Learn about the Six Sigma White Belt certification requirements and career rewards to help achieve your next project professional milestone.
On this page:
- What is Six Sigma White Belt?
- Benefits of the Six Sigma White Belt
- Is a Six Sigma White Belt worth it?
- How to become a Six Sigma White Belt
What is Six Sigma White Belt?
Earning a Six Sigma White Belt certification is the first step into the world of Six Sigma, which includes a global community of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma practitioners.
Six Sigma method defined
The American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines Six Sigma as “a method that provides organizations tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation helps lead to defect reduction and improvement in profits, employee morale, and quality of products or services.”
Lean Six Sigma takes the focus of Six Sigma to reduce waste in time, resources, or systems. Lean is a distinct quality management approach and method. However, over time many project professionals have begun to use “Lean Six Sigma” interchangeably with that “Six Sigma” to refer to the methodology of how an organization works to achieve business process improvement.
Six Sigma origins
It is important to know the history of Six Sigma as you prepare to achieve your first milestone of Six Sigma method knowledge: White Belt. In addition, training in Lean Six Sigma or Six Sigma will help you understand that they are grounded in statistics with a deep focus on specificity and measurement.
In 1986 while working at Motorola, Bill Smith and Bob Galvin created what became known as the Six Sigma methodology. A sigma is a statistical term for the frequency of deviation from standard; think of it as a mathematical definition of an error. For example, a six sigma is a deviation from standard that will occur only 3.4 times for every million observations. In other words, a six sigma is an “error” that is so unlikely that you must complete 1 million cycles to witness 3.4 occurrences.
Today they are recognized as the “fathers of Six Sigma.” They believed every business could increase quality to the point that any defects would be statistically insignificant, working through the process until defects could no longer be detected. The Six Sigma origins are grounded in manufacturing and production; the Lean Six Sigma method, however, is applied to help many types of businesses to achieve a process improvement or to manage a project. To achieve Six Sigma certification at any level, the professional must complete training and pass exams to demonstrate their knowledge of specific process improvement methods.
Benefits of the Six Sigma White Belt
There are benefits to using the Six Sigma method in organizations and for professionals earning a Six Sigma White Belt.
Benefits of Six Sigma for organization
For a business to realize efficiency benefits from the Six Sigma methodology, it must create an environment in which Lean and Sign Sigma can be consistently applied to processes. Whether the work is manufacturing, production, information processes, or projects, the method must be used consistently and have full management support to make a positive impact. Benefits for the organization may include:
- consistent practice of proven quality management methods allows for better data collection,
- potential for cost savings,
- increased productivity more likely, and
- enhanced team collaboration and trust.
Benefits of Six Sigma certification for professional
Lean and Six Sigma training is oriented to show the benefits gained for business through process improvement. Lean and Six Sigma training and certification can help a professional gain the necessary experience and skills that add to their competitive edge in the talent marketplace, such as:
- demonstrated knowledge and understanding of quality management,
- enhanced problem-solving skills,
- certification requirements drive career advancement opportunities, and
- growth mindset evidenced by completing training and learning new skills.
The discipline needed to complete a Six Sigma White Belt course with the work to prepare for the associated exam speaks to the professional’s dedication to project management and process improvement.
Is a Six Sigma White Belt worth it?
It is important to know that White Belt is the first level of Six Sigma; your time management and budget plans should reflect each advancing level of Sig Sigma certifications.
Factors to consider before pursuing Six Sigma White Belt
Ensure that you can complete the work while balancing other responsibilities. At work, you may need to talk with your team and leadership to gain their support for this professional training journey. Additionally, training and certifications have fees, so explore financial support options at your job or determine your personal budget.
White vs other Six Sigma belts | What will work for you
The Six Sigma “belts” are the designations for Six Sigma practitioner’s skills, experience applying the methodology, and verified depth of Six Sigma knowledge. The belts build one upon the other, so there is no belt color vs another. A professional cannot decide to skip to Black Belt without completing the rigor and certification exams of preceding belt levels.
- White Belt: contributes to process improvement teams with problem-solving methods.
- Yellow Belt: serves as a project team member that can review process improvements.
- Green Belt: leads projects and teams (composed of Green or lower belts); supports Black Belt projects in data collection and analysis.
- Black Belt: leads training for those seeking to earn Six Sigma Belts; leads complex and Black Belt team projects.
Some organizations may also have a Master Black Belt who functions as their internal Six Sigma consultant, trainer, and advocate.
Each belt level, including the Six Sigma White Belt, can help professionals reach career goals and impact the performance of their teams.
Is the Six Sigma White Belt recognized?
Six Sigma White Belt, along with Yellow, Green, and Black belts, have global recognition as designations of professional achievement in process improvement, project management methodology, and quality management. Six Sigma is most often applied in the healthcare, supply chain, insurance, and financial industries.
How to become a Six Sigma White Belt
No prework is required to pass a Six Sigma White Belt certification. Before Six Sigma training, some students study statistics and probability; it is not required but can enhance one’s understanding of the founding principles.
Six Sigma White Belt training and certification cost
The Six Sigma Online White Belt Certification online course is free! Ideal for beginners, this course will help you understand the basics of Six Sigma, its methodology, and how it can impact an organization.
Undertaking new professional development training and the rigor of certification exams is no small undertaking. Lean training and Six Sigma certification exams are no exception. Completing Six Sigma White Belt training will provide you with a broad overview of the Six Sigma methodology and introduce concepts, tools, and techniques regarding Six Sigma and how to understand the application of Six Sigma within an organization’s continuous improvement program. Most courses and training at least allude to Lean principles as they are often used in conjunction with Six Sigma methodologies.