Lean Six Sigma Certification: Your 2021 Guide
Originally published April 2019. Updated October 2021.
Lean Six Sigma certification is one of the smartest moves you can make right now, no matter where you work.
With businesses of all types and sizes seeking ways to do things more efficiently, save money, and maintain the quality of their services, process improvement is one of the most valuable skillsets you can possess.
This article is designed as your complete introductory guide to lean six sigma certification. We explore some of the benefits of getting certified, answer the most frequently asked questions, and give you guidance on getting started.
Download a PDF Copy
To save this information, you can instantly download a PDF copy of our Guide to Lean Six Sigma Certification and Courses.
It includes information from this article, plus extra resources on understanding lean six sigma roles and belts.
Jump to any Section:
“Lean six sigma” or “six sigma” certification?
You may see “lean six sigma” and “six sigma” certification being used interchangeably as you research which qualification is right for your next step.
What is the difference between “lean six sigma” and “six sigma”?
Lean and Six Sigma are two separate methodologies that originated in different places, at different times.
Lean is focused on eliminating waste from and streamlining a process. Six Sigma works to reduce errors and keep quality consistently high.
Both approaches work to improve processes and quality in different ways. When combined, they become a powerful transformational tool for any business.
As outlined in an excellent article by Grey Campus, the very nature of Lean and Six Sigma means that they can, and should be used together within a business. (source: Grey Campus)
For this reason, most well-rounded certification programmes in process improvement will incorporate both methodologies.
Some certifications focus almost exclusively on Six Sigma. However, to gain optimum benefit and a confidence to implement real change and improvement, we recommend choosing a course that includes at least some focus on Lean.
Rather than going by the course name alone, we recommend taking a look through the course content outline.
Sometimes, a course may be titled "Six Sigma", but will also include useful modules on Lean.
Is lean six sigma certification worth it?
The short answer is "yes, absolutely". Here are 4 reasons why:
Lean Six Sigma Delivers Sustainable Savings & Improvements
Lean Six Sigma is all about reducing waste and variation in processes. When correctly implemented, it can deliver significant savings and improvements in any working environment.
What’s more, the practicality of lean six sigma ensures that these benefits are sustainable.
Lean Six Sigma Makes Everyone’s Working Life Easier
Through evaluating and restructuring the processes within your business, you can cut out waste and unnecessary steps in a process.
Things just run much more smoothly with correctly implemented lean six sigma measures. Everyone’s working day is easier and less stressful.
Lean Six Sigma Certification Opens Doors For Your Career
Given the transformational effect that lean six sigma can have on the productivity and profitability of an organisation, certified lean six sigma practitioners are in demand in every sector.
By choosing to train and certify in lean six sigma, you will greatly expand your career potential from earnings, opportunity, and travel perspectives.
Lean Six Sigma is Rewarding
In addition to an enhanced salary and opportunity potential, lean six sigma practitioners gain great satisfaction from their work.
Working with this process improvement methodology is a truly rewarding career path for anyone who likes to solve puzzles, take on fresh challenges, and run projects.
What is the official six sigma certification?
While there are many well-established and credible certification providers of lean and six sigma certification, such as ASQ and IASSC, there isn't one “official” six sigma certification.
As with other areas of professional development, it is more about finding a combination of:
- a training course with robust content that will give you the skills you need to begin using lean six sigma
- a recognised and respected certification
- a course that meets your current goals
Which certification is right for you?
If you’re just starting out, or have only a little experience with lean six sigma and process improvement, we recommend either our Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt or our Green Belt training.
Both are excellent options for anyone who wants to get confident using Lean Six Sigma tools and achieve certification.
- Our Yellow Belt Course is a 2-day introduction to Lean Six Sigma that will give you actionable skills you can begin using in your work immediately.
- Our Green Belt Course is a 5-day, deeper dive in to Lean and Six Sigma. It’s a perfect place to begin for those who really want to get to grips with process improvement.
