In June, CapTech successfully gained 17 new ASQ-certified Six Sigma Green Belt professionals, raising the total number of CapTech Green Belts to over 60. As one of the newly certified consultants, I'm often asked, "What exactly is a Six Sigma certification, and how did you get one?" In this short blog, I'll explain the levels of certification involved in Six Sigma and outline the relevance each certification can provide to a member of a process improvement team. The different levels of certification lend themselves to ensuring that all members of a team, whether directly or indirectly involved, are speaking the same language and using the same methodology to deliver results.

The Relevance of Six Sigma Certifications

The various levels of certifications ensure that all professionals, ranging from those unexposed to process improvement to subject matter experts, are able to gain a deeper knowledge of Six Sigma and standardize the way it is handled within the organization. Beginning with the Six Sigma White Belt certification, and up through the Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt certifications, take an employee on a journey from being merely exposed to the terminology and philosophy of Six Sigma all the way to leading and supporting Six Sigma projects using the standardized methodology.

Six Sigma training and certifications ensure that all members of a team using a common terminology while employing the same parameters to identify and deploy solutions to existing processes. They are especially helpful in educating members of a process improvement team with basic or little knowledge and ensuring that those with expert levels of information are using the same tools and analytics to capture results. This sort of professional development increases the overall education of an employee base while also strengthening the team through consistency and downstream efficiencies gained.

Understanding the Certification Levels

The White Belt certification course, which exposes individuals to the terms and philosophies of Six Sigma, is especially useful for professionals who are not involved in process improvement projects but could benefit to learn more about variation and defects in a process. The Yellow Belt certification, which teaches individuals to identify the tools and instruments commonly used in Six Sigma projects, invites professionals tocontinue digging deeper below the surface of the philosophy to better understand the types of tools involved, the results achieved, and the practice of the methodology in the workplace.

The Green Belt certification is a much larger commitment, requiring most professionals to spend months studying to gain a deeper understanding of the tools and analytics involved in reducing variation. Green Belts are then able to use these tools to analyze current processes within an organization, come up with statistically significant improvements, and control and manage the project's lifecycle. The certified Six Sigma Green Belt is a professional with three years of work experience and/or relevant coursework, which exemplifies knowledge of the Six Sigma methodology. The Green Belt professional works under the supervision of the Black Belt and leads smaller process improvement efforts.

The Black Belt certification is for specialized professionals, interested in becoming an SME at their workplace. According to the ASQ, the certified Six Sigma Black Belt is a process improvement professional with proven completion of two Six Sigma projects, three years of work experience in the Six Sigma Book of Knowledge, and successful completion of the Six Sigma Black Belt Examination through ASQ. Black Belts lead process improvement projects and act as subject matter experts throughout an organization. The ASQ Black Belt is required to be recertified every three years by the ASQ.

CapTech Training Opportunities and Certifications

CapTech is strongly committed to empowering their consultants with industry-relevant certifications and training. This ensures that the consultants we send to our clients are using the same language a client may use, as well as creates a standard form of delivering success. CapTech has recently developed internal training and certification courses for the Six Sigma White and Yellow Belts, as well as preparatory courses for the ASQ Green Belt and Black Belt examinations.

Last November, CapTech hosted its first round of the Six Sigma Yellow Belt course, a five-course series that challenged participants to understand the basic concepts of the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) methodology, as well as the most commonly utilized instruments during each phase. For those professionals that have further interest in gaining a deeper understanding of Six Sigma, CapTech offers a preparatory course tailored for the Green Belt certification as provided by ASQ, one of the industry's largest certifiers. This certification enables professionals to be core participants and even leaders of the process improvement teams they are a part of.

If you are interested in or even about to begin studying for the Green Belt examination, please visit fellow CapTecher Fiona Colquhoun's blog specifically on the Six Sigma Green Belt exam, where she provides some tips and tricks for passing the exam. For information on Process Engineering training opportunities, please contact Doug Casteen (dcasteen@captechconsulting.com)