Top three tips for getting your Six Sigma certification

You’re thinking about getting Six Sigma certified, but you don’t know where to start.  This is a common issue because Six Sigma is a complicated and confusing subject.  One fear people often have is “math”.  Yes, six sigma requires some statistical knowledge, and we know that’s scary for people.  The good news is that with modern business practices, most statistical analysis is completed using programs like Excel or Minitab.  Process improvement methods have changed drastically in the past 10 years and removing waste and inefficiency is easier than ever.
I’ve helped thousands of people get certified over the years.  I’ve also graded thousands of Six Sigma exams.  I’ve seen every mistake possible, and there are several that almost everyone makes when they are getting started.  Don’t worry, the following three tips are designed to make the process a little smoother for you.

Tip #1:  Take a free training program first – Get started by taking a free training and certification program first.  There are several respected organizations that offer free training to get you started.  For example, you can take our free six sigma essentials certification, or the White Belt certification through MSI.  Why are the programs free?  Because they are specifically designed to help you understand the basics of process improvement and help you decide which paid certifications meet your needs best. 

Tip #2:  Get certified at the most appropriate level – One mistake that many practitioners make is that they get certified at a level higher than needed.  People often feel the need to get certified at the Black Belt or Master Black Belt level just so they can have the highest-level credential possible.  This is usually a mistake, especially if you don’t have prior work experience.  Your Six Sigma Black Belt isn’t going to carry a lot of weight if you don’t have a project under your belt.  Many times, it’s better to start with a Green Belt because that is the functional level of Six Sigma.  That means you’ve been trained to use process improvement methods but haven’t actually led a project yet.  It is much more common for someone to help a Green Belt but have limited to no project experience.

Tip #3:  Select the company that best fits your budget and requirements – Educational programs can cost thousands of dollars.  They can also take 6-months to a year to complete.  That’s fine, assuming you need that type of training or certification.  Not everyone does however, so you need to spend some time deciding what is best for you.  Are you applying for a VP position at a Fortune 500 company?  If so, then a Six Sigma certification from ASQ is probably the certification you need.  This certification is highly respected, but also takes a lot of time and training to get certified, not to mention they also have some hefty prerequisites.  If however, you’d applying to mid-level companies in the manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, or government sectors, a certification from a training company many be perfect for you.  There is no single certifying company in the world of Six Sigma, so you have hundreds of choices.  Do your research and select the organization that fits these three criteria:

1.      How long is the program, and how much time do you want to dedicate to it?

2.      How respected is the organization, do they have a lot of reviews?

3.      What is the cost?  Will an expensive program really yield you a much larger paycheck?

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