Online Six Sigma Degrees
Online Six Sigma training programs prepare graduates to approach business with a particular quality improvement strategy. This strategy is aimed at reducing overall costs through the increase of quality in the product. Currently, online Six Sigma training can be completed in the form of a postgraduate certificate or Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Online certificates in Six Sigma are more focused in particular Six Sigma skills, such as quantitative analysis, controlling process defects, and project management. The Six Sigma MBA, on the other hand, combines a foundation of practical business coursework with specific classes in the Six Sigma approach.
Online Six Sigma Degree Levels Available
- Certificate – One to two years to complete
- Master of Business Administration – Two to three years to complete
Online graduate certificates in Six Sigma areas provide current business professionals or those just entering the business world with an understanding of the Six Sigma approach. Often, Six Sigma certificates are broken down into Green Belt or Black Belt certificates. The Green Belt certificate is an introduction to Six Sigma for individuals who want to be part of a team that is implementing the Six Sigma approach. The Black Belt certificate includes a more in-depth curriculum than the Green Belt program and is useful for individuals that want to go on to lead Six Sigma teams.
The online MBA with a focus in Six Sigma can be a good bet for business professionals that want a wider array of practical business skills, as well as the specialized skill set of Six Sigma. The first year of the curriculum typically requires classes in economics, accounting, management, leadership, finance, and strategic decision making. During the second year of the program, students take classes in Six Sigma, such as applied statistics for managers, Six Sigma quality management, and Six Sigma for Black Belt certification.
The online Six Sigma curricula in both the certificate and the MBA discuss a similar set of skills. Students learn about the DMAIC approach, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. Students learn how to identify and quantify potential business problems; students then identify possible cause and effect relationships surrounding this problem to improve the business outcome. Six Sigma students learn how these steps apply to different projects and management settings. The Black Belt courses discuss the skills for developing project proposals and continually improving business processes.
Online certificate programs in Six Sigma often have open admissions. Applicants are only required to have a high school diploma and high school-level quantitative reasoning skills. Some certificates recommend but do not require a college degree in a business or industry area. Online MBAs do require an accredited undergraduate degree, usually with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Most do not require that this degree be in business, but programs may require undergraduate classes in statistics and economics. Some MBA programs require GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Differences between Traditional and Online Six Sigma Degree Programs
Some online Six Sigma certificates and degrees can be completed 100 percent online. Students study didactic coursework and complete mock business proposals and analyses. While some programs are available totally online, online students may miss out on the communication and leadership skills that can be developed with some onsite work. Online MBAs with Six Sigma concentrations may require onsite seminars or projects that allow students to implement Six Sigma principles. Some also require an internship in a business setting.
The online Six Sigma certificates and degrees range in tuition from $12,000 to $40,000 a year.
There is no one global accreditation body for Six Sigma. Students looking into certificates and master’s programs should look for schools with a valid institutional accreditation. MBA students can look for accreditation through three programmatic accrediting agencies – the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and the European Quality Improvement System. After completing a Six Sigma training program, graduates may choose to sit for an exam demonstrating their Six Sigma understanding. Groups like the International Association for Six Sigma Certification and American Society for Quality offer certification exams.
Choosing the Best Degree for You
Prospective students should read up on the concepts of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma (an approach that combines the concepts of Lean production and Six Sigma) before attending an online program. This way they can choose a program that is more in line with their current education level, business experience, and projected career path.