Regarding statistics and processes, few concepts are as well-known as Six Sigma. It’s one of the most widely used techniques for streamlining business processes, reducing waste, and increasing efficiency. This is especially true of the Black and Green Belt levels of Six Sigma, which are the advanced levels of proficiency in operational excellence using the Six Sigma methodology.
These two roles can seem similar at first glance. Both involve working with a team or individually to identify problems in an organization’s processes and implement solutions to correct them. So, what is the difference between a Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB) and a Six Sigma Black Belt (SSBB)? Read on to find out more about these two similar but distinct roles and discuss how to choose between Six Sigma Green Belt vs Black Belt certification.
On this page:
- What is the Six Sigma Green Belt Certification?
- What is the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification?
- Six Sigma Certification Green Belt vs Black Belt
- Which Belt Level is Right for You?
What is the Six Sigma Green Belt Certification?
Six Sigma Green Belts have demonstrated their expertise and knowledge by achieving a passing score on the associated exam. They are competent in applying the Six Sigma method for problem analysis and process enhancement.
When someone gets certified at the Six Sigma Green Belt level, they have mastered all of the methods and procedures necessary to implement the methodology. Among the skills required is familiarity with the DMAIC phases of the Six Sigma approach (define, measure, analyze, improve, control). DMAIC is used in Six Sigma projects to enhance an existing process by cutting down on flaws and inconsistencies.
Black Belts delegate specific Six Sigma tasks to Green Belts, who oversee their completion while regularly reporting to their superiors. These Six Sigma professionals are typically involved in the phases of a Six Sigma project where data is gathered and analyzed. Under the direction of a Green Belt, a Yellow Belt may be enlisted to help with data-related tasks.
What is the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification?
Six Sigma Black Belts have demonstrated their expertise and knowledge by achieving a passing score on the associated exam. These Six Sigma professionals have all of the knowledge and more that Green Belts have in the data-driven process improvement projects that underpin most of Six Sigma. Furthermore, they have achieved expert-level knowledge of how and when to apply Six Sigma to optimize a process.
These professionals oversee leading Six Sigma initiatives inside their respective organizations. In addition, they manage, instruct, and guide specialists at lower Six Sigma tiers. For a Black Belt, the emphasis on leadership skills is crucial. They oversee a project from start to finish, paying attention to the intricacies while keeping everyone focused on the bigger picture.
Six Sigma Black Belts give Green Belts tasks to work on. Black Belts work with upper-level management during a process improvement project to coordinate and report on progress. A Master Black Belt might oversee Six Sigma Black Belts, but they typically operate without much oversight.
Six Sigma Certification Green Belt vs Black Belt
A solid grounding in statistics and analytics is necessary for advancement to the various levels Six Sigma certification levels. Quality assurance and process enhancement are shared goals of the two. While knowledge levels and experience are different among the belt levels, they use the same tools, techniques, and methodology to meet their shared goals. Both certifications require passing a test to become certified.
When you reach the Six Sigma Black Belt certification level, the challenges become more complex and demanding. It is expected that those with the higher belt level will have a more in-depth knowledge of statistics and be able to take charge of projects without constant supervision. That said, training Green Belts may be less expensive than training Black Belts, depending on the program’s specifics. Also, some Black Belt certifications require passing a test and completing a project.
If you have a few years of experience, six or more Black Belt-level projects under your belt, and have mentored Green Belts, then you will have a considerably easier time finding new employment with a Black Belt certification. On the other hand, a Green Belt without any additional experience or training may still be able to join an existing Process Improvement team or group but will have a harder time getting promoted than someone with a Black Belt who has already proved their skill in the workplace.
Which Belt Level is Right for You?
When it comes to choosing the right Six Sigma certification belt level, it comes down to what you hope to achieve. Obtaining a Six Sigma Black Belt certification will give you the skills to lead projects independently and a deeper understanding of a comprehensive set of analytical techniques and tools as well more advanced uses of statistics to guide problem identification and solutions.
A Six Sigma Green Belt certification could be a good fit if you want hands-on experience with process improvement but don’t want to commit more time or to learning as much as a Black Belt would. Be sure to investigate the requirements and exam prep for each to best prepare yourself.
Both Six Sigma Black and Green Belts play critical roles inside organizations and on project teams. While the two roles are distinct, they both contribute significantly to a project’s success. The best way to choose which Six Sigma belt level you should get certified in is to determine your goals and needs and how they relate to the general duties of each belt level.
You can also read about salary information for Six Sigma’s Yellow, Green, and Black Belts.