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Topic Certified vs. Non…?

Certified vs. Non…?

Home Forums General Forums Training Certified vs. Non…?

This topic contains 22 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Usman Aziz 6 years, 2 months ago.

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    I have followed the discussion on training and rigor for LSS, but can someone explain or shed some light on those who are “certified” vs those who are non-certified? Is there really a difference? If I am certified through a reputable company who solely does LSS training, is that considered more acceptable than being trained by someone I work with and then being called “certified”? If this was already a topic, please let me know!


    @BBJeff Personally I don”t care if someone is certified or who certified them as long as I know they can do the work. There are certainly a very large number of people out there who are certified who cannot do the work. The Six Sigma community for as large as it is is also amazingly small. It normally doesn’t take long to figure out who is who.

    If it were an issue of just the certification my first preference would be someone who was trained during a companies deployment particularly Wave 1 or 2. There is a lot more to this whole thing that whipping up a bunch of data and cranking out some charts. You need to be able to do something with that data and change an organization. Those are the people I want because that is what my customer pay me to do.

    That is probably not a majority opinion. If you want to work for a company then you will probably have to go through an HR department. Typically they are checking boxes and one of them will probably be are you certified.

    Evidently people care who certified you as well. I have never seen a CV with something called Bisk Education but I have seen Villa Nova. Villa Nova doesn’t actually do the training. It is Bisk in some relationship with Villa Nova. The Villa Nova name carries a recognition factor. Fortunately the people in the business are starting to look a little sideways at that certification.

    Just my opinion


    Since Six Sigma does not have one certifying body, (many have tried) and no specific criteria to do so, the “certified” does not really mean a lot. That’s why you need some SS depth in your organization to screen out the weak. HR traditionally does a poor job with this. Throw around a couple of statistical terms and they are sold.

    A couple of years ago, Stan was willing to certify people for $10. Not sure how many people took him up on the offer.


    Hey, I’ll put a certification from Stan against any in the world.

    Stevo, I think you still owe me $10 for yours.



    Your question is an ongoing source of frustration for some folks. Certification doesn’t mean much since I’ve seen people being certified on very low standards.

    However, if you have a choice of how to get trained/certified, be sure to choose the model that includes doing a project along side your training. Doing a project means NOT doing some online model but it DOES mean the tools resulted in sustained process results that changed for the better using the LSS tools.

    @Mike-Carnell Some folks that didn’t get in until the 3rd wave turned out not half bad. :)
    However, I do know the reasoning for typically selecting folks from earlier waves.
    I digress….watching the Rangers in the lobby of Infinit Dealership so I’m multi-tasking. Happy Easter to you and your family.


    @BBJeff – there has been extensive coverage of this topic. Just search certification.



    Thanks all. We are trying to build our program and some (very few) are certified from an outside party, we are struggling with holding our internal program to the same standards and results of the external. Agreed its a source of frustration, the hours I put in for my GB and BB far exceed our current internal people, and with poorer results. (PS – I am not in charge of internal program, but I am trying to help instill/ingrain some credibility and rigor with it)


    Ravindra Joshi
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    @BBJeff – I completely agree with Mike certified or not certified doesn’t really matter unless you are able to the work & there are lot or institutes providing certification & it’s really difficult to chose the best out of the available institutes providing certification. However if one interested in certification then I would recommend the certification with the project experience, as without project the experience of using tools on the live project may not be there. And it really values a lot if u get trained during companies deployment as you gain the experience on what challenges you can come across during Six Sigma deployment eg. Change Management, acceptance from the business leaders, resistance towards change etc. I would personally prefer experience of using Six Sigma technique over certification to meet customer expectations.
    Just my opinion.


    Deacon Clark
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    Villanova Univeristy has a very good Six Sigma program with options for a Master Certificate or a certification. Either way, the instructors are excellent as well as the format of the courses. Just to clarify the relationship between Bisk Education’s Univeristy Alliance and Villanova University. The courses, instructors and curriculums all belong to Villanova University. Bisk Education handles the administration of a very robust e-learning platform including online classrooms, live meetings, and DVD and class materials. They do this for many reputable universities, not just Villanova University. The Master Certificate and the Certified credential are awarded from Villanova University.



    Deacon, I’ve never interviewed anyone who came through Villanova’s certification that I would hire. What is your criteria for calling their program very good?


    @SSISixSigma Your comment ” They do this for many reputable universities, not just Villanova University.” This whole thing isn’t about the reputation of the university. It is about the reputation of the Six Sigma program. I am sure the majority of the people here know who Villanova is and understand it is a reputable university.

