General Questions

Is IASSC really an independent third-party certification body?

Yes. IASSC was formed in 2009 because no other association within the Lean Six Sigma industry offered certification without also offering training. IASSC does not provide Lean Six Sigma related training, mentoring, coaching or consulting services. IASSC exclusively offers Certification & Accreditation services based on established, recognized and published criteria. None of which are dependent upon the use or engagement with any specific trainer(s), training provider(s), consultant(s), proprietary training content, products or software or any specific organization or company offering Lean Six Sigma or any other services. Offering training to candidates, particularly on a commercial level, along with self-defined certification criteria creates a potential conflict of interest, see “second-party certification”.

The IASSC Certification exam criteria are dependent only upon the successful completion of an IASSC Certification exam, nothing else. Anyone may sit for an IASSC certification exam, there are no other dependencies or prerequisites. The IASSC Certification Exams are based on the IASSC Body of Knowledge. Successful completion of an IASSC Certification exam results in IASSC Lean Six Sigma Certification.

The IASSC Accreditations are dependent only upon satisfactory alignment to the Accreditation criteria defined for each Accreditation. Any trainer or organization can apply for IASSC Accreditation, if they meet the criteria, they will achieve IASSC Accreditation. More detail about Accreditation and how it relates to Certification can be found here, Important information about IASSC Accreditation, Accredited Entities and Certification.

Why is an independent third-party certification important?

Third-party certification is a method of certification that is independently developed and verified thereby reducing conflict of interest and providing significant meaning. The classifications of certification methods are:

First-party certification, is a self-declaration. “I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt because I meet the criteria which I have defined and therefore I can say that I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Second-party certification, is when a company or training provider creates its own verification program for candidate certification. “I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt because I meet the criteria defined by the organization that provided my training.

Third-party certification verifies that a product, process or service meets a defined standard. “I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt because I meet the criteria defined by an impartial association that maintains a universal standard.

Historically second-party certification has been the norm in the Lean Six Sigma Industry. However, now more and more people, training providers and organizations, are utilizing and incorporating IASSC’s third-party certifications.

Certification Questions

What is IASSC Certification?

IASSC Certification is a globally recognized Lean Six Sigma Certification. IASSC has been conducting Professional Credentialing in Lean Six Sigma based on our mission of bringing Certification Best Practices to the industry since 2009. At the start of 2018 more than 7000 professionals have earned an IASSC Certification.

If a professional has been certified by IASSC, it means the professional has successfully demonstrated their competence in the subject matters as determined by professionally developed examinations based on the IASSC Bodies of Knowledge.

Certified Professionals are issued a Certificate (PDF) along with a Certification Number, a badge (.png file), added to the Official IASSC Certification Register and granted the right to use the IASSC Certification Marks and Titles; as professional designation which may be used in resumes and public profiles such as LinkedIn, consistent with the IASSC Marks Use Policy.

What Certifications does IASSC Offer?

IASSC™ offers three Lean Six Sigma Certifications. IASSC Black Belt Certification™, IASSC Green Belt Certification™, IASSC Yellow Belt Certification™.

How much do the IASSC exams cost?

The cost for the IASSC Certified Black Belt Exam is $395 USD. The cost for the IASSC Certified Green Belt Exam is $295 USD. The cost for the IASSC Certified Yellow Belt Exam is $195 USD. Authorized Exam Administrators and Authorized Exam Distributors receive the following reduced pricing which accounts for Proctor Fees, Volume & Bulk Purchase discounts, view.



What is the format of the exams?

All exam questions are multiple choice and true/false.

How long are the exams?

IASSC Exam Candidates are allowed up to 4 hours for the IASSC Certified Black Belt Exam, up to 3 hours for the IASSC Certified Green Belt Exam and up to 2 hours for the IASSC Certified Yellow Belt Exam.

Do some Certification Exams contain extra non-graded questions?

