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Becoming a six sigma black belt

blackbelt9821513.JPGSix sigma is common within manufacturing. In a nutshell, six sigma uses a set of quality and statistical methods to define and then improve a company's overall processes. In turn, the company will typically waste less time and money, continually improve the quality of their products and services, and improve their customer satisfaction and business.

Six sigma also has its own infrastructure. These are found in the various six sigma certification levels. Six sigma has three main levels that people can aspire to, and include:

  • Green belts

  • Black belts

  • Master black belts

Those who want to improve their six sigma knowledge and become leaders within their organization start as green belts and work their way up, if desired. Training varies from one week to four weeks. Each level has increased responsibilities and leadership roles.

What does a six sigma black belt do?
A six sigma black belt is considered the technical leader within the six sigma levels. Most people who become black belt certified have some sort of technical background, particularly in math, as statistics and quantitative analyses are frequently used during their responsibilities as black belt. Some training programs even require certain college-level math classes as a prerequisite.

However, you do not have to be an engineer or a mathematician to become a six sigma black belt. But be aware that you will need to be able to handle a variety of technical processes and statistical analyses once you have been certified.

The main duties of the six sigma black belt are implementing and carrying out six sigma processes. This requires a thorough knowledge of the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve control) method. Six sigma black belts work as team leads in six sigma projects. They also frequently oversee the green belts and assist them with their project management as needed.

Six sigma black belt training
Six sigma black belt certification requires four weeks of training. If you are considering six sigma black belt training, an average curriculum includes:

  • Green belt review. Because black belts are frequently assisting as well as training green belts, and because green belt certification provides a foundation for six sigma and its processes, black belt training undoubtedly includes some sort of green belt review.

  • Mathematics. You can expect to spend a lot of time on extensive mathematical methods and statistics, as well as cross functional improvement of six sigma processes. This is why it is helpful to already have a background in mathematics-it is a lot to cover in a short amount of time.

  • Statistics. Becoming fluent and proficient in at least one statistical analysis software program is also a part of six sigma black belt training.

  • Lean six sigma. Black belts will also develop a basic knowledge of lean concepts while in training.

  • Leadership. Because they work as team leads, black belts will learn a variety of team leadership skills, which will in turn allow them to better understand and define the dynamics of a group. This helps the black belt make the appropriate assignments with regards to responsibilities.

Six sigma black belts use the technical and mathematical knowledge derived from their training to help lead projects and methods that will improve their company's processes.

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