    You sound like you were a student of the program so it would be highly unlikely that you would have their certification and tell someone how bad the program is. What you seem to be missing is that that certification is not for you. It is a document for the people who hire you. So you want me to believe a BB that was trained in Allied Signal, GE, etc can put their certification down next to yours and an employer should treat them as equals? Just to save you from embarassing yourself – that was a rhetorical question.

    Just my opinion.


    @stanmikel What would you recommend for someone with limited resources and no option other than Villanova to bring some credibility? I am one of these poor saps.. I have GI Bill resources paying for it and unfortunately they would not pay for other training options that held more credibilty…
    More specifically what for instance would I have to do in order to become hireable in your eyes?


    Deacon Clark
    Reputation - 2
    Rank - Aluminum

    One plus one equals two. One plus one has always equaled two. One plus one will always equal two. Regardless of an individuals hopes, beliefs, opinions and claims that one plus one should equal three, one plus one will never equal three because the laws of mathematics are not adjustable.



    To add the above points on certified v/s non-certified, Certification is the process of recognition for the work. There are more people in the world who may be successful but not certified on any particular. Only case-to-case analysis considered relevant.

    Completing both theoretical and practical approach is considered relevant on any course/training/skill procurement…..


    Richard, if Villanova is your only viable option then do their program. You will be exposed to content that is just fine and it will then be up to you to pursue building skills in applying it.

    Please understand there are some people posting here who believe they are the only answer in the LSS world; but it is a much bigger world than them.


    @SSISixSigma – what the hell is that supposed to mean/prove? That you know how to do simple math?

    @Robert-Jackson – The certification program is meaningless, and in my view, only gets you to a telephone interview to see just what you know. I started at a time when there weren’t a lot of training options, and was basically self-taught. I have a certification document from a company that I worked for, but few would put any significance behind it, as it is not a well known six sigma organization. That said, I’ll put my capabilities up there with anyone. In the end, it’s not the certificate, it’s what you can do – and that will only be proven out through projects.


    MBBinWI, these days being able to get to a telephone interview is a major step. And then I agree, it is all about what you have done and what you can do. Would you like to attempt to get an engineering job now days without a degree? Regardless of your experience.

    I would argue a document validating your knowledge and a discussion validating your ability are both contributory to obtaining a desired position.


    Deacon Clark
    Reputation - 2
    Rank - Aluminum

    The most important benefit of any certification program is the knowledge and practical experience appying that knowledge for learning purposes. The knowledge of Six Sigma philosophy, techniques, statistical tools, etc. is the key aspect. However, the true value of this
    depends on the individual, i.e. their prior work experience, education, other training. Since every human is different, the value of this knowledge will be different. Aside, whether someone is certified or not is a trivial matter. Where the “certification” comes from is also trivial when compared to the things that matter. ANOVA techniques do not change. Chi Square tests do not vary. All the techniques for regression analysis do not change and are not subject to individual opinions.


    @SSISixSigma There is a relationship between who is certified, who is doing the certification and what they have and have not done. When the entire SS thing started at Allied the “certification” was purely an indicator of who had been trained and done a project. If you had no or poor support from your management/process owner you got a certificate of training i.e. a flag to management they needed to fix something in that particular part of the organization. At the end of the day the whole thing was focused on knowledge transfer and getting a job done.

    Somewhere along the line there became a certification business. It was no longer a company selecting qualified people to be trained. It has become anyone can select themselves to be trained by anyone who has decided they can do the training and certification by anyone who thinks they have the ability to make that decision about certification. The accountability to the people issuing certification is not there. The idea that that certifications customer is NOT the person being certified but the people making decisions based on that certification. I am absolutely amazed that there has not been litigation at this point by some company that has hired someone certified by “X” and found out that that person was not qualified to do anything.

    The whole reason certification is not important is simply because the certification mills are cranking them out for no other reason than money and no accountability. People with absolutely no qualifications to issue the certifications that they are issuing. The reason nobody will agree to a common certification group is because at this time nobody trusts most of the people trying to control certification to do it in the best interst of the companies hiring these people as opposed to pure profit motive.

    It is a mess but it is what it is. Huge strings about this topic have gone on for years and it has not changed. It has gotten worse. At this point it is buyer beware. If you hire someone you need to do it based on the person not the certification.

    Just my opinion.


    @Mike-Carnell – so why haven’t we cashed in?


    ‘I never let my schooling interfere with my education’
    Mark Twain

    Several years ago i met an interesting guy at a large mine site who had been running his own business improvement company for years.

    During the ten months he was at site he shared an office with four permanent staff black belts.

    Being an external consultant he said his presence went down like a turd in a picnic basket however his services were enlisted simply because of a proven history of getting quality results in good time.

    The point i would like to make here are these facts:

    1. He had, and as far as i know still has no SS or Lean qualifications, he is not an engineer – of any type, has no degree nor trade, he left school at 14 after failing every subject to go working for his father who was a bricklayer.