- If you’ve been working with lean six sigma for several years, our Black Belt Programme is the next step for your career development.
We can offer guidance if you're unsure about which course and certification will be most beneficial for your situation right now.
Is six sigma certification hard to get?
The challenges with lean six sigma increase as you progress. This goes for learning about lean six sigma, getting certified, and using it in your work.
This is a good thing.
It’s fair to say that those who are drawn to process improvement like the challenge and reward of problem solving and making things work better.
You will find that achieving a yellow belt is not too challenging, working towards green belt needs more focus and effort, and black belt requires experience, skill, and effort.
The level of challenge grows alongside your confidence, experience, and capabilities.
Therefore, achieving your first Lean Six Sigma certification is a quicker, easier challenge than say, becoming Six Sigma Black Belt certified, which takes time and dedication.
How long does it take to get certified?
The time frame for achieving lean six sigma certification varies depending on which certification you choose, and differs between providers. We have used our certification timelines as an example here.
At yellow belt level, you will achieve your certification following a short exam on day 2 of training.
Certification timeframe for our Lean Six Sigma Green Belt is usually about 3 months (with a couple of additional months before you receive the physical certificate). You can read our 3 steps to green belt certification below.
Our black belt candidates usually achieve their certification within a 6 - 7 month window.
How much does six sigma certification cost?
Again, price will vary greatly from provider to provider. We have listed our discounted yellow, green and black belt certification costs below as a guideline:
- Includes 2 days classroom training, course materials, and Professional Development Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification.
- Includes 5 days virtual training, course materials, and QQI certification costs.
- Includes 14 days classroom training, course materials, SigmaXL software, and 365-day access to an ASQ exam simulator.
Although price is an important factor, we recommend compiling a checklist of other important criteria, such as: content, certification, delivery style, convenience, credibility when choosing your course.
Introducing a Lean Six Sigma certification programme in your organisation
We offer a full range of Lean Six Sigma in-company certification and training options for teams.
Our yellow, green, and black belt programmes are available, as well as tailored workshops that focus on specific Lean Six Sigma tools (such as FMEA and Process Mapping).
You can read more about our lean six sigma training for teams by visiting our in-company training webpage. Get in touch directly to discuss your organisation's best strategy for in-company training by phone or requesting a quote online.
Achieving your lean six sigma certification
The most efficient and effective way to get certified is to attend training, followed by a self-directed study period, and complete assessment work and / or an exam.
Yellow & Black Belt Certification
Our Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt has the shortest certification process.
You will complete an exam during day 2 of this workshop. If you are successful, you will receive a PDF copy of your certificate by email following training.
You can read the steps to achieving a Black Belt here.
3 Steps to Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification
Our Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Course is our most frequently-run programme. This is our 3-step green belt certification process:
Step 1: Attend Training (Duration: 5 Days)
Our 5-day Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course covers everything you need to get started and become confident using lean six sigma tools.
Courses are delivered by experienced lean six sigma trainers who will offer guidance and tips for your assessment work.
Step 2: Assessment Work (Duration: 8 Weeks)
This certification is awarded through assessment work rather than an exam. You will have 8 weeks from the last date of training to complete and submit your assessment work.
Step 3: Get Certified! (Duration: Between 1 and 3 Months)
You will receive notification of your assessment grade approximately 1 - 2 months from the date you submit your assessment work.
You will receive the physical certificate within 3 months of the date you submit your assessment work. (these timelines depend on the date you submit your assessment work)
Ready to Get Certified?
If you're ready to take action, you can learn more about our lean six sigma courses by browsing each course online, or by downloading our PDF guide.
If you would like guidance on finding the right fit for your training and certification, our consultants can help. Call us at Freephone 1800 910 810 or use the "Which Course?" button below to get in touch online.
Our lean six sigma blog covers a broad range of topics on Lean Six Sigma and process improvement. Here are some of the most popular articles:
If you still have a few questions we haven’t answered here, why not reach us either by using the "Ask A Question" button below, or calling us on Freephone 1800 910 810?