There are five different Six Sigma belts:
Yellow, Green, Black, Master Black Belt and Champion belt.
In this article, we are going to focus on the three most popular belts which most people qualify in.
A yellow belt is where most people start their Lean Six Sigma journey. Yellow belt gives you a basic understanding of Lean Six Sigma. You can use the skills in a solo project or as part of a larger project team. Yellow belts are normally a project team member. At this level you would not be expected to run a project team. You would expect a yellow belt to receive support and guidance from green belts and black belts. Yellow belts generally are required to report back to the higher belts if there are any process issues. Yellow belt training is normally between 1-2 days in duration. You would then undertake a mentored project (normally as part of a wider work based project) where you can show you can use the tools learnt and make a cost saving of at least £10,000.
Moving up to a green belt, you will have a stronger understanding of Lean Six Sigma. You can begin your journey as a green belt however most people prefer to start from yellow and progress onwards from there. The green belt is known to be an intermediate program that prepares you to work on process improvement projects and gain more knowledge on Lean Six Sigma with guidance and supervision from black belts. Green belts can lead a project or a team and would normally spend at least 25% of their time employing lean six sigma principles – it should become a business-as-usual part of their role. They also assist black belts with data collection and analysis. The training for green belt is 5 days and this is followed with a mentored project where you would show usages of green blet tools and make a cost saving of at least £50,000.
As a black belt holder, you have a high-level understanding of Lean Six Sigma principles. You can again start from this level however, most people prefer to qualify from yellow or green to begin with. Black belts lead problem solving projects, they choose the teams and train and coach others. You will be professional in team leadership, problem-solving, and maintaining team dynamics, and know how to allocate team responsibilities and roles. The Black belts are at the highest level out of the three and are responsible for overlooking and guiding yellow and green belts on their Lean Six Sigma journey by coaching and sharing experiences. Black belt certification is a mix of study, projects and relevant work experience.