While every professional seems to want to get Six Sigma certified, few know exactly what value it holds in the industry and how it can actually help enhance his/her prospects in the job market. Before we venture any further into the certification process, it is critical that you truly understand what it means.
The Value of a Six Sigma Certification
General Electric along with Motorola developed a certification program that was an integral part of their Six Sigma implementation plan. This program aimed at verifying an individual’s command over the Six Sigma methods at various relevant skill levels, i.e. yellow belt, green belt, black belt, etc.
There is no denying that possessing a certification can truly boost your prospects in the field of quality assurance and management. A certification can help you –
- Display proficiency in a specific subject matter
- Increase your prospects among potential employers
- Put you in a higher remuneration bracket.
If you plan on moving companies, remember that since certain requirements and variations may exist between two different employers that follow the Six Sigma method, chances are that many of your employers may expect you to re-certify to display some competencies.
However, the company will still value your certification if you have attained it from a leading company, consultancy or institution. Your certificates from businesses that have embraced the methodologies only over the past few years may hold some value in the hiring process, but not to an extremely large extent.
How to Apply for the Exam
inspiration from the approach take by Motorola and GE, a variety of organizations in the 1990s began to offer these certifications to their employees. It is important to note that the criteria for the green and black belt certification may vary within organizations.
Said that, there is no standard body for certification and various services in this regard are offered by a variety of quality assurance associations and other consultants against a fee.
Since there isn’t a single certification body, you as an individual should be able to find options from a variety of consulting companies, ASQ as well as businesses such as GE, Motorola and Allied Signal. Each one of these set ups follow differing certification criterions.
The Exam Format for a Six Sigma Certification
The Six Sigma certification program typically entails learning the relevant subject matter, clearing a written proficiency test and then moving on to exhibit your competency in a real world environment.
After the training is complete and the proficiency tests have been cleared, the individual needs to complete one or two quality related projects to highlight competency in concept application. It is in this area that most companies tend to diverge. While some organizations expect a certification candidate to complete one project for a Green Belt and two projects for a Black or Master Black belt, others may have different requirements with regards to the project number.
Furthermore, there is no real standard as to what is passed off as competency in an individual.
How to Prepare for the Six Sigma Certification?
The study materials required can be easily acquired from any training or consulting company. This almost always comes as a package with a classroom training requirement. You or your employer may choose to purchase these training sessions which offer different curriculums and durations depending on the level.
While preparing for the exam, you may want to consider the following tips –
- Depending on the exam level you are appearing for, review the curriculum to identify the key subject areas
- It is ideal to work in a study group that keeps you motivated.
- Prepare a weekly schedule and aim to review at least one chapter every week. Leave aside at least 3 weeks before the exam to pursue a comprehensive review of your curriculum
- Find ways to be diligent and stick to the schedule.
- While studying understand how to use and apply each tool or concept in the real world. This will help you in your project as well.
All in all, it is important to remember that the real purpose of Six Sigma is to introduce path breaking improvements, effectively solve a variety of business problems and make the process extremely effective. The idea is to strengthen an individual’s analytical and problem solving ability. With these critical skill sets in your pocket as well as a certification from a reputed body, you will be able to move mountains in the field of quality assurance.