recognized by individuals and companies all over the world.  In fact, over 100,000 people are now a member or alumni of an MSI program.  MSI works to follow industry standards, as well as set industry standards, so we are very active in the business community.  Many educational institutions use MSI certification programs in their schools.  We also work with companies in almost every industry, from aerospace to healthcare.

This certification demonstrates that the holder has proficient knowledge in the Six Sigma methodology.  Six Sigma has different levels, or belts, to rank someone’s knowledge. These levels should be thought of as “job functions,” not the level to which someone works in their organization.  To become certified, you must first select the organization you want to be certified through. There is no right or wrong answer to this question; you should research several different organizations and select the one that best fits your needs and budget.  There is no singular governing body for Six Sigma, whichever company you register with, they are typically the company that certifies you.  Each company sets the standard by which they certify someone.  Most require the passing of a comprehensive certification exam to measure your fundamental understanding of the subject. Some may also require a project. This is completely dependent on the organization.

Possibly, it will depend on several factors. A Six Sigma certification lets employers know you have an understanding of continual process improvement. Most organizations appreciate individuals who have this skill set, even if the organization itself does not practice the Six Sigma methodology. Employers also look for people who actively practice self-improvement. When you take the initiative to get a certification on your own, it lets employers know you take personal development seriously and you are actively improving your skills. Getting your six sigma certification is usually the first step of your journey, not the last. A lack of practical experience applying the methodology in the real work could limit the value of the certification for some organizations and jobs. Like any job function, experience is always important.

This depends on which company you get certified through.  Each Six Sigma certification body has its own pricing and certification requirements.  The average cost for the Black Belt certification is between $250 & $500 for most certification companies.  The average cost for the Green Belt certification is between $150 & $400.  The average cost for the Yellow Belt certification is between $99 & $395.  This does not include the cost of training, which could be substantially more depending on the type of training you select.  You should research several different certification companies and select the organization that best fits your needs and budget.

Six Sigma Questions:

The “Six Sigma” aspect of both Belt programs is exactly the same. The only difference is that the Lean Belt focuses a little more on Lean Principles. It looks at “Removing waste from a manufacturing or production cycle”. Generally speaking, the three industries that use Lean the most are Manufacturing, Logistics, and Healthcare.

No, we recommend that you start with the program you are most interested in. The training material includes the material for the lower belts. For example. The Black Belt includes all of the training material for the Yellow and Green Belts and you will learn that information first.  In Six Sigma, it is common to only be certified in the level you plan to work at.

No, you are only taking the Black Belt exam and you will only receive the Black Belt certification.

MSI offers our Six Sigma Green and Black Belts in four specialty area’s:  HealthcareHuman ResourcesInformation Technology & Government.
You may take one of these specialty Six Sigma programs, or our standard Six Sigma belt certifications.
Generally speaking, if you work in one of those specialty areas, and you know you’ll be staying within that career field we recommend you take the specialty program.  If you think you may be switching careers, or want an industry neutral Six Sigma certification, then we recommend you take the standard certification.

Our certifications are designed to test someone’s fundamental knowledge of Six Sigma procedures, not the practical application of Six Sigma within a project. Typically most projects are done on-the-job, therefore most people do not have access to a project. Our certification is based strictly on the ability to pass the certification exam. 

A Black Belt is someone who leads a Six Sigma project. A Master Black Belt usually oversees multiple Black Belts at the same time, with each Black Belt working on a separate project.  Often times, Master Black Belts are also in charge of six sigma training.

The Management and Strategy Institute is a leader within the Six Sigma industry.  Rather than simply “following” a set standard, MSI has created an industry standard through the MSI Six Sigma Body of Knowledge program.

Yes, MSI offers our “Navigating Lean Six Sigma” for those who would like to order a book to assist with their studies.  This pocket guide not only helps prepare you for the exam, but also makes the perfect reference book for future use.  Remember, these books are not required since digital study material is included for free with your purchase.

You can visit our online Six Sigma resource center which includes information and video’s on Six Sigma, DMAIC and other related quality improvement processes.