    2. The four black belts he shared an office with at the time, were all certified, with degrees (two with double degrees and one an mba)salaries combined, equaled what he made that year, on his own.

    Now i do not criticise education, qualifications, and highly valuable classroom theory, but why, and how, would billion dollar companies wish to repeatedly enlist the services of someone with nothing more than a forklift license?

    I can list a few reasons, though am not sure any of these are part of any LSS training?

    > Consistently going out into the field and wherever is required to get results
    > Building relationships with everyone regardless of rank
    > Empowering people and teams in creating most effective results with pride
    > Doing whatever is required to get results with zero regard for ‘tradition’
    > Inventing, designing, making, sourcing to get results if solution doesn’t exist
    > Never, ever stopping until desired results are achieved or surpassed.

    Its difficult to stick the above qualities in a resume beside qualifications that prove we’ve studied – remembered – passed exams to obtain certification.

    And don’t get me wrong! In addition to unqualified, there are certainly qualified ‘doers’ out there doing a great job, but something to be considered – ‘qualifications’ open a few doors, ‘results’ open them all.


    @BBJeff My comments are a few months late, but…certification as part of an in-house LSS program definitely acts as a great motivator for many to achieve recognized higher levels of competency (even nicer if it improves pay).

    Regarding credibility, I wouldn’t worry as much about passing a really difficult exam or extensive hours training as I would about requiring validated results (dollars endorsed by Finance if possible) and a demonstrated proper understanding and use of relevant tools…that’s the bottom line as far as credibility is concerned. MBBs if you have them or individuals trained externally who can attest to the proper use of relevant tools can help with this.

    I was asked a long time ago when I started at GE about who the company would exit first…the person with great results and poor values, or the person with poor results and poor values. The person with great results and poor values would be exited first because s/he would poison the culture by showing that one could get ahead while violating the values of teamwork, etc. Results achieved in this manner were also most likely not sustainable and would result in longer term decay of the company. This is why demonstrating a proper understanding and use of relevant tools is important to me as opposed to just results alone. I also always say “relevant” tools as I’ve seen attempts to use tools for the sake of showing technical “expertise” waste valuable time if not compromise better results.


    Whether it comes to Lean Six Sigma, or Engineering, or Finance, or any other discipline, the challenge for a hiring manager is to select someone who can get the job done well.

    There is a tremendous amount of variation regarding education standards between universities and colleges, not to mention costs, as there is for Lean Six Sigma training and certification providers. (And it’s arguable who all of these consider to be their end customers as well per @Mike-Carnell ‘s good point above…the student or the employer.) Liberal resume claims and easy colleague/friend referrals make the field even more difficult for the most suitable to stand out…especially when there is little time for proper in-person interviewing.

    As others have stated, at the end of the day it is what one does with the training that matters. However the issue is similar to that faced by those who are starting their careers – they don’t have sufficient experience, and they are thus less likely to be hired and have a hard time obtaining the experience in the first place.

    People who hire for attitude and train for technical skills have a good approach. It is far easier to train the technical than it is to improve the people skills. (@Brocky I like your list and would also add the personal drive to continuously improve one’s abilities. Working hard boundarylessly is a great ethic, and striving to work ever smarter is a great complement to that.) However there should be some demonstrated minimum level of technical qualification which is where training and potentially certification comes in.

    My advice for those either starting their careers or shifting into a continuous improvement role is to read whatever material they can find as a lot is available publicly or at little cost, and to take whatever course they can find or afford (including company internal) so that they can formally get that on their resume to help them pass any HR screening. Go for some person-to-person instruction if you can get it whether over the internet or in class (better). If you can get certification from a fairly reputable provider, it can only help. (Also, I’ve been recommending iSixSigma for many years to anyone starting out as there are a lot of good resources and many smart and generous people here who will help you out with your questions.)

    At the same time, volunteer to be a part of continuous improvement projects at work so you can get some practical experience/accomplishments. A good training course will typically require this. If this is not available at work, offer your time for free in your community. As part of a practicum component in school almost two decades ago, we students offered our services for free to companies and were snapped up in a moment, and learned to apply our skills and deliver valuable results. You may be amazed to see how many small businesses and not-for-profits may embrace such an offer. Good references for your resume and potential employment opportunities with your sponsors.

    For those with more advanced careers, Lean Six Sigma certification is a blip (like your SAT score or undergrad GPA). In addition to attitude it is the results a good hiring manager will/should focus on. If not, who do you think you will be working with? :-) However if it makes someone feel more confident/secure, there is no harm spending the time and money for certification, but I wouldn’t waste either of these on a provider who was not very well recognized.

    Sorry for the long post. Hope some of it was helpful.

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