Six Sigma FAQs

What is certification?

Certification is formal recognition by ASQ that an individual has proficiency within, and a comprehension of, a specified body of knowledge. It is peer recognition, not registration or license.

Why become certified?

Quality competition is a fact of life, and the need for a work force proficient in the principles and practices of quality control is a central concern of many companies. Certification is a mark of excellence. It demonstrates that the certified individual has the knowledge to assure quality of products and services. Certification is an investment in your career and in the future of your employer.

Is there an "order" for acquiring certifications?

We receive many questions regarding a "career track" for certification — which certifications lead to another and help with professional growth. This is purely an individual choice, based on your unique career path and goals. To give you some ideas on how to proceed, the Certification Board developed the following certification tables for you to use as a guide for auditing, technical, or managerial growth (PDF, 62 KB).

I don't have the required experience. Can I still get certified?

For those certifications with education waivers, you may waive some of the required work experience if you have a degree, diploma or certificate beyond high school.

If you do not have the education and work experience required to sit for a particular certification examination, you may obtain a partial refund of your examination fee by contacting ASQ. ASQ will not waive the examination requirements. If you are short on work experience, you may sit for the next exam, as long as you meet the requirement by the time you apply for the exam.

What is the definition of a Six Sigma Project?

Six Sigma is a method for reducing variation in manufacturing, service or other business processes. Six Sigma projects measure the cost benefit of improving processes that are producing substandard products or services. Whether in manufacturing or service industries, such projects quantify the effect of process changes on delays or rework. The goal of each successful Six Sigma project is to produce statistically significant improvements in a process: Over time, multiple Six Sigma projects produce virtually defect-free performance.

The Six Sigma Black Belt project is one that uses appropriate tools within a Six Sigma approach to produce breakthrough performance and real financial benefit to an operating business or company.

The tools are generic. It is the structure of the project and the associated process (improvement model) that distinguish a Black Belt project from other similar quality improvement projects. Financial impact as an outcome is also a requirement within a Black Belt project when compared to other projects.