How long does it take to get a Six Sigma Green Belt?

woman studying six sigma at computer

Studying for Six Sigma Green Belt

The Green Belt is considered the engine of a Six Sigma project.  The role of the Green Belt is to “dig into the numbers” and analyze the existing business processes for improvement opportunities.  To accomplish this successfully, a Green belt needs to understand the tools used to analyze and improve existing processes, then control them.  Hence, they stay in alignment with the adjustments made during the project.

Studying for the Six Sigma Green Belt exam is something you should take seriously, and be prepared to spend many hours learning the role.  To be successful, they will need to study all the tools used in a project.  Contrary to belief, you typically aren’t required to memorize all these tools since you’ll use guides during projects.  However, you need to know how to use the tools, which is why studying them is so important.

The time it takes to study for the Six Sigma Green Belt certification can vary depending on several factors.

How long does it take to study for Green Belt Six Sigma?

The amount of time you spend studying will depend on how quickly you grasp the concepts associated with the DMAIC process.  Green Belts are involved in each stage of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control).  They should have a solid understanding of the tools and techniques used during a project.

According to the Management and Strategy Institute, most people spend two to four months studying for the Green Belt exam.  This breaks down between 95 and 195 hours, depending on the person’s education level and experience.

Someone with a strong understanding of business processes, such as an MBA, may reduce their study times since they are already familiar with many project elements.

Someone with limited knowledge of process improvement may take longer to study for Green Belt Six Sigma exams.  They may take as long as a year to prepare.

Ultimately, how hard it is to get your Six Sigma certification will depend on how well you’ve prepared and studied the material.

What do I need to Study for the Six Sigma Green Belt?

Define Stage:

For this stage, you should understand how to develop the project name and purpose, complete the project charter, develop a high-level process map, identify customers and requirements critical to quality, align goals with business initiatives, and determine the projected return on investment.

Measure Stage:

The use of measurement and statistics is a fundamental requirement of Six Sigma at the Green belt level.  You’ll need to understand how to develop a detailed process-level map for the current state of the business process.  You’ll also need to study process analysis tools like value stream maps, process maps, flowcharts, procedures, work instructions, spaghetti diagrams, circle diagrams, etc.

Analyze Stage:

To prepare for this stage, you’ll want to study removing non-value-added items, especially if you’re studying for Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.  Lean focuses heavily on waste removal from processes.

Improve Stage:

Green Belt’s should understand tools like brainstorming and idea generation, prioritization matrix, and Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA).

Control Stage:

In this final stage, you’ll want to study subjects like mistake-proofing and statistical process control.  You’ll also want to understand Control Plans and the project closure process.

How long do you have to take the Six Sigma Green Belt Exam?

Exam times vary by the certification body.  Management and Strategy Institute allots two hours to complete the Green Belt exam.  The number of questions and the difficulty of those questions will also play a role in the time allotment.  Some exams will have fewer questions, but make those questions difficult.

MSI offers a free Six Sigma Green Belt practice exam if you’d like to test your existing knowledge.  This free exam can also help you determine any weak spots in your current knowledge, giving you an idea of the areas you should study more.