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What is a Six Sigma White Belt?

What is a Six Sigma White Belt?

A white karate uniform and a white karate belt.

Last Updated March 8, 2024

The structure of Six Sigma allows members of the project team to know their responsibilities and expectations, even before a project is underway. This structure brings a grounding and stability to each new project by giving participants well-defined roles to follow.

It does this by utilizing a belt system, much like the system used in martial arts. The belt system is one of the reasons Six Sigma project teams are able to work together so well. It allows team members to know their general role in a project and what they can be expected to do.

Based on their level of training and certification, employees are assigned different belt levels that will play different roles in advancing the project. Belt levels typically include:

  • Master Black Belt – Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts. Develops key metrics and strategic direction
  • Black Belt – Leads specific Six Sigma projects, trains and coaches project teams.
  • Green Belt – Contributes to the project team with data collection and analysis
  • Yellow Belt – Participates as a team member to review process improvements that support the project
  • White Belt – Works on local problem-solving teams that support Six Sigma projects with a basic, yet solid understanding of Six Sigma

The Importance of The White Belt

All belt rankings help Six Sigma projects improve quality, including the white belt because of the supporting role it plays. The White Belt is vital to the Six Sigma process for two main reasons. First, the support that they provide is incredibly valuable in itself. Competent white belts can lend extra pairs of hands and eyes to collect data and offer proficient insight into how processes are working.

Second, the White Belt level is where all future Six Sigma practitioners are recruited and initially educated. Introducing the organization’s promising employees to Six Sigma through White Belt training could be the beginning of a great relationship for the company and for the employee.

White belt employees who show an understanding and enthusiasm for Six Sigma can be trained as Yellow Belts or Green Belts and can then attain even higher belt rankings and greater expertise if they choose to do so.

Possible Candidates For a White Belt

White Belt training is an ideal primer for Six Sigma professionals. It works best for employees who are unfamiliar with Six Sigma and want to learn more about the methodology and how it can impact an organization. White Belt training can be great for the following candidates:

  • Managers who may potentially want to apply Six Sigma methodology
  • Leaders who see the importance of quality improvement
  • Employees who work for an organization with a Six Sigma focus
  • Anyone who wishes to learn the fundamentals of Six Sigma methodology and best practices

A White Belt certification can give employees a basic working knowledge of Six Sigma in a short amount of time. Professionals can usually complete the training and certification relatively quickly. The typical Six Sigma certification course requires a few hours of online training that involves watching videos and reading specific material, then passing an exam.