Some exams contain additional non-graded questions that will not impact your score. These questions change on a regular basis and we do not signify which questions they are but they will not count either towards or against your score. These non-graded questions are put in place to help thwart cheating and to test the performance of exam questions. The Black Belt Exam contains 150 questions and may also include up to an additional 15 non-graded questions. The Green Belt Exam contains 100 questions and may also include up to an additional 10 non-graded questions. The Yellow Belt Exam contains 60 questions and may also include up to an additional 6 non-graded questions. The Lean Expert Exam contains 110 questions and may also include up to an additional 11 non-graded questions. The Lean Leader Exam contains 90 questions and may also include up to an additional 9 non-graded questions. The Lean Practitioner Exam contains 50 questions and may also include up to an additional 5 non-graded questions.

Are the exams open book?

No. IASSC provides a Reference Document in either paper or electronic form, subject to which form of the exam, paper or computer-based. This document contains all formulas and tables that may be needed during the examination. Scratch paper is also furnished to candidates but must be destroyed prior to leaving the testing facility.

What are the permitted resources to use during an IASSC Certification Exam?

(1) Blank scratch paper which must be destroyed after exam session. (2) The IASSC Reference Document which will be available as a download during the startup steps of your exam session. Do not attempt to bring this document with you to your exam session. (3) A non-programable standard four function calculator or a non-programable scientific calculator, such as the SHARP EL 501XBWH, TI-34, TI-30X and Casio FX-115 are permitted. Graphing & Programmable Calculators such as the TI-83, TI-84 and Casio FX9750 or FX5800P, are not permitted. View Example Calculators. Additionally, calculators on cell phones and Software Program Calculators such as Minitab & SigmaXL are not permitted.

Are there any pre-requisites to sit for the exams?

IASSC™ Certification Exams are professionally developed to assess a person’s knowledge as it relates to the subjects defined in the IASSC Bodies of Knowledge™. While things such as work experience and project application experience are helpful in obtaining the knowledge required to successfully complete the exams they are not requirements.

The sole objective of the IASSC Certified Black Belt™ Exam, IASSC Certified Green Belt™ Exam and IASSC Certified Yellow Belt™ Exam is to measure the examinee’s knowledge. This is in alignment with the best practices of many professional credentialing certification standards. For more information about IASSC’s position on this topic view the IASSC Position.

How many times can I retake the exams?

If you do not achieve a passing score on an IASSC Examination on your first attempt, a 2nd sitting for the same examination may not be undertaken within two weeks of the first sitting. A 3rd sitting may not be undertaken within three months of the first sitting. Any subsequent sittings must be at least three months apart from the most recent failed sitting.

Each IASSC exam voucher is only valid for one attempt at an exam. If you do no pass, you will need to purchase another exam voucher if you wish to retake it.

ATA application candidates are allowed only 1 retake attempt. ATA candidates that have failed both their original exam attempt and their retake can reapply for Accreditation 6 months after the original application submittal but not before.

I’m ready to get certified, what next?

We offer a number of methods for certification testing. Review our How to Get Certified page in order to determine the method that best suites you.

I want to get IASSC Certified but need training first, what should I know?

IASSC is an independent third-party certifier and as such does not provide training. IASSC has established an Accreditation Program to assist learners in their search for Lean Six Sigma Educators. First, read all of the FAQs associated with CERTIFICATION & ACCREDITED PROVIDERS, then review important information about IASSC Accreditation, Accredited Entities and Certification then search IASSC Accredited Providers.

Can I certify from another country?

Yes. The IASSC Certification Exams are offered by IASSC’s Official Examination Institute, The PeopleCert Group and PearsonVue, an examination administrator, and are available in 165 countries within a network of more than 8,000 Testing Centers worldwide. Click here to search for a locations. You may also choose to conduct your certification exam via our On-Demand Web-Based testing method.

Why has IASSC elected to not have project experience a part of their Certification requirements?

IASSC™ has made multiple and sincere efforts to create a viable “application ability assessment”; or, what is commonly referred to in the industry as a “project requirement”. However, to date, it has been determined that there are no viable means of including this form of assessment in the IASSC Certification requirements.

