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Learn About Quality

Six Sigma Belts, Executives, and Champions

Six Sigma professionals exist at every level – each with a different role to play. While Six Sigma implementations and roles may vary, here is a basic guide to who does what.

Six Sigma Roles

At the project level, there are master black belts, black belts, green belts, yellow belts, and white belts. These people conduct projects and implement improvements.

  • Master Black Belt: Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts. Functions more at the Six Sigma program level by developing key metrics and the strategic direction. Acts as an organization’s Six Sigma technologist and internal consultant.
  • Black Belt: Leads problem-solving projects. Trains and coaches project teams.
  • Green Belt: Assists with data collection and analysis for Black Belt projects. Leads Green Belt projects or teams.
  • Yellow Belt: Participates as a project team member. Reviews process improvements that support the project.
  • White Belt: Can work on local problem-solving teams that support overall projects, but may not be part of a Six Sigma project team. Understands basic Six Sigma concepts from an awareness perspective.
  • Brown Belt: Brown Belt is not traditionally used in Six Sigma and is not recognized by most organizations or accrediting agencies. However, some organizations may classify a Brown Belt as a person who has their Green Belt and has passed the Black Belt certification exam, but hasn't completed a second Six Sigma project.

In addition, each project needs organizational support. Six Sigma executives and champions set the direction for selecting and deploying projects. They ensure, at a high level, that projects succeed, add value, and fit within the organizational plan.

  • Champions: Translate the company’s vision, mission, goals and metrics to create an organizational deployment plan and identify individual projects. Identify resources and remove roadblocks.
  • Executives: Provide overall alignment by establishing the strategic focus of the Six Sigma program within the context of the organization’s culture and vision.

Common Six Sigma Belt Career Pathways

Common Six Sigma Belt Pathways

Six Sigma Certifications

ASQ certification is a formal recognition that an individual has demonstrated a proficiency within, and comprehension of, a specific body of knowledge.

In 2016, ASQ certification exams moved from paper and pencil to computer-based testing delivered at 8,000 different Prometric testing facilities, which allows for additional annual exam administrations, availability of exam days, faster retesting, and faster test results. Learn more about computer-based testing here.


ASQ Certified Master Black BeltMaster Black Belt (MBB)

Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts. Functions more at the Six Sigma program level by developing key metrics and the strategic direction. Acts as an organization’s Six Sigma technologist and internal consultant.

Learn more about MBB

ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt logo Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)

Understands Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including the supporting systems and tools. Demonstrates team leadership and understands all aspects of the DMAIC model in accordance with Six Sigma principles.

Learn more about CSSBB

ASQ Certified Six SIgma Green Belt logoSix Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB)

Supports a Six Sigma Black Belt by analyzing and solving quality problems and is involved in quality-improvement projects.

Learn more about CSSGB

ASQ Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt logoSix Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB)

Has a small role, interest, or need to develop foundational knowledge of Six Sigma, whether as an entry level employee or an executive champion.

Learn more about CSSYB

ASQ members save $100 on Six Sigma certifications – Join today!

the Difference Certification Makes

Obtaining your Six Sigma certification is proven to increase your earning potential. Results from the 2020 Quality Progress Salary Survey showed that U.S. respondents who completed any level of Six Sigma training earned $16,411 more on average than those without any Six Sigma training.

Salaries were shown to increase in alignment with the more advanced the Six Sigma belt. Compared with persons with no Six Sigma certifications, on average:

  • Master Black Belts (MBB) earned $26,123 more
  • Certified Six Sigma Black Belts (CSSBB) earned $15,761 more
  • Certified Six Sigma Green Belts (CSSGB) earned $10,736 more
  • Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belts (CSSYB) earned $880 more

For full details, view the results of Quality Progress' annual Salary Survey.

Certification Resources

You can also search articles, case studies, and publications for more examples of how ASQ certifications have helped organizations and individuals.


The Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt Handbook

The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Handbook

The Certified Six Sigma Green Belt Handbook

The Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt Handbook

Case Studies

ASQ Certification: My Competitive Advantage in a Tough Economy (PDF) Tyler Wallace obtained CQIA and CSSBB certifications to jumpstart his career in healthcare. Within a time period of two years, he received two promotions and tripled his salary.


2020 QP Salary Survey: Striking The Right Balance To Reach Your Career Goals Lead researcher and author of the article introducing the Salary Survey, Max Christian Hansen, provides insights on the 2020 survey results and reveals what combinations of education, certifications, and roles can mean substantial increases in salary. He also shares special findings related to COVID-19, and discusses ongoing research on the impact of COVID-19.

Certification Tips, Tricks, And Traps In this still popular webcast, James Rooney, an ASQ Fellow, professional trainer, and holder of nine ASQ certifications, shares his tips, tricks, and traps he’s learned throughout his years of working with ASQ certification exams.

Preparing For A Certification Exam Doug Wood, a CQM/OE certification preparation instructor and holder of three ASQ certifications, provides insights into successfully preparing for and passing ASQ certification exams.

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