The ASQ Master Black Belt (MBB) certification is a mark of career excellence and aimed at individuals who possess exceptional expertise and knowledge of current industry practice. Master black belts have outstanding leadership ability, are innovative, and demonstrate a strong commitment to the practice and advancement of quality and improvement. Obtaining an ASQ MBB is acceptance and recognition from your peers.
The target audience for the ASQ MBB certification are candidates who are or have been employed as MBBs within their organization, or well qualified certified Six Sigma Black Belts (CSSBB) who have substantial experience in each of the major topic areas within the portfolio.
Once a candidate has met the minimum eligibility requirements, the next step in the process is a portfolio review of the candidate's body of SSBB or MBB work.
Note: Six Sigma Green Belt level work will not be considered.
When the review panel approves a candidate's portfolio, the candidate will be eligible to register for and take the MBB examination. Only after successfully completing all requirements and passing the examination will candidates receive MBB certification.
Completed portfolio and documentation should be sent via email to MBB@asq.org.
Candidates must meet the minimum scoring requirements for each of the three key performance indicators.
Teaching, Coaching, Mentoring
Occupational Experience & Responsibility
The portfolio evaluation process will be conducted by a panel of subject matter experts who are Master Black Belts. This panel will operate independently but under the guidance of ASQ. The panel will have ultimate responsibility for judging the quality and appropriateness of the material and evidence presented in the portfolio.
Candidates who meet the required minimums for each section of the portfolio will receive an approval letter from the review panel stating that they are eligible to take the MBB examination.
Candidates who do not achieve the necessary points will receive feedback from the review panel. This feedback will include information about why the application failed.
Here are the minimum expectations, requirements and experience specifics for the Master Black Belt Certification.
To become certified as an ASQ MBB, a candidate must successfully meet all requirements. To be eligible to apply for the MBB examination, a candidate must hold a current ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt certification (CSSBB) and pass the MBB portfolio review process. Within the portfolio, a candidate must have one of the following experience levels:
1) At least 5 years of experience in the role of a SSBB or MBB. OR 2) Completion of 10 Six Sigma Black Belt projects.
Candidates must be able to meet these minimum eligibility requirements in order to have their portfolio reviewed
Prepare for the exam
Review a list of references that provide the basis for the exam questions. These items give you a better idea of the material covered in the exam. ASQ offers many books and training opportunities to help you prepare.
The Master Black Belt certification is an exam that consists of 110 multiple choice items and a performance-based assessment that measures comprehension of the MBB Body of Knowledge. 100 of the multiple choice questions are scored and 10 are unscored. The performance-based portion of the exam includes situation specific materials that candidates will be directed to evaluate and respond to. It is offered in English. Total appointment time is five-and-a-half-hours, exam time is 5 hours and 18 minutes.
Examinations are conducted twice a year (July and November) and are delivered via computer based testing (CBT) through ASQ's testing partner Prometric. Each participant must bring his or her own reference materials. Use of reference materials and calculators is explained in the FAQs.
The Master Black Belt exam is not eligible for online, remote-proctored delivery
What Happens if I pass/fail?
If taking the exam CBT you will get your result immediately after submitting the exam. Within 3-5 business days you will receive an email confirming the result. ASQ will mail your hardcopy certificate. Delivery estimates for your certificate are 1-2 weeks (US & Canada), 6-8 weeks (International mailing).
ASQ communicates exam results for exams with updated or new Bodies of Knowledge (pilot exams) within five weeks.
If you do not pass your CBT exam you will receive a summary of your performance via email within 3-5 business days from your initial exam. For 2 years from your previous attempt you can apply at a significantly reduced "retake rate". (Please see Exam Results FAQs for additional details.)
Results for Paper-based tests will be slightly delayed.
The topics in this Body of Knowledge (BOK) include descriptive details (subtext) that will be used by the Exam Development Committee as guidelines for writing test questions. This subtext is also designed to help candidates prepare for the exam by identifying specific content within each topic that may be tested.
The subtext is not intended to limit the subject matter or be all-inclusive of what might be covered in an exam, but is intended to clarify how the topics relate to a Master Black Belt role. The descriptor in parentheses at the end of each entry refers to the maximum cognitive level at which the topic will be tested. A complete description of cognitive levels is provided at the end of the document.
All computer-based exams feature a basic scientific calculator on-screen in the exam. Prometric Test Center Administrators can provide you with a hand-held basic calculator upon request.
Any silent, hand-held, battery-operated calculator with no programmable memory will be permitted. Programmable calculators tend to have graphing capabilities, the ability to store text/alphanumeric data by the input of the user, and a function (fn, F1, F2, etc.) button.
Calculators such as the Texas Instruments TI-89 or similar are absolutely not allowed because they are programmable.
Prometric will provide you scratch paper and pencils.
All ASQ exams are open book and all reference materials (including all forms of notes) must be bound and remain bound during the exam.
Bound refers to material permanently bound by stitching or glue and materials fastened securely in its cover by fasteners, which penetrate all papers (i.e., ring binders, spiral binders, plastic snap binders, brads, or screw posts).
Manually or hand-stapled documents that are not securely fastened in their covers are not allowed.
Before you enter the exam room, the Test Center Administrator (TCA) will inspect all references. "Post-Its" will be permitted as book tabs only (must be attached prior to entering the test center).
If you wish to change your exam appointment date or time, you must do so at least five days prior to your appointment using the Reschedule/Cancel option on Prometric's website, or by contacting Prometric's automated voice response system. There is a $100 fee for changing an appointment. Failure to appear for your exam appointment will result in a loss of all applications fees.
Items strictly prohibited in the exam area: hand-stapled materials, blank writing tablets or tablets containing blank pages, unbound tablets, unbound notes, slide charts and/or wheel charts (hand-held cardboard or plastic calculating devices with rotating or sliding pieces).
Application Process & Timeline
1. Submit your portfolio:
Portfolio review for the MBB typically takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks.
2. ASQ Review:
After ASQ completes the portfolio review process you will receive an approval notification via email with additional application instructions or an email message explaining that more information is needed for your application to be approved. If it is determined that you do not meet exam requirements, you will receive a refund minus a $100 processing fee.
3. Testing Options a. Computer-Based Testing, CBT:
1-2 business days after you receive your approval notification, you will receive an eligibility email containing instructions on how to schedule your exam with our testing provider Prometric.
b. Paper-Based Testing, PBT:
The Master Black Belt is not eligible for Paper-Based Testing.
4. Schedule your exam with Prometric:
Schedule your exam appointment in the testing window you chose at the time of application.