Six Sigma Certification: Benefits, Options, and How to Get Certified

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore the concept of Six Sigma, the different certifications available, the benefits, and the steps to getting started.

[Featured Image] A working professional studies for their Six Sigma certification exam.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a data-driven, quality assurance method organisations use to improve performance, increase profits, and decrease errors. The Six Sigma name and concept are rooted in statistics. One Sigma represents a standard deviation from the mean on a bell curve. 

For a Six Sigma project, 99.9 percent of results must fall within six standard deviations from the mean, leaving a fraction that can fall outside the expected results. In other words, Six Sigma is a business strategy used to minimise errors and improve profitability.

Several principles guide Six Sigma’s quality assurance method, including focusing on the customer, understanding and improving work processes, eliminating defects and problems, reducing waste, concentrating on value, collaborating with your team, and making your efforts systematic and scientific. 

What is Six Sigma certification? 

Six Sigma certification is a set of credentials verifying your expertise in the Six Sigma method. Various schools and companies offer training in this method to prepare for a certifying exam. These include: 

Lean Six Sigma vs. Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma methods take slightly different approaches to quality assurance. Lean Six Sigma optimises the production process by eliminating unnecessary steps, while Six Sigma maintains steps, including advanced statistical metrics, to eliminate defects. You can get certified in either methodology.  


Six Sigma belts

You can earn Six Sigma certifications in levels similar to belt colours in martial arts. Below, we describe what the belt levels cover and the roles they could lead to based on information from BSI. We also include salary information based on PayScale as of March 2024. 

You can use these as a starting point for investigating Six Sigma certification and choosing the right level.

White belt

  • What it covers: the basics of the Six Sigma methodology 

  • Jobs you can get: Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Assurance Specialist, Business Process Analyst, Project Manager 

  • Average annual salary: ₹4,74,000 [1]

Yellow belt 

  • What it covers: the foundations of Six Sigma, building on white belt basics

  • Jobs you can get: Mechanical Engineer, Business Analyst, Process Engineer, Production Supervisor 

  • Average annual salary: ₹5,82,000 [2

Green belt 

  • What it covers: analysing and solving quality problems, participating in quality improvement projects 

  • Jobs you can get: Process Improvement Manager, Senior Process Engineer, Production Supervisor 

  • Average annual salary: ₹10,00,000  [3]

Black belt

  • What it covers: Six Sigma principles, philosophies, supporting systems, and tools; team leadership; the DMAIC model  

  • Jobs you can get: Continuous Improvement Manager, Process Improvement Manager, Six Sigma Black Belt Project Manager, Continuous Improvement Director 

  • Average annual salary: ₹20,00,000 [4]

Master black belt

  • What it covers: developing key metrics and direction of a Six Sigma program, enterprise-wide planning, advanced understanding of improvement methodologies, mentoring and coaching people with other Six Sigma belt levels

  • Jobs you can get: Quality Assurance Manager, Programme Manager/Business Excellence and Transformation for HR, LIMS Systems Analyst, General Manager 

  • Average annual salary: ₹30,00,000 [5]

Benefits of getting Six Sigma certified 

Six Sigma certification is a versatile credential, as organisations across industries use it for quality assurance, from tech and finance to health care and education. Companies hiring Six Sigma-certified professionals include Volvo, Boeing, IBM, Walmart, and Ford. 

Explore these additional career benefits that Six Sigma certification may afford you: 

  • Increasing your value to employers across industries

  • Helping your organisation reduce risk and eliminate errors

  • Ensuring compliance

  • Advancing into managerial roles

  • Increasing your salary

How to get a Six Sigma certification 

If you’re ready to get Six Sigma certified, follow the steps below to streamline your process. 

1. Identify your goals 

There are several goals that Six Sigma certification can serve, including switching to a new career, applying for a job that requires this credential, or enhancing your performance in your current role. Knowing your goals can help you focus your efforts. What kind of company do you want to work for? What positions are you interested in filling? 

2. Decide which belt level of certification you need

The next step is to determine the level of certification you will pursue based on your career goals. Search job sites for your desired field and role and read the list of qualifications to find out which belt level is required. 

3. Choose a Six Sigma training programme.  

With the variety of Six Sigma training and certification programmes available, you’ll want to choose your training programme carefully. Weigh factors like the cost of training for and taking a certifying exam, the kind of study material available, the exam format, and the reputation of organisations certifying your credential. 

You may find it helpful to review the Council for Six Sigma Certification’s provider directory to find the best fit. 

4. Learn Six Sigma fundamentals. 

As you train for Six Sigma certification, build foundational knowledge of the methodologies and tools professionals in this field use. For example: 

The DMAIC methodology stands for:

  • Defining the problem 

  • Measuring process performance

  • Analysing the process to determine causes of variation and poor performance

  • Improving process performance

  • Controlling the improved process 

The DMADV methodology stands for: 

  • Defining project goals and customer deliverables 

  • Measure the critical characteristics based on customer requirements

  • Analysing different project/process designs to meet customer demands

  • Design and test the prototype

  • Validate and verify the prototype by testing its function 

5. Take the certifying exam 

After completing a training programme, your final step to getting Six Sigma certified is to pass a certifying exam. Some Six Sigma training providers and organisations may offer downloadable badges to add to your LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, and email signatures.  

Get started in Six Sigma with Coursera

Online courses can be great ways to learn about Six Sigma, explore career options, and prepare for certification. Explore options on Coursera: 

Article sources


PayScale.”Salary for Certification: Certified Six Sigma White Belt,” Accessed March 29, 2024.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.