The issues for project acceptability are: defining “minimum qualifying tools application,” minimum key metric improvement, minimum standards for improvement sustenance as well as a number of other metrics applicable to a Lean Six Sigma project. A method of validating compliance with each key metric could not be established. Therefore, as is foundational to Six Sigma, if the Measurement System cannot be established to an acceptable degree of accuracy and precision, then nothing of value can be said about the issue.

In addition to these concerns, there were the potential, and likely, proprietary nature of the information contained in the LSS projects and the sponsoring organization’s reluctance to allow such projects to be submitted in a format whereby their substance could be assessed. While acceptance of a Project Summary or a Project Affidavit (as is accepted by the American Society for Quality) were considered, it was concluded there is no viable means of assuring the validity of such a submittal therefore IASSC could make no definitive statement as to the candidate’s competency based on such a submittal.

With all these issues considered extensively and exhaustively it is IASSC’s official position that it is capable of commenting solely on one’s knowledge relative to the IASSC Bodies of Knowledge™ and not on an evaluation of their ability to apply such knowledge to a project. That will have to be assessed through other mechanisms. For detailed information on our position as it pertains to projects please see the IASSC Position.

I want to get IASSC Certified but need training first, what should I know?

IASSC™ is an independent third-party certifier and as such does not provide training. IASSC has established an Accreditation Program to assist learners in their search for Lean Six Sigma Educators. First, read all of the FAQs associated with CERTIFICATION & ACCREDITED PROVIDERS, then review important information about IASSC Accreditation, Accredited Entities and Certification then, if you choose, search IASSC Accredited Providers™.

Accreditation Questions

What is IASSC Accreditation?

If a business or professional trainer has been accredited by IASSC™ it means IASSC has determined they meet certain Lean Six Sigma best-practice standards and criteria established by IASSC. Each Accreditation has its own standards and criteria. Entities and Trainers earn IASSC Accreditation by voluntarily applying for the Accreditation and furnishing evidence to prove alignment to the standards. IASSC conducts reasonable due diligence to ensure alignment to the IASSC Accreditation standards prior to granting Accreditation. For additional information about IASSC Accreditation review the ATO, ATA, ADP and ACP Accreditation Standards along with Important information about IASSC Accreditation, Accredited Entities and Certification.

What Accreditations does IASSC Offer?

IASSC offers a total of four Accreditations. The IASSC Accredited Training Organization (ATO), IASSC Accredited Training Associate (ATA), IASSC Accredited Accredited Deployment Program (ADP), IASSC Accredited Curriculum Provider (ACP). See all IASSC Accredited Providers.

What are the benefits of becoming an IASSC Accredited Provider?

IASSC recognizes the critical aspects of certification best-practices and the importance of the linkage between Lean Six Sigma Training Providers and learners seeking IASSC Certification. IASSC is a Professional Credentialing Association and independent third-party certifier. Therefore we do not provide Lean Six Sigma Training Services. Accreditation affords Lean Six Sigma Providers an opportunity to take a meaningful step towards validating the alignment of their training programs with the knowledge elements required and tested for in IASSC Certification. Accreditation provides learners with valuable input in their search for Lean Six Sigma Providers. A full list of benefits are shown here; ATO, ATA, ADP, ACP and we recommend that you review Important information about IASSC Accreditation, Accredited Entities and Certification.

Why does IASSC provide Accreditations?

IASSC Accreditations were introduced in late 2010 and are offered to the Lean Six Sigma Marketplace at the general request of both training providers and those seeking lean six sigma educational services. Training and Product Providers who voluntarily align to the IASSC Body of Knowledge have requested that IASSC provide a means of verification of such. Similarly, those seeking lean six sigma education have requested that IASSC provide options for learning lean six sigma that aligns to the IASSC Certification standards. In an attempt to satisfy these requests in an unbiased manner, IASSC Accreditations have been established. IASSC universally and impartially applies Accreditation criteria to all providers seeking IASSC Accreditation. IASSC Accreditation criteria is not dependent upon any specific trainer(s), consultant(s), training content, software or any third-party organization or company offering these or any other services other than that which is specified in the defined criteria.

