Choosing a Provider to Meet Your Needs – A Buyer’s Guide
The Council for Six Sigma Certification accredits a provider’s to training/certification they provide to their customers. Our standards are strict but we do not consider all the value which can be provided. Different products are designed to serve different markets.
The Council for Six Sigma Certification conducts a formal review of each provider in our directory. All the providers in our directory have been found to meet our standard at the time of their application, but additional considerations may be just as important to you. Let this list of additional factors guide you through your selection of one of our approved providers.
Name recognition is important when you list your accomplishment among your experience and credentials. Most people complete six sigma training and certification to earn more money, and employers will want to trust the name on the certificate before offering additional pay.
Different names may be more or less recognizable by different employers. Some universities are known to excel in the arts, and others in business. Many non-university providers are recognized worldwide for six sigma. Six sigma was developed within industry and not academia, but the name your future employer will trust will ultimately depend on their personal or professional experience.
Pricing and value
What is a fair price and what value might you expect in return? The different types of providers vary in how they meet the increasing demand for six sigma training and certification. On-site consultants and classroom programs are typically limited to a small number of students at any given time, and those limited openings are highly sought after. Online programs are delivered at less cost, but they place much more responsibility on the student.
Optional and additional fees
There is no industry standard for fee structures. Training and certification are provided in many different business models, so it is the consumer’s responsibility to know what is not included in the product. Here is a list of what you will need (which may not be included in their quoted fees).
There is no set industry rule that requires certifications to expire or to require individuals to re-take their certification exam periodically. However, some approved providers feel this is necessary. Some approved providers do not. Providers who do typically charge a fee to retake the exam or to extend the expiration date of your certification.
Self-paced, on-site, and classroom training usually all require some kind of agreement to how long the training will take or be available. If a student needs an extended break from study, or more time to learn the material, the provider may charge a fee to lengthen or resume the training. If students face unavoidable personal circumstances, providers are often able to pause until you are ready to resume. You should read their terms before you agree and reach out to them for clarification or if you have concerns.
When you need help with material, with payment, or after you have completed your training, who will be available to answer your questions and in what amount of time? Classroom instructors can often respond right away or during a break, but are not available when they are tied up with another class. Virtual providers may provide support by phone or email. See that your prospective provider promises a response within a certain amount of time, and that those terms apply to both learning material, account processing, and inquiries made by their former students.
Body of Knowledge
Body of knowledge is a term referring to the set of concepts, terms and activities expected of a level of certification to perform their role in a six sigma project or within an organization. Click here to see the requirements for each level of six sigma certification.
Curriculum and training material
In addition to the body of knowledge, training involves lessons, instruction, and supplemental materials.
Certain certifications require the student to complete a written project to prove they understand the material enough to apply it in the workplace. Knowing enough to answer questions about definitions and formulas is very far from knowing enough to methodically apply six sigma concepts to real processes. All CSSC Approved Providers must require a project to test this additional knowledge at specific levels. Other providers, some reputable but not approved, dodge this requirement to the disservice of their students and the industry.
Credibility of Process
You may study very hard to understand the materials and score well on the exam. You may have put a lot of thought and care into your project. But if your provider does not grade that work using a credible process, other students may be certified who should not have been. What would that do to the value of your accomplishment?
Internal and External Options
Typically there are three environments in which to train and two in which to take an exam.
Training may take place on-site, or within the organization’s physical location. Offsite training may take place at a permanent institutional facility or within a conference or workshop environment. Online training is also available and increasing popular for training either during or after work hours. Most training providers offer only one of these options, but all can be found within the directory of Council for Six Sigma Certification approved providers.
Certification examinations can also be administered either onsite, at a third-party testing facility, or online. Most certification providers offer only one of these options, but all can be found within the directory of Council for Six Sigma Certification approved providers.
Mixing and Matching
Organizations faced with training a number of individuals may want to provide different options to their Six Sigma team. It is not uncommon for organizations to “test-drive” various providers before providing training to your entire organization. Some options will work best for a large wave of training, others are better suited for bringing a new member to their organization or transferring an existing employee to a new role.
In-house training may benefit the entire organization. Consultants can improve existing processes and teach students in a familiar context. This option may also be difficult to schedule or cost-prohibitive. Some individuals will respond best to a classroom environment, while others will excel at their own self-paced study, which will also be most affordable.
Determining the proper program format will depend highly on your organization’s needs, budget, and expectations.