Six Sigma Training

Here are a few things that would impress me as a hiring manager when it comes to Six Sigma training.  Three possibilities come to mind –

  1. Six Sigma training while working for a recognized company (i.e. Motorola, Allied Signal, GE, etc.). This is obviously a great way to go if you have the opportunity – getting paid while you learn – and with most companies you will apply your Six Sigma training in real-world situations.
  2. Six Sigma training with a world class training organization. Two organizations come to mind: Motorola University and the Shainin Institute. A certification from either of these two groups will place you in an elite group of problem solvers / process improvement leaders. Shainin does not offer a Black Belt certification, but their “Red-X Master” certification is probably the best in the world when it comes to developing outstanding problem solvers in manufacturing environments.
  3. In terms of technical credentials in the Six Sigma training arena, ASQ’s (American Society for Quality) Black Belt certification is also regarded as a solid credential that distinguishes Six Sigma professionals. For those who understand the Six Sigma toolkit and are willing to study for ASQ’s exam, this is the lowest cost route to a recognized Six Sigma credential.

Six Sigma Training Costs

In terms of cost, item #1 is obviously the easiest way to go. If you want to be trained and certified by a world-renowned training organization, you will have to pay for it: Motorola University’s Black Belt Certification is $13,850, plus travel expenses and a laptop computer loaded with MINITAB software (as of February, 2010). The costs for Shainin certification are not listed on their website, but like Motorola University they offer classes and coaching in multiple locations. Each of these certifications also requires project work between classes, and the Shainin website emphasizes “…the demonstration of developed skills rather than the accumulation of knowledge.” Shainin turns out some of the best problem solvers in the business. Motorola University is also very prestigious and has an outstanding reputation (they actually invented the Black Belt term as it applies to Six Sigma). While the $10K to $20K certification cost is high compared to other programs, companies and individuals should see this training investment pay off quickly through project savings.

If you already have a strong Six Sigma training foundation and would like to add a credible certification to your resume at a very low cost, ASQ’s certification is the best value out there. I highly recommend that you take a prep course through a local ASQ chapter, or spend the extra $100 on a practice exam so you can be familiar with ASQ’s focus areas.

Online Six Sigma Training

There are a number of Six Sigma training programs advertised on the internet. If you do not go with one of the above options, my suggestion is to at least go with a strong name. Otherwise, while you may be receiving decent training, the outside world may regard your training as the equivalent of a mail order degree. I checked out the companies that ranked highly for “Six Sigma Certification” on a Google search, and Villanova and Purdue were the only other programs that jumped out as having a solid curriculum and credible reputation.

Hands-on Learning

I once had the opportunity to work briefly with Keki Bhote, whom I consider to be one of the most motivational authors in the quality field.  The first day that we walked out on a shop floor together, Keki said, “This is your laboratory,” and he was so right.  While I have received formal training and certification through the Master Black Belt level, I can honestly say that most of my capabilities have come from reading and hands-on experience.  When I’m in a discussion with a prospective new hire, it’s very easy to see whether or not that individual has strong hands-on problem solving expertise.  So if you have a passion for process improvement, practice it regularly!