Lean Six Sigma Certification Requirements

Have Lean Six Sigma certification requirements changed over the years?  I believe the answer is yes!

I was reading LinkedIn this week and saw a posting by an “Universal Lean Six Sigma Certification” organization (http://www.sixsigmacouncil.org) that certifies providers as meeting their rigorous standards.  The post was about “see our list of top lean six sigma providers.”  So I looked at the list.  It was mostly colleges and I found two providers that I considered good.  They listed the University of Texas lean six sigma courses as “good” when I know that they are not.  These courses are provided by a competitor that does not require much from students (a one week GB and three week BB that do not require projects to be worked in conjunction with the course and want you to use only their created excel add-ins for analysis.)  Definitely not good.

Lean Six Sigma Certification Requirements?

I then went to the site that produced the list and looked at the requirements to be a “good provider.

For Green Belts it was:

  • 35 hrs minimum training.
  • No project required.
  • No hypothesis testing knowledge required.
  • At a minimum, using a certified BB instructor.
  • Access to analysis software provided (but apparently student is not required to use it).
  • And, if the student does not meet the requirements, he can still be certified.

For Black Belts it was:

  • 95 hrs minimum training.
  • The instructor should be a MBB but they accept a BB instructor.
  • Work a progress in DMAIC, DMADV, or similar Six Sigma methodology.
  • Project should be reviewed by a MBB.
  • Access to analysis software provided (but apparently student is not required to use it).
  • And, if the student does not meet the requirements, he can still be certified.

Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge?

Is there a standard body of knowledge?  No.  But there are a number of providers out there that define the Lean Six Sigma certification requirements.  My favorite is the ASQ list, since it was built by a group of practicing MBBs at the top of their careers.  The ASQ list also defines at what level each topic should be understood, using Blooms Taxonomy.   Here are body of knowledge lists I know of and my impression of each.

American Society of Quality (MBB, BB, GB) – quite good and detailed with the tools that have been used for years.

International Association of Six Sigma Certification (BB, GB, YB) – pretty good, though not quite as detailed as ASQ

Ohio State Business School (BB, GB, MBB) – detailed, but a bit weak in some areas.  This does include Cause and Effect diagram as an Analyze Phase tool which is not common.

Six Sigma Council (BB, GB) – inadequate.  This list considered cause and effect analysis as an Analyze Phase tool and include limited statistical requirements.

You can look through these and determine what you consider essential:

  • What should be in a Green Belt or a Black Belt body of knowledge that is required to get certified?
  • Should it include a project? Two projects?  Skip the project and write a capstone project report?
  • Should hypothesis testing be required?  With real statistical analysis software?
  • Should the cause and effect diagram be an analysis tool?  Or is that a cop-out to allow poor providers to say that they include analysis tools?
  • Should lean tools even be included?

I admit that I am a bit snarky about all of this because I am an old-timer to lean and six sigma.

I am routinely disappointed by the level of knowledge I find in students that are supposedly certified.  Here at Smarter Solutions we find GBs and BBs coming to class who cannot do a t-test or even understand it.  They may not be able to make a control chart or a capability analysis because it is not required to solve a problem.  Many of these folks perform at the level we used to teach people to use TQM and Quality Circles where voting after the brainstorming is the analyze phase.

I believe that this sad state of affairs is not driven by lower-quality students; it is the result of providers who care about money and not about student learning.  Very sad.

Smarter Solutions chooses to follow the ASQ body-of-knowledge and requires a student to finish the full course, complete course week examinations and then provide a demonstration of the Lean Six Sigma tools through the successful completion of a mentored improvement project.  We try to keep our courses honest and matching the best-practices that we have seen since Lean Six Sigma has been around.


Contact Us to set up a time to discuss with Forrest Breyfogle how your organization might gain much from Integrated Enterprise Excellence (IEE) Lean Six Sigma 2.0 training and/or deployoment.


1 thought on “Lean Six Sigma Certification Requirements”

  1. Lawrence Mossman

    I agreed the difference in the Six Sigma training and the requirements. Many companies want the “cheapest one” ($) and not really concerned about the quality of overall course content. I have reviewed many of the programs too, and find the Smarter Solution course (BB) is one of the best based on course contents, requirements, and overall length. Keep up the good work!!

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