Six Sigma Certification

What is Six Sigma Certification?

Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology. It is a disciplined, data-driven approach for eliminating defects and waste from a process. Six Sigma Certification is designed to prove your proficiency in the fundamentals of this process improvement technique.

To gain Six Sigma certification online, you must pass an exam that tests your understanding of the concepts.  Upon passing the exam, updated for 2024, you’ll be certified directly by the Management and Strategy Institute, and you’ll be authorized to use the professional designation on your resumé.

MSI Certification courses include all learning material and access to the certification exam at the end of the training.  Our online training material is designed specifically to help prepare you for the certification exam.

In the world of business, staying ahead of the norm means constantly learning and improving your knowledge and skills. Professional certifications are an important benchmark employers use to gauge the quality of a candidate.

Most businesses are looking for the very best talent, striving to secure the best positions and job security.  Make sure YOUR resumé rises to the top by getting your certification online today.

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Recent Six Sigma Articles

Understanding the Six Sigma Belt Levels

When getting Six Sigma certified, there are different levels, or belts, that are usually discussed.  A Six Sigma belt level is defined by the role that someone fulfills within a Six Sigma project.  The three most common belts are Yellow, Green, and Black Belts.  Each belt level plays an essential role in the Six Sigma project.  You should think of the Six Sigma Belts as project roles, not as “levels” of education.  Each Six Sigma belt plays a specific role and completes specific tasks when working on a project.

Six Sigma White Belt

A Six Sigma White Belt is an entry-level certification in the Six Sigma methodology. White Belts are typically individuals who have received basic training and awareness about Six Sigma principles but do not actively lead or participate in Six Sigma projects. They support Green Belts and Black Belts in their projects by understanding fundamental concepts, terminology, and problem-solving methods used in Six Sigma, enabling them to contribute to process improvement efforts within their organization.

All members of an organization should be certified as a White Belt since it explains the overall concepts of process improvement.  Certifying your team as White Belt’s ensures the entire organization understands the goals and benefits of an improvement project.

Is the Lean Six Sigma White Belt right for me?

MSI encourages anyone interested in learning about Six Sigma to obtain their Lean Six Sigma White Belt.  Anyone within your organization who may be affected by a Six Sigma project should be certified at this level.  The Management and Strategy Institute offers this belt-level for free.

What is the typical length of training for the White Belt?

The White Belt is an entry level certification.  The typical length of training is 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Six Sigma Yellow Belt

A Six Sigma Yellow Belt is a mid-level certification in the Six Sigma methodology. Yellow Belts have received training and possess a moderate understanding of Six Sigma principles, tools, and techniques. They typically work on smaller process improvement projects within their organization, supporting the more advanced Green Belts and Black Belts.

Yellow Belts play a valuable role in collecting data, participating in problem-solving activities, and implementing improvements, making them important contributors to the overall Six Sigma efforts while not serving as full-time project leaders.  The Six Sigma Yellow Belt is typically selected because they are considered a “subject matter expert” in their regular job-role and an expert in a particular aspect of a process being improved.

Is the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt right for me?

You should obtain your Six Sigma Yellow Belt if your company is initiating a Six Sigma project and your department may be affected.  If you are knowledgeable in your current work environment, you may be selected as a subject matter expert for the Six Sigma project.  If you are an individual looking to get certified on your own, independent of your organization, the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt is an excellent way to demonstate that you have process improvement skills to a potential employer.

What is the typical length of training for the Yellow Belt?

The typical training time required to study for the Yellow Belt certification is 25-45 hours (1 to 3 weeks).

Six Sigma Green Belt

A Six Sigma Green Belt is a significant certification in the Six Sigma methodology. Green Belts are highly trained individuals who can lead and manage process improvement projects within their organization. They possess a deep understanding of Six Sigma principles, statistical analysis, and a variety of tools and methods for problem-solving and process optimization.

Green Belts work alongside Black Belts, supporting and often leading smaller-scale projects, and they play a crucial role in improving processes, reducing defects, and increasing overall operational efficiency, helping organizations achieve their quality and performance goals.  The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) role adds the additional skill of waste reduction.  This is why Lean Six Sigma is so popular in industries like manufacturing and healthcare.

Is the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt right for me?

