Should You Get Your Six Sigma Black Belt (SSBB) from ASQ?

A couple of weeks ago, I got this email:

Comment: I am basker from NJ, and I have a PMP certification, I want to get a six sigma black belt certification — are there other certifications out there other than one from ASQ ? that you would suggest and what is the cheapest and quickest way to pass the black belt certification ?

Kind Regards,


Basker would like to know the quickest and cheapest way to get a Black Belt certification. Here are the routes I know about to obtain the certification: 1) you could go to, whose training and certification program costs about $1000, 2) you could attend the 4-week program offered by which runs about $8000, 3) you could go to Villanova and pay $7000 for their three-course package, or 4) you can study on your own, complete two projects and get a Project Champion to sign an affidavit, become an ASQ member and pay $299 to take the exam, or don’t become an ASQ member and pay $449 to take the exam.

The ASQ option is probably the quickest and cheapest if you’re good at self study, and dedicated to the task of Six Sigma problem solving. However, with the ASQ certification you also get a lot of clout. I don’t think any other organization has more than 10,000 Black Belts supporting the program, working on updates to the new exams, and keeping the curriculum current. I just personally think it’s a much more viable Black Belt designation than the other programs.

I also asked Jeanine Becker, who works at ASQ in Milwaukee and is responsible for the Six Sigma Forum, what she thought. Jeanine says:

ASQ certification is a formal recognition by ASQ that an individual has demonstrated a proficiency within, and comprehension of, a specific body of knowledge. Nearly 150,000 certifications have been issued to dedicated professionals worldwide.

Anyone can give you a “certificate” for simply attending a course, but an ASQ certification is the recognized gold standard for certification for quality professionals.  ASQ is the only third-party provider of certifications for the quality professional.   Those that are ASQ certified have the potential to earn a higher salary than their counterparts.    The majority of positions companies recruit for that require certifications specify an ASQ certification.

I totally agree. And as a result, Basker, I’d say go with the ASQ cert.


One comment

  • Hi Nicole, Found you via the ASQ Influential bloggers list and am enjoying your material! Great stuff!

    I took the Villanova Blackbelt course as well as the exam (and passed). I am also signed up for the ASQ next March for many of the reasons you mentioned. The reason I am taking that exam is largely due to the benefits you mention. However, the IASSC version has come to my attention via friends working overseas.

    Do you have any thoughts to the quality of their organization and applicability? I didn’t think this question would go over well on the ASQ forum so thought you might have some ideas!

    Thanks, Ted.

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