Six Sigma Belts, Executives and Champions – What Does It All Mean?
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.
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
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.
Master 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.
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.
Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB)
Supports a Six Sigma Black Belt by analyzing and solving quality problems and is involved in quality-improvement projects.
Six 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.
Obtaining your Six Sigma certification is proven to increase your earning potential. Results from the 2019 Quality Progress Salary Survey showed that U.S. respondents who completed any level of Six Sigma training earned $17,205 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 $29,196 more
- Certified Six Sigma Black Belts (CSSBB) earned $14,962 more
- Certified Six Sigma Green Belts (CSSGB) earned $8,515 more
- Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belts (CSSYB) earned $1,352 more
For full details, view the results of Quality Progress' annual Salary Survey.
Six Sigma Green, Black Belts Help Manufacturer Save Nearly $1.5 Million (PDF) Within the first years of Crown Equipment Corporation’s Six Sigma initiative, Green Belt efforts resulted in hard savings of $1.2 million. The company has saved a little more than $500 per hour for each hour spent in training.
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.