The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt is a professional who can explain Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools. A Black Belt should demonstrate team leadership, understand team dynamics and assign team member roles and responsibilities.
Black belts have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) model in accordance with Six Sigma principles. They have basic knowledge of lean enterprise concepts, are able to identify non-value-added elements and activities and are able to use specific tools.
This certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), demonstrating impartial, third-party validation that the certification program has met recognized national and international credentialing industry standards for a program’s development, implementation, and maintenance. Learn more.
Candidates must have worked in a full-time, paid role. Paid intern, co-op or any other course work cannot be applied toward the work experience requirement.
Years of on-the-job experience in one or more of the areas of the CSSBB Body of Knowledge & one completed project with signed affidavit, or two completed projects with signed affidavits.
Prepare for the exam
Review a list of references that provide the basis for the exam questions. These items give you a better idea of the material covered in the exam. ASQ offers many books and training opportunities to help you prepare.
Each certification candidate is required to pass an examination that consists of multiple-choice questions that measure comprehension of the Body of Knowledge.
Computer Delivered - The CSSBB examination is a one-part, 165-question exam, and is offered in English only. 150 questions are scored and 15 are unscored. Total appointment time is four-and-a-half-hours, exam time is 4 hours and 18 minutes.
Paper and Pencil - The CSSBB examination is a one-part, 150-question, four-hour exam and is offered in English, Spanish, and Mandarin in certain locations. View available translated exams, dates and locations here.
All examinations are open book. Each participant must bring his or her own reference materials. Use of reference materials and calculators is explained in the FAQs.
If taking the exam CBT you will get your result immediately after submitting the exam. Within 3-5 business days you will receive an email confirming the result. ASQ will mail your hardcopy certificate. Delivery estimates for your certificate are 1-2 weeks (US & Canada), 6-8 weeks (International mailing).
ASQ communicates exam results for exams with updated or new Bodies of Knowledge (pilot exams) within five weeks.
If you do not pass your CBT exam you will receive a summary of your performance via email within 3-5 business days from your initial exam. For 2 years from your previous attempt you can apply at a significantly reduced "retake rate". (Please see Exam Results FAQs for additional details.)
Results for Paper-based tests will be slightly delayed.
The topics in this Body of Knowledge include additional detail in the form of subtext explanations and the cognitive level at which test questions will be written. This information will provide guidance for the candidate preparing to take the exam.
The subtext is not intended to limit the subject matter or be all-inclusive of what might be covered in an exam. It is meant to clarify the type of content to be included in the exam. The descriptor in parentheses at the end of each entry refers to the maximum cognitive level at which the topic will be tested. A complete description of cognitive levels is provided at the end of this document.
Please note: The new Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge will be tested starting with the September 2022 testing window. Examination results for the September pilot examination will be sent out four to six weeks after sitting for the exam. Compare the 2015 and 2022 CSSBB BoKs
Download the Certified Six Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge
All computer-based exams feature a basic scientific calculator on-screen in the exam. Prometric Test Center Administrators can provide you with a hand-held basic calculator upon request.
Any silent, hand-held, battery-operated calculator with no programmable memory will be permitted. Programmable calculators tend to have graphing capabilities, the ability to store text/alphanumeric data by the input of the user, and a function (fn, F1, F2, etc.) button.
Calculators such as the Texas Instruments TI-89 or similar are absolutely not allowed because they are programmable.
Prometric will provide you scratch paper and pencils.
All ASQ exams are open book and all reference materials (including all forms of notes) must be bound and remain bound during the exam.
Bound refers to material permanently bound by stitching or glue and materials fastened securely in its cover by fasteners, which penetrate all papers (i.e., ring binders, spiral binders, plastic snap binders, brads, or screw posts).
Manually or hand-stapled documents that are not securely fastened in their covers are not allowed.
Before you enter the exam room, the Test Center Administrator (TCA) will inspect all references. "Post-Its" will be permitted as book tabs only (must be attached prior to entering the test center).
If you wish to change your exam appointment date or time, you must do so at least five days prior to your appointment using the Reschedule/Cancel option on Prometric's website, or by contacting Prometric's automated voice response system. There is a $100 fee for changing an appointment. Failure to appear for your exam appointment will result in a loss of all applications fees.
*Please note: For candidates taking a translated, paper-based exam in China, all reschedules and cancellations must be completed at least 45 days prior to your examination date.
Items strictly prohibited in the exam area: hand-stapled materials, blank writing tablets or tablets containing blank pages, unbound tablets, unbound notes, slide charts and/or wheel charts (hand-held cardboard or plastic calculating devices with rotating or sliding pieces).
Application Process & Timeline
1. Submit your application:
Application review takes 1-2 business days for online applications and 3-5 for hardcopy applications.
2. ASQ Review:
After ASQ completes the review process you will receive an approval notification via email or a "hold" message explaining that more information is needed for your application to be approved. If it is determined that you do not meet exam requirements, you will receive a refund minus a $100 processing fee.
3. Testing Options a. Computer-Based Testing, CBT:
1-2 business days after you receive your approval notification, you will receive an eligibility email containing instructions on how to schedule your exam with our testing provider Prometric.
b. Paper-Based Testing, PBT:
If you have registered for a Paper-based or translated exam you will not receive an eligibility email. Instead you will receive a seating letter with your exam date, time, and location approximately 2 weeks before your exam date.
4. Schedule your exam with Prometric:
Schedule your exam appointment in the testing window you chose at the time of application.