The Value of Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

A number of people have asked me whether pursuing Black Belt Certification has provided me with anything of value. Often the question is something along the lines of, “What has this provided for you in practical terms? A better paying job? More fulfillment in your work? A raise?”

Despite the issues I have encountered with Six Sigma and its implementation at my company, I believe that there is significant value in certification. In some cases, however, the value may not take the form that most people assume it takes. And, there may be some drawbacks. Again, this is from the perspective of a Black Belt working in the service industry, not manufacturing. I gather that things may be very different in manufacturing.

First, I received a job offer with a significant pay increase within my company shortly before I completed my certification requirements. To put things in context, my certification was provided by the training organization I attended and not by ASQ. I understand that the ASQ certification exam requires in-depth knowledge of not only Six Sigma tools and methods but also a fairly extensive understanding of the math underlying much of the statistical methods. I don’t have time in this installment to address the question of whether there is additional value to an understanding at that detail.

I gladly accepted the position and went to work putting the skills I had learned into action. Sadly, at least at first, I was not able to conduct any full-fledged Six Sigma projects because my company does not typically operate that carefully and demanded that I produce analytical answers to specific business questions. For example, one of the first questions I was asked to address was, “Why is the average handle time of our technical support group so much higher these last two months than earlier in the year?”

Because of my understanding of several statistical tools, I was able to develop a decomposition analysis that attributed the increases to various factors affecting our support process. I made several pointed, specific recommendations which executives responded to with more questions. For example, one asked, “Well, yes, in a perfect world we would just add staff to handle these types of situations but given the expense, what is the impact to our customers when service degrades like this?”

With questions like this, my job became very focused on answering complex questions such as these. I enjoy this type of work but after a time became a little disillusioned that I spent all my time answering questions that led to more questions and little to nothing changed in our operations as a result of my answers and recommendations. Regardless, the management appreciated my work and awarded me with another handsome raise the next year along with another promotion.

That brings us to the present. My company is in the process of shedding a significant number of staff in an effort to “right-size” for the implementation of a radically new business strategy. I suspect that my future with the company is at significant risk. The risk is not because the executive and management staff does not appreciate my work, but because my work has added little to the bottom (or top) line. I would not blame them for choosing me for the pink-slip list in that light. However, I would suggest that it is not useful to employ an analyst to attempt to answer “rear-view-mirror” types of questions rather than “looking-forward” strategic questions or significant cost cutting projects.

In sum, here’s what certification has provided for me:

  • Promotions–2 in 2 years
  • Significant pay raises along with those promotions
  • Marketable skills with wide ranging business application
  • Satisfaction in using more sophisticated tools to answer complex business questions
  • Respect, in some cases
  • Assignments that may not provide high-impact results in the long run and ultimately places me at risk of losing my employment

Is certification right for you? I would not pass up the opportunity if your employer offers to pay for your certification. Would I pay for it myself? I’m not so sure…

What are the Six Sigma Certifications?

Six-sigma is a popular business management strategy; it identifies and removes the causes of defects and errors in business processes especially in manufacturing. Six-sigma uses a variety of quality management methods that includes statistical and arithmetical methods and calculations, with the help of creating human resource infrastructure organization. An individual who has undergone a training and tests and qualified it is awarded a Six Sigma certifications i.e. Green Belts, Black Belts etc. depending on the course done, these individual are efficiently trained individual who have expertise in the six sigma  methods.

Six sigma certifications are awarded to individual and not to the organisations but has quality approaches towards the development of the business, Individuals with the help of six sigma competencies work more efficiently by delivering better and faster work results. The better and the faster by the individuals in the organisation help in the growth and development of the organisation, the certifications are helpful for individuals of any kind of organisation. Some of the approaches of the six sigma’s for business are ISO-9000, COPC, CMMI and TS-16949 and the six sigma certification is available for individuals based on their competencies like six- sigma green belts, six sigma black belts, six sigma lean belts these certificates are like university degrees and provide great benefits to the individuals.

The six sigma’s certifications can be gained for the institutions providing the training and preparing the individuals the training facility both online and in class rooms for the ease of learning.

Candidates and organisations are attracted to six sigma’s as it grabs the attention of the business leaders, sig sigma is applied in the business working on a routine basis and the reviews are done accordingly, six sigma is also important as it is universally applicable, and the six sigma’s are implied in almost all the different kinds of industries like

Furthermore, Six Sigma certification has also attracted the attention of business leaders since Six Sigma is more of a business initiative rather than a quality initiative. It has come to the point that Six Sigma certification is now discussed in business reviews routinely. None of the earlier quality initiatives enjoyed this kind of support from business leaders. Services, software, call centres, BPO, MNC’s and especially in the manufacturing and production fields

Individuals trained in the six sigma’s have a better chance in the growth of the career as the certifications are implied for the continuous development and improvement of the individual as well as the organisation the approaches are also helpful for the overall development of the business and for the better functioning


Six-Sigma is a set of practices to systematically improve processes of organisational development by eliminating defects. That can be failure of a product, process or service in meeting requirements of customers. Six-sigma is beneficial to both individual and the organisation, the Individuals with the help of six sigma competencies work more efficiently by delivering better and faster work results. The better and the faster by the individuals in the organisation help in the growth and development of the organisation, the certifications are helpful for individuals of any kind of organisation some of the other benefits that the Six Sigma competence provides are

  • The individual develops the ability to deliver the duties efficiently with quality and timeliness hence thebusiness is benefited.
  • The knowledge and skillset to enhance efficiency of processes and workflows helps the business in attains the prompt results faster and the individual has a chance of development in the organisation.
  • The certifications provide the individual complete knowledge of the Analytical, Statistical, Facilitation, Project Management Skills etc. which is highly demanded in the industry
  • Six Sigma as a management methodology helps thousands of professionals world over in reducing cycle times, increase the productivity and improve quality and quantity of the processes.
  • Six Sigma certified professionals can perform their duties efficiently at every level and efficiently perform the different by the implementation of the six sigma program knowledge.

Six Sigma certification programs are designed using some of the most innovative quality improvement methods from the preceding six decades in the industary. Six-sigma is designed for the different project level; there are black belts, master black belts, green belts, yellow belts and white belts certified programs

  • Green Belt provides information about the assessments with data collected that are required for the Black Belt projects
  • Black Belt deals with the problem-solving techniques and Trainsthe individual different methods of project problem analysing and overcoming.
  • Master Black Belt: Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts the advanced techniques of the six Sigma program level by developing key metrics and the strategic direction. And the individual is trained to act as an organization’s technologist and internal consultant.
  • Yellow Belt: deals with the Reviewing process improvements that support the project.
  • White Belt deals with local problem-solving teams that support overall projects.