An Open Letter to Aspiring Six Sigma Belts

A photo of Thomas Pyzdek
Thomas Pyzdek

My name is Thomas Pyzdek. I started my work in quality and process improvement over 50 years ago. I loved it then, and I still love it today. If you choose to join my profession then you are embarking on an exciting career. You will help people and organizations become better at what they do. The pursuit of excellence is a win for you, your employer, your customers, and society as a whole.

By creating more value with fewer resources you even get to help the planet. And the financial rewards you will receive are nothing to sneeze at either. Based on an ASQ salary survey, people who are certified Six Sigma Black Belts earned an average of $102K per year, versus $85K for their non-certified counterparts, that’s a difference of over $16,500 per year. That exceeds the value of most college degrees. And you can get fully trained online as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with a time commitment equivalent to about 1 semester of classes. Other Belt levels take even less time. It all costs only a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, compared to the six figures you’ll need to spend to obtain a college degree. You can even get convenient payment plans.

Why Six Sigma Belts are Worth the Extra Pay

Of course, employers are willing to pay this difference because a Six Sigma Belt is worth it to them. A typical Six Sigma Black Belt will deliver $1 million per year in improvements. To accomplish this they must learn many things which make it possible for them to successfully complete improvement projects. Over the years I have coached Six Sigma Belts on thousands of successful projects. I am often called in to help organizations when their Six Sigma projects get “stuck.” By comparing successful projects and unsuccessful projects I determined the root causes of project failure and figured out a unique way to avoid it. I developed an entirely new approach to executing the Six Sigma “Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control” (DMAIC) cycle. My approach partitions DMAIC into a detailed series of smaller, goal-oriented steps, making it far more likely that your projects will be successful. All Pyzdek Institute training is organized using this framework, so our graduates are confident that they can avoid the traps and pitfalls that ensnare so many other Six Sigma Belts.

You Get What You Pay For With Six Sigma Training

Although the cost of my training is competitive, it isn’t the cheapest on the market. I have been tempted to try to match my cheap competitors’ prices, but they offer training at a fraction of what it costs me just to provide my students with the software licenses, textbooks and Master Black Belt support students need to learn and succeed. And they promise to make you a certified belt in a fraction of the time that I believe is necessary to teach you what you need to know. Many will even certify you based on a simulated pretend project, or even with no project at all. Most employers consider anyone who has never completed a single project to be untested and not ready for certification.

I could compete with them, but only by rushing you through the training, or by giving you less than you need to be fully trained and qualified. As someone committed to excellence, I refuse to make compromises that sacrifice the quality of your training. After all, what difference is the initial cost of training compared to the enhanced lifetime enjoyment (not to mention earnings) you’ll receive from it?

Your Payoff

Imagine this, you get brand X training and list it on your resume. One day you answer the phone and on the other end is a Master Black Belt (let’s make it a “he” for simplicity.) Chances are, like most Lean Six Sigma professionals, he has my Six Sigma Handbook on his bookshelf. After all, it has been the standard textbook in the field since 2001. But you got your training elsewhere. The Master Black Belt asks where. He’s never heard of it. The quality of training offered on the Internet is uneven, to put it kindly. The Master Black Belt must now determine what you did—and didn’t—learn. He starts asking questions: What tools, statistical and otherwise, did you use and why? We use Minitab here, what software did you learn to use during your training? Tell me about your certification project. How did you engage your sponsor? What process did you use to select and recruit team members? What about your tollgate reviews? Etc.

If you graduate from The Pyzdek Institute you will be ready when that call comes. The author of your training is the author of the Master Black Belt’s textbook, so you have instant credibility. Your training provider and curriculum are accredited by the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC,) and The Six Sigma Council, the only two accrediting organizations focused on Lean Six Sigma. You have completed a project that you presented to me or a Master Black Belt in a live online meeting, so you’ll be comfortable discussing it with the Master Black Belt on the phone or the other side of the desk. You will be intimately familiar with a new, more effective approach to deploying DMAIC, something even the Master Black Belt doesn’t know about because it’s not yet taught anywhere other than in our training. You will have used the de facto standard software for Lean Six Sigma, Minitab, on dozens of practice problems and on your project. The Master Black Belt will know that you can make an immediate contribution to his organization’s success without needing a software course or additional training to fill in the gaps. Given the choice of candidates who have had Brand X training and Pyzdek Institute training, whom do you think will get the job?

So I encourage you to join those of us committed to the pursuit of excellence. Of course, I hope that you will choose The Pyzdek Institute to help you achieve your goals. Best wishes for success!


Thomas Pyzdek's signature

Thomas Pyzdek, Author of The Six Sigma Handbook

Recognition Without a Project

When you finish the training we award you an online Bronze Certificate, and when you pass the exam you receive an online Silver Certificate. Many employers want you to complete your certification project with them anyway and consider these levels of recognition to be sufficient for their purposes. Of course, if you also complete a project, we will award you full certification from The Pyzdek Institute.