What is The PeopleCert Groups role in IASSC accreditations?

The PeopleCert Group is the exclusive and official Examination Institute of IASSC since 2010. The PeopleCert Group assists in various activities associated with IASSC Certifications and Accreditations. During the IASSC Accreditation process applicants may be in direct contact with qualified representative from the PeopleCert Group who may help facilitate certain aspects of your IASSC Accreditation.

We would like to get Accredited but do not offer all three belt levels, is this preventative?

Not necessarily, IASSC will consideration accreditation for whatever belt level(s) you offer. This will be noted on your Accreditation profile.

For what period of time is Accreditation issued?

The ATO, ADP and ACP accreditations are valid for a period of two (2) years for the month of issue. The ATA accreditation is valid for a period of three (3) years from the month of issue. Accreditations are renewed by the submittal of an application with the current information, payment of the then current Accreditation Fee and submittal of evidence of meeting the criteria.

How long does the Accreditation process typically take?

As a general rule the process will take approximately four (4) weeks. However, the length of time to process an accreditation application is subject to the information submitted. If all is in order and submitted in a timely fashion the process can be as short as two (2) weeks. If additional information is necessary or an ATA candidate delays sitting for the certification qualification exam then the time period is extended.

Are there alternatives for an IASSC affiliation if we do not meet the Accreditation criteria?

Yes, there are multiple alternatives available to make IASSC Certifications a part of your own training and certification programs.  You can simply request Exam Vouchers for On-Demand Web-based Exam Delivery to be used with your training candidates. Additionally, there is an option to qualify for the Exam Administration Program. There is no fee associated with this program and if approved it allows you to administer the IASSC paper-based exams. Contact Us to learn more.

Certification & Accredited Providers

What does it mean to be IASSC Accredited?

Entities and Trainers earn IASSC Accreditation by applying for Accreditation and furnishing evidence to prove alignment to the Accreditation standards and criteria detailed here; ATO, ATA, ADP, ACP. IASSC conducts what it believes to be reasonable due diligence to ensure alignment to the IASSC Accreditation standards prior to granting Accreditation. We recommend you familiarize yourself with the Accreditation criteria and that you do not rely solely on an IASSC Accreditation in your selection of a training provider. Employers, organizations and candidates should exercise the same caution they do when soliciting products and services from any vendor. If you have concerns with an IASSC Accredited Provider we encourage you to contact IASSC Support and we will investigate. Accredited Providers found to be in violation of the IASSC Code of Conduct are subject to the IASSC Disciplinary Policy.

If I earn a Certification from an IASSC Accredited Provider will I be IASSC Certified?

It depends. If the Provider administers or provides access to an IASSC Certification exam and you sit for and pass the official IASSC Certification exam you will be IASSC Certified. However, not all Accredited entities or Trainers administer or provide access to IASSC Certification exams AND the Accreditation of an entity does not constitute IASSC’s approval or recognition of that entity’s own lean six sigma certificate or certification program. If you are pursuing training with the intention to earn an IASSC Certification we strongly encourage you to confirm with the Provider in advance that they are authorized to and will administer or provide access to official IASSC Certification exams. If you have any doubts or would like to verify claims made by Accredited or non-accredited parties relative to IASSC, IASSC Certification or IASSC Certification Exams, we encourage you to contact IASSC Support.

Do I have to receive training from an IASSC Accredited Entity in order to earn IASSC Certification?

No. No preferential treatment is afforded to candidates who obtain training, coaching, mentoring or products from an IASSC Accredited Entity or Trainer. Furthermore, earning an IASSC Certification does not require that you obtain services from an Accredited Provider or Trainer. There are no pre-requisites to sit for an IASSC Black Belt, Green Belt or Yellow Belt Certification exam. You are not required to purchase any product from an Accredited or any particular Non-Accredited Provider in order to access an IASSC Certification exam. Vouchers for IASSC Certification exams can be purchased from the IASSC Processing Center; access is non-discriminatory and not unreasonably withheld.

