Essential Guide to Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

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Last updated on
15th Mar, 2021
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01st Jul, 2020
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Essential Guide to Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

What is Six Sigma Black Belt?  

Black Belts are skilled in analyzing huge chunks of data, managing different projects and organizing the team dynamics within the organisation, with respect to quality improvements in processes. So, in essence, they act as change agents who are dedicated to problem solving and ensuring quality adherence within processes and the organization.  

The title 'Black Belt' has been inspired by martial arts and holds an integral meaning within the Six Sigma philosophy. The lean Six Sigma is a problem solving technique that encourages the user to adopt a no-waste approach to enhance the performance and customer satisfaction of the brand. The Six Sigma Black Belt developer measures, structures, and analyses the performance related issues of the system in accordance with the Six Sigma rule.  

The basic purpose of this is to lead the project in a way that yields the best results. Black Belt Certification also trains candidates to understand, improve and improvise the concepts of variation, and deploy different roles to different teams in a method that is meticulous and process oriented.  

The International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) certified Six Sigma Black Belt Exam is a closed book proctored exam where candidates have to answer 150 questions in a span of 4 hours. The paper has a combination of objective questions, long answers and non-graded questions. With this certification, developers can improve their interpersonal skills, become better managers and apply for better and more prestigious positions in the firm as well.  

Who can take up the Six Sigma Black Belt course? 

Developers and industry professionals with sufficient work experience and industry knowledge can opt for the Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Also, note that only full-time positions are available in the Six Sigma framework. Some other aspects that are considered by recruiters are; 

  • Organisational skills and the ability to assign tasks to different departments  
  • Ability to figure out quick and proactive measures to improve performance  
  • Problem identification and solving skills  
  • Understand team dynamics and take initiative for projects 
  • Work on extensive databases and find out patterns  
  • Be up to date with the latest trends of the industry  
  • Have the technical skills, understand common DFSS and DFX methods  

The candidate must have the basic academic credentials and professional work experience of over 3 years. Other than that, you need the other standard skills like coding, technical knowledge, communication skills and analytical abilities.  

How to get certified in Six Sigma Black Belt? 

The mini-infographic below provides a visual guide to the steps required to get Six Sigma Black Belt certified. In the section to follow, we guide you through the certification process through the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC), the Council for Six Sigma Certification (CSSC) and the American Quality for Quality (AQS).

Process to get certified in Six Sigma Black Belt

Certification from the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) 

To get certified in the Six Sigma Black Belt from the IASSC, you have to first apply for and clear the IASSC exam which consists of 150 questions that you will have to complete in a span of 4 hours. These questions can contain a mix of objective questions, subjective questions and detailed answers. There are about 800 centres all over India where you can opt for giving your exams. All you have to do is contact the KnowledgeHut representative who will order a voucher for you. This is going to cost extra as the certification exam fee is not included in the course fee. 

Certification from the Council for Six Sigma Certification (CSSC) 

For the Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam from CSSC, you can follow these steps: 

  • Visit the official website of CSSC through this link
  • Click on ‘Add to cart’. 
  • A pop-up will appear. Select ‘Checkout’.  
  • Enter the required details. 
  • Make the payment to finish placing your order. 

Certification from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) 

For the Six Sigma Black Belt certification exam from ASQ, you can follow these steps: 

  • Go to the official website of Prometric
  • Click on Schedule Your Exam present under the Test Takers section. 
  • Search for Six Sigma Black Belt in the search bar. 
  • Once you find it, click on Read More. 
  • Under the Actions table, select the Schedule option. 
  • Select your Country on the next page. 
  • Read the Information Review. Click on Next. 
  • Agree to the Privacy Policy. 
  • Enter your details like the Eligibility ID. 
  • Next, select the Black Belt for the Appointments Selection. 
  • On the next page, select the date and time for your exam. Your exam will be scheduled. 

What are the roles and responsibilities of a Six Sigma Black Belt?  

Every Black Belt Six Sigma professional must be proficient in dealing with huge amounts of statistical data along with excellent managerial skills and analytical knowledge. This makes the professional responsible for inter-department management, organizing team dynamics and taking care of the internal setup of the company. Six Sigma certification prepares one to understand processes, reasons for failure and steps for mitigation of errors.  

Six Sigma professionals are proficient in the Six Sigma philosophies, which enable them to establish better, more flexible and transparent communication channels between employees and hierarchies. They are also liable for gathering insights, sorting them and storing them in a systematic manner and then analyse it in a way that yields the best results.  

The professionals also have to understand the different GAP analysis and SWOT analysis that help determine the strengths, weaknesses, threats and potential opportunities that would help the organization reach new heights.  