You should obtain your Six Sigma Green Belt if you will be working directly on a Six Sigma project for your organization.  The Green Belt level works under the direction of a Black Belt.  If you are looking to get certified independently of an organization, then the Green Belt level is an excellent option for someone looking to gain a solid understanding of Six Sigma principles.

What is the typical length of training for the Green Belt?

The average completion time for studying the Green Belt training material is 45-95 hours (1-3 months).  The training material is self-paced so you’re able to move at a speed that is comfortable for you.

Six Sigma Black Belt

A Six Sigma Black Belt is an advanced certification in the Six Sigma methodology. Black Belts are highly skilled professionals who are expertly trained in Six Sigma principles, statistical analysis, and a wide range of problem-solving tools and techniques.

They have the capability to lead and manage complex process improvement projects within an organization, working independently or in coordination with other Black Belts, Green Belts, and leadership. Black Belts are instrumental in driving significant improvements, cost reduction, and overall performance enhancement, making them key contributors to an organization’s strategic goals and continuous improvement efforts.

Is the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt right for me?

If you are a project manager, or if you’ll be leading a Six Sigma project for your organization you should obtain your Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.  If you are looking to get certified independently of an organization, then the Six Sigma Black Belt is an excellent option for anyone who has a leadership position within their organization.  It is also the preferred option if you are seeking management-level positions, work in project management, or hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a university.

What is the typical length of training for the Black Belt Belt?

The Black Belt average study time is 2-4 months (95-195 hours).  Perspective Black Belt’s should take their time studying the included training material to ensure they have a solid understanding of all Six Sigma methods.  All MSI training programs are self-paced, so individuals with experience, or those who can comprehend the material quickly, can move faster if desired.

Six Sigma Master Black Belt

A Six Sigma Master Black Belt is the highest level of certification and expertise in the Six Sigma methodology. Master Black Belts are seasoned professionals who have attained a deep understanding of Six Sigma principles, advanced statistical methods, and a wide array of tools and techniques. They are typically responsible for coaching and mentoring Black Belts, Green Belts, and other team members, and they play a pivotal role in shaping the Six Sigma strategy and culture within an organization.

Master Black Belts often work on the most complex and critical improvement initiatives, ensuring that projects align with the organization’s strategic objectives and that the highest standards of quality and efficiency are achieved. Their leadership and knowledge make them invaluable assets in driving continuous improvement and long-term success.  A Master Black belt isn’t required on every project but is often used during large, complex projects.

Is the Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt right for me?

The Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt level is generally reserved for people who already hold a Black Belt certification and have many years of experience leading Six Sigma Projects.  People often think that a Master Black Belt is a higher-level than a Black Belt, but this is not really true.  The Master Black Belt typically performs a few different functions than the Black belt, but that is primarily due to experience.

Master Black Belts provide training and support to Black Belts and Green Belts.  They may also lead multiple projects simultaneously.  They typically have strong analytical and statistical skills and have many years of experience leading projects at the Black Belt level.  You should not attempt the Master Black Belt certification unless you meet the following two criteria:

  • You are a certified Black Belt from MSI or another organization.
  • You have at least three years of experience leading process improvement projects, specifically a minimum of 3 Six Sigma projects at the Black Belt level.

Six Sigma Champion

A Six Sigma Champion is a senior-level executive or manager within an organization who is responsible for promoting and supporting the implementation of Six Sigma principles and methodologies. Champions play a critical role in setting the strategic direction for Six Sigma initiatives, aligning them with the organization’s overall goals, and providing the necessary resources and support for successful project execution.

They act as advocates for Six Sigma, ensure that teams have the required support and buy-in from leadership, and help remove any organizational obstacles that may hinder the success of process improvement projects. Champions are vital in driving a culture of continuous improvement and quality throughout the organization and are instrumental in achieving long-term success and sustainable results in Six Sigma implementations.

Is the Six Sigma Champion right for me?

If you’ve been tasked to launch a process improvement effort within your organization and are in a senior leadership position, then the Six Sigma Champion certification is appropriate.  If you are looking to get certified independently of an organization, then the Champion is a great option for those in leadership positions and business owners.

Which certification should I get?