What process should I follow if I have a complaint about an IASSC Accredited Provider?

Please contact us with any inquiry or concern relative to an accredited entity. IASSC will conduct an investigation Accredited Providers found to be in violation of the IASSC Code of Conduct are subject to the IASSC Disciplinary Policy which can include termination.

Body of Knowledge Questions

What is the IASSC Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge?

The IASSC Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge™ is an assembly of a comprehensive set of topics and subject matters that are intended to be representations of the universally and commonly accepted, minimum competencies and core proficiencies requisite of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. For more information see the IASSC Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge.


What is the difference between the ASQ and IASSC Body of Knowledge?

By various measures, the IASSC and ASQ Lean Six Sigma Standards and Certifications are both widely respected, recognized and utilized across the Lean Six Sigma Industry. The differences in the Bodies of Knowledge becomes apparent when comparing the two standards. The ASQ Body of Knowledge defines areas outside of what IASSC believes the industry considers standard knowledge requirements for a designated practitioner.  For example, these areas include, Enterprise Wide Deployment and DFSS, among others. However the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) components of the IASSC & ASQ Bodies of Knowledge are almost identical. Additionally, in terms of certification criteria, ASQ requires an affidavit of project completion be submitted for consideration of Black Belt and Green Belt Certification. IASSC provides knowledge based certification exams and does not have a project requirement, nor does it recognize the legitimacy of an affidavit to satisfy a project requirement. Additional information relative to IASSC’s position on project requirements for certification can be found here and here.

Where can I find the Lean Six Sigma Body of Knowledge?

These are available on the Black Belt Body of Knowledge page, the Green Belt Body of Knowledge page and the Yellow Belt Body of Knowledge page. Please keep in mind that the Body of Knowledge is simply a list of the subject matter that is covered in each certification exam.

Miscellaneous Questions

What is Psychometrics?

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of educational and psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits. The field is primarily concerned with the study of measurement instruments such as questionnaires and tests. It involves two major research tasks: (i) the construction of instruments and procedures for measurement; and (ii) the development and refinement of theoretical approaches to measurement.

What is Blooms Taxonomy?

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Bloom found that over 95% of the test questions students encounter require them to think only at the lowest possible level…the recall of information.

Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain from the simple recall or recognition of facts, at the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels, to the highest order that is classified as evaluation.

These levels are from “Levels of Cognition” (from Bloom’s Taxonomy – Revised, 2001). They are listed in order from the least complex to the most complex.

Remember (Lowest)
Recalling memorized information. May involve remembering a wide range of material from specific facts to complete theories, but all that is required is the bringing to mind of the appropriate information. Represents the lowest level of learning outcomes in the cognitive domain.
Learning objectives at this level: know common terms, know specific facts, know methods and procedures, know basic concepts, know principles.
Question verbs: Define, list, state, identify, label, name, who? when? where? what?

The ability to grasp the meaning of material. Translating material from one form to another (words to numbers), interpreting material (explaining or summarizing), estimating future trends (predicting consequences or effects). Goes one step beyond the simple remembering of material, and represent the lowest level of understanding.
Learning objectives at this level: understand facts and principles, interpret verbal material, interpret charts and graphs, translate verbal material to mathematical formulae, estimate the future consequences implied in data, justify methods and procedures.
Question verbs: Explain, predict, interpret, infer, summarize, convert, translate, give example, account for, paraphrase x?

The ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations. Applying rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories. Learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of understanding than those under comprehension.
Learning objectives at this level: apply concepts and principles to new situations, apply laws and theories to practical situations, solve mathematical problems, construct graphs and charts, demonstrate the correct usage of a method or procedure.
Question verbs: How could x be used to y? How would you show, make use of, modify, demonstrate, solve, or apply x to conditions y?

