Generally, there is a great advantage to having a third-party certification, as one can see in any number of professional fields. However, at this time there is no consensus on what a Black or Green Belt should know, making third-party certification more difficult.

A few organizations have put forward certification tests and seek to become recognized as de facto third-party certification bodies. None have been universally accepted. These certifications are not required in addition to the ROI Black Belt certification, nor are these certifications considered a professional license, but they do offer some degree of standardization and recognition.

ROI's Black Belt training will prepare you for any of them, however our training is not a primer for these exams. In all of these exams there are some topics in each that we do not cover, since our experience is that Black Belts do not perform those functions, or in the case of ASQ's and IASSC’s certifications, that certain techniques are recognized as invalid or suboptimal. Our goal is to provide our students with what they need to perform effectively in their duties, not to the requirements of a test.

If it is required to proceed with external certification, we recommend discussing these topics with your instructor and/or by purchasing a study guide from the respective organization. A comparison is in the table below.



Number of Previous Projects

Body of Knowledge

Test Information


(1 with three years work experience)

Some invalid procedures

Second-party certification: Offered four times per year, open book, no computers, based on ASQ’s Body of Knowledge as provided in their own training



Better than ASQ

Third-party certification: CD-based test, open book, computers allowed, rigorous, based on generally accepted Body of Knowledge



Better than ASQ, though still with some outdated procedures

Third-party certification: On-demand web-based, closed-book, proctored, based on a mostly widely accepted Body of Knowledge. Includes Lean elements in the BOK.


The most well-known of these is the American Society for Quality, or ASQ. ASQ also offers Black Belt training, so they cannot be said to be a true third-party certifier. (We urge you to compare their Body of Knowledge with ours shown in the Appendix.) ASQ's Body of Knowledge is based on proprietary Six Sigma Academy training, and as such contains tools advocated by Dorian Shainin that have been known for many years to be invalid. Additionally, the ASQ test is less technically rigorous than the IQF exam, since students can't use a computer in the exam. You can learn more about ASQ’s certification process here:

The International Quality Federation (IQF) was created in response to ASQ becoming a competitor to its own members through offering one Six Sigma provider's training and Body of Knowledge as its standard. It is a true third-party certification. In our opinion, IQF has a better body of knowledge than ASQ and is more technically rigorous. Since you use a computer during the exam to analyze data, it is also a more realistic test of your skills. It does test on a couple of areas that most Black Belts usually do not perform (financial analysis in particular), and as such are not part of our training. It offers the bonus of computer-based tests which can be taken on the Black Belt's schedule and potential or current employers can easily verify certification status. However, IQF is not very well known. You can learn more about IQF's Six Sigma Black Belt Certification here:

The International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) is another third-party certifier created in the wake of ASQ offering training and certification based on proprietary training. You can learn more about them here ( The true third-party nature of this certification is appealing, however this exam is less technically rigorous given that it also prohibits the use of statistical software. Their Body of Knowledge is not as good as IQF’s and somewhat better than ASQ’s but has some outdated procedures and one invalid procedure. It does cover both Six Sigma and Lean.