You do not need to get certified in all of the belt levels.  Most people only get Six Sigma certified in the belt level that they’ll be working in.  When you register for a Six Sigma certification through the Management and Strategy Institute there are no prerequisites.  The higher-level belts include all of the lower-level training material.  For example, if you register for our Six Sigma Black Belt Professional certification, it includes all of the Yellow and Green belt training material and you will learn that material first, before moving on to the Black Belt material.

Having a Six Sigma Certification on your resume shows employers that you have a strong understanding of quality and process improvement methods.  In today’s corporate environment, employers are looking for employees who can fill multiple roles precisely.  The MSI Six Sigma Body of Knowledge is in direct alignment with these goals, which is why quality improvement-based certifications are among some of the most sought-after certifications in business today.

Here are 10 reasons to consider getting your six sigma certification:

  1. Six Sigma certification demonstrates to employers and clients that you have a thorough understanding of the methodology and can apply it effectively to improve business processes.

  2. It can lead to career advancement opportunities, such as becoming a Six Sigma project leader or manager.

  3. The skills and knowledge gained through Six Sigma certification are highly transferable and can be applied to many industries, making it a valuable asset for job seekers.

  4. Six Sigma can help individuals and organizations save time and money by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies in processes, reducing defects, and improving overall quality.

  5. Six Sigma certification can help improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills.

  6. It can help you to develop a data-driven mindset, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s business environment.

  7. Six Sigma certification can increase job security, as companies always look for individuals who can help them improve their bottom line.

  8. Many organizations require Six Sigma certification for certain roles, such as project management or process improvement.

  9. Six Sigma can give you a competitive edge in the job market, as it is a widely recognized and respected certification.

  10. Understanding and using Six Sigma can help your organization become more successful and sustainable in the long run.

Tools Used in Six Sigma

Six Sigma practitioners rely on a variety of tools and techniques. Here are some of the essential tools commonly used during a Six Sigma project.  In a project, the selection and application of these tools are tailored to the specific needs and complexities of the process being improved.

The goal is to systematically identify and eliminate sources of variation, reduce defects, enhance quality, and ultimately achieve substantial performance improvements. When wielded effectively, these tools empower organizations to deliver better products and services while driving operational excellence.  Here is an example of just some of the tools used:

DMAIC Methodology:

DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. The structured framework guides Six Sigma projects from inception to completion. Each phase has its set of tools and activities to ensure a systematic approach to problem-solving.

Equation y = f(x):

The equation y = f(x) represents a functional relationship between a dependent variable (y) and one or more independent variables (x). In mathematical terms, it describes how changes in the independent variables (x) lead to changes in the dependent variable (y).

Root Cause Analysis:

Techniques like the 5 Whys and Fishbone (Ishikawa) diagrams help teams delve into the underlying causes of problems to address them at their source rather than merely treating symptoms.

Process Capability Analysis:

This tool assesses whether a process is capable of meeting customer requirements. Process capability indices like Cp, Cpk, Pp, and Ppk help quantify a process’s performance relative to its specifications.

Lean Principles:

Six Sigma often integrates Lean methodologies to eliminate waste and streamline processes. Lean tools like 5S, kanban, and value stream mapping complement Six Sigma’s data-driven approach.


Tollgates are critical checkpoints that help ensure the project is on track and delivering the desired results.  Tollgates are milestones used to assess the project’s progress and determine whether it is meeting its objectives.

Principle of Determinism

The principle of determinism emphasizes the belief that processes can be understood, controlled, and improved through the rigorous application of data-driven analysis and statistical techniques. It posits that variations and defects within a process have identifiable and quantifiable causes, which, if systematically addressed, can lead to predictable and consistent outcomes. This principle underscores the importance of collecting and analyzing data to identify root causes of issues, allowing organizations to make informed decisions and implement targeted improvements.

Gage R&R - Gage Repeatability and Reproducibility

Gage R&R is a crucial statistical method used to assess the reliability and consistency of measurement systems, ensuring that data collected for process improvement projects is accurate and trustworthy.

Learn More

You can learn more about the tools used in Six Sigma by utilizing our FREE Six Sigma Resource Center.

Six Sigma Practice Exams

These practice exams are free, no log-in is required.  You’ll receive a digital certificate if you pass!