3 Types of Six Sigma Certifications

Six Sigma Certification gives power to employees to bring true business transformation. This in turn facilitates an enterprise to provide better products & services to its customers. Any enterprise that certifies employees (or professionals) needs to have the necessary infrastructure such as: Six Sigma training curriculum, trainers, improvement projects, experts to mentor projects, certification criteria, etc. Immaterial of the belt one wishes to acquire, Six Sigma Certifications can be broadly classified as follows:

  • First Party Certification
  • Second Party Certification
  • Third Party Certification

First Party Six Sigma Certification

Large Enterprises often create their internal infrastructure to certify employees. This infrastructure should include: six sigma experts, trainers, training curriculum, project selection criteria, project mentoring/coaching model, and certification criteria to certify all deserving employees. This helps establish employees as having a class above the rest, thus improving creativity and productivity of quality goods or services. Some examples include GE, Caterpillar, Bank of America, etc. Six Sigma Certification criteria, body of knowledge, and hence proficiency levels vary between different enterprises. The value of such a first party certification is often tied to brand value of enterprises. Hence certificates from fortune 100 enterprises do carry a good deal of recognition in the market.

Second Party Six Sigma Certification

Companies that do not have the infrastructure to train their employees, or lack the expertise, will engage an agency to assess and certify employees. Companies leverage the agency’s infrastructure and credibility to issue co-branded certifications. However, co-branded Six Sigma certifications often come under the scanner, as agencies might be obliged to certify employees purely out of business compulsions.

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Third Party Certification

Here employees get Six Sigma certification from an agency all by themselves. An employee will realize the potential of such a certification in today’s competitive job market, and drive him/herself to complete their certification. The advantage with this type of certification is that it is a purely neutral certificate. Of course, the brand of agency matters and the employee will need to satisfy all criteria to get certified. Due to lack of a universal certification body, many agencies may have diluted certification standards. This makes it easy to receive a certification, but with little real value attached to it. If you are looking for a six sigma certification, then, check your options. Consider the following:

  • First Party Certification: You need to check if the employer’s brand is universally recognized and if it is a fortune 100 company.
  • Second Party Certification: You need to check if the criteria used for certification is in line with the industry standard, and if there is enough hands-on exposure to six sigma tools and techniques.
  • Third Party Certification: You need to check the training curriculum and content, industry specific examples, case studies, statistical software exposure, certification criteria, personal guidance, brand, etc., between various third party certifiers before selecting one.

A good trade-off will be to receive training from a reputed organization in fulfilling the above guidelines, and then take the Six Sigma Certification from an industry recognized body like ASQ. This way you get the best of both!

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