The Six Sigma Black Belt certified candidates are responsible for the entire management, deployment of the resources and its follow-up within the organisation. This also prepares the professional to anticipate the possible risks and take the initiatives that would help them overcome these liabilities that covers the losses and enhances your profits.  

What are the benefits of Black Belt certification? 

A Six Sigma degree and the Black Belt certification has far reaching career and personal benefits. This degree covers a smart mix of technical, theoretical and practical topics that would help you understand the happenings of the industry in a more detailed way, and how best you can tailor the Six Sigma to suit the needs of your organization and enhance your problem solving skills. Overall the Six Sigma helps you in the following:

  • Improve your managerial and organisational skills  
  • Develop better interpersonal relations with other people and departments  
  • Boost the overall performance of the enterprise in a way that is beneficial to all the parties involved 
  • To develop a plan for holistic and sustainable growth of the sector and the company  
  • Helps you gain better deeper insights into the market that gives you an edge over your peers  
  • Formulate better business principles to ensure cost reduction and time saving techniques 

Six Sigma Black Belt Certification exam requirements 

There are no specific requirements or academic degrees that you would need to be eligible for the Six Sigma degree. However, recruiters do have a preference for professionals who have a technical background and are well versed with concepts like database management, programming languages, handling statistics and coding.  Candidates should know how to implement Six Sigma across the organization, be aware of quality benchmarks and factors that lead a project to success. Here are some of the other requirements that might be expected from the Six Sigma candidates that you should know about; 

  • Basic managerial skills and interpersonal skills 
  • Technical knowledge and industry experience 
  • Knowledge about the inter department workings 
  • Knowledge of tools for tracking project progress 
  • Team management 

Here are the specific requirements of the exam according to the accrediting body: 

  • IASSC: There are no prerequisites. 
  • ASQ:  
    • One completed project with signed affidavit or two completed projects with signed affidavits 
    • Three years of work experience in one or more areas of the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge.
  • CSSC: There are no prerequisites. 

Here are the exam formats from the various certification bodies for the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Exam: 

ASQ

Type of questionsNo of questionsDurationOpen/closed
MCQ
  • 165 for computer 
  • 150 for paper based 
  • Four and a half hour
  • Four hours
Open book

IASSC

Type of questionsNo of questionsDurationOpen/closed

MCQ

150Four hoursClosed book

CSSC  

Type of questionsNo of questionsDurationOpen/closed

MCQ

150Non-timedOpen book

How to apply for the Six Sigma Black Belt exam?  

The Six Sigma certification would be a great addition to your resume, opening new opportunities for candidates in a sector of their choice. The Black Belt degree makes you more eligible and capable of handling the internal affairs of the company, build strong teams and set in order processes that will help chart the path to success. It teaches you all about the ways in which you can gather the best of the resources and deploy them in a way that is productive for the organisation.  

To get the black belt degree though you need to attempt and pass an exam that requires a fair bit of preparation to clear. The certification exams are conducted by a number of reputed bodies, chief among them being the IASSC, CSSC and ASQ.  

The IASSC Black Belt exam paper is divided into 150 questions that cover major sections of the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge. Studying these topics and appearing for the exam ensures that you have through knowledge of tackling on-the-job situations.  

Once you have signed up for the exam by following the relevant procedures and paying the fee, you can sit for the exam and give it your best shot.

While this is quite an arduous exam, proper preparation will ensure that you clear at the first attempt. Enrolling for a Lean Six Sigma training that is provided by an accredited body will ensure that you have all the right resources and guidance to clear the exam.    

What is the average salary of a Six Sigma Black Belt certified professional? 

As more and more organizations are going Lean the need for certified Six Sigma Black belt professionals is on the rise. This demand has ensured a subsequent increase in the salary that Six Sigma professionals earn.  Also, as a black belt certified professional, you can take on the following roles: 

  • Trainer/Coach 
  • Manager 
  • Influencer 
  • Process/Product/Project Manager 
  • Business Analyst 
  • Quality Assurance 

While the average salary of a Six Sigma Black belt certified professional is $104,019 per year, this largely depends on your industry experience, technical expertise and the country you’re working in.  The average salary of a Director of Quality with a Six Sigma Black Belt is $116,169 per year. A Process Manager and a Senior Process Manager can earn an average of $81,013 and $97,997 per year.  

*All the figures are from Indeed.com's salary estimation based on job advertisements and 512,851 employees. 

Ready to grow your career in Lean Six Sigma? Browse through our Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt course for personalized guidance.

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