The ability to break down material into its component parts. Identifying parts, analysis of relationships between parts, recognition of the organizational principles involved. Learning outcomes here represent a higher intellectual level than comprehension and application because they require an understanding of both the content and the structural form of the material.
Learning objectives at this level: recognize unstated assumptions, recognizes logical fallacies in reasoning, distinguish between facts and inferences, evaluate the relevancy of data, analyze the organizational structure of a work (art, music, writing).
Question verbs: Differentiate, compare / contrast, distinguish x from y, how does x affect or relate to y? why? how? What piece of x is missing / needed?

The ability to put parts together to form a new whole. This may involve the production of a unique communication (theme or speech), a plan of operations (research proposal), or a set of abstract relations (scheme for classifying information). Learning outcomes in this area stress creative behaviors, with major emphasis on the formulation of new patterns or structure.
Learning objectives at this level: write a well organized paper, give a well organized speech, write a creative short story (or poem or music), propose a plan for an experiment, integrate learning from different areas into a plan for solving a problem, formulate a new scheme for classifying objects (or events, or ideas).
Question verbs: Design, construct, develop, formulate, imagine, create, change, write a short story and label the following elements:

Create (Highest)
The ability to judge the value of material (statement, novel, poem, research report) for a given purpose. The judgments are to be based on definite criteria, which may be internal (organization) or external (relevance to the purpose). The student may determine the criteria or be given them. Learning outcomes in this area are highest in the cognitive hierarchy because they contain elements of all the other categories, plus conscious value judgments based on clearly defined criteria.
Learning objectives at this level: judge the logical consistency of written material, judge the adequacy with which conclusions are supported by data, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by the use of internal criteria, judge the value of a work (art, music, writing) by use of external standards of excellence.
Question verbs: Justify, appraise, evaluate, judge x according to given criteria. Which option would be better/preferable to party y?

Is IASSC accredited by ICE or ANSI?

Currently, IASSC is a “Member” of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) and a “Full Member” of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). IASSC relies on these organizations as a trusted source of valuable information pertaining to how IASSC manages and sets policies. Both ICE & ANSI also offer Accreditation; however, IASSC has not yet applied for accreditation from either organization and is currently evaluating when it will do so.

Who owns IASSC?

In 2020, IASSC was acquired by PeopleCert, a global leader in exam delivery and the certification of professional skills. PeopleCert is dedicated to continuing IASSC’s history and tradition of being a true independent third-party certification. PeopleCert will own and operate IASSC with the mission of bringing certification best practices to the Lean Six Sigma industry.

Robert Shank and Scot Shank are the founders of IASSC. Scot Shank has a track record of establishing innovative, popular offerings into the Lean Six Sigma industry and market. For more about Scot Shank visit LinkedIn. Robert Shank is an executive with a history in the Lean Six Sigma Industry. For more about Robert Shank visit LinkedIn. Prior to acquisition, IASSC’s parent company was Red Stake, Inc., which is privately owned by Scot Shank.  Red Stake, Inc. owns a portfolio of companies, two of which are in some manner affiliated within the Lean Six Sigma Market — Open Source Six Sigma LLC (“OSSS”) and SixGrid LLC (“SixGrid”). OSSS publishes and licenses courseware. However, like IASSC, OSSS does not provide Lean Six Sigma related training, mentoring and coaching, or consulting services in any manner whatsoever. Additionally, use of the OSSS courseware is not required or encouraged in order to achieve IASSC Accreditation or Certification. SixGrid is a project management software application that is used by practitioners to track and manage Lean Six Sigma projects and programs. Additionally, use of SixGrid software is not required or encouraged in order to achieve IASSC Accreditation or Certification. The IASSC Accreditation and Certification criteria are entirely independent. IASSC is an independent third-party certification association and prides itself on the mission it has established to bring certification best practices to the Lean Six Sigma industry and market.

What is an Examination Institute, who is the PeopleCert Group and what do they do for IASSC?

An Exam Institute is an organization that is responsible for certain administrative aspects of delivering high-stakes certification exams. For example, The PeopleCert Group, IASSC’s official Examination Institute handles the coordination of candidate scheduling, exam delivery, security protocols and questions as well as candidate reporting.