isssp understanding accreditation

For students that are looking for Lean Six Sigma training, provider accreditation is an important criterion to consider. There are several key questions regarding accreditation. Is accreditation important? Are all accreditations the same? Yes, accreditation can be a way to find a quality program. Unfortunately, this designation is not always a determination of a quality program. There are some accreditations that mean nothing, because the process to be accredited is not thorough.

Trusted Accreditation Providers

So, how do you separate the good accredited providers from the bad?

The most important thing to look at is the accrediting body. Is the accrediting body a for-profit or non-profit organization? While both types can provide excellent accrediting services, there are some for-profit organizations that only require a passing grade on an exam for Lean Six Sigma belt certifications. Non-profit organizations are more legally controlled and may, as a result, take a stricter view of accreditation requirements.

What are some examples of non-profit organizations that offer accreditation for training providers? There are a number of these organizations, but two that are very well known in the professional training arena are the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). Not only are both organizations non-profit, but they have demonstrated their dedication to quality training programs and providers for years by requiring an extensive accreditation process and maintaining high standards. As a non-profit, ISSSP is working to achieve the high standards of these two widely accepted organizations. Therefore, we have incorporated elements of both of these organizations to create a thorough Accreditation process that fits the Six Sigma/Operational Excellence industry. This process started by forming an Accreditation Advisory Committee made up of volunteer ISSSP members.

What is Accreditation?

What does accreditation mean? According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE):

"Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards by a third party. When in compliance with these standards, it is awarded recognition."

The ICE site lists 3 values of accreditation, which are:

  • Enables credentialing organizations to demonstrate to profession it represents, and to general public its certificants serve, that their program has met the stringent standards set by the credentialing community.
  • Enhances a program's credibility and legitimacy by providing impartial, third party oversight of a conformity assessment system.
  • Provides organizations with a way to answer the question "who reviewed your certificate/certification program?", a question often posed by members of an occupation, employers, and sometimes, the courts.

There hasn't been an accrediting organization, which has been recognized by ICE as meeting these qualifications for accreditation in the Six Sigma industry. In fact, there standards are very difficult for most organizations. ISSSP hopes to apply for ICE accreditation as soon as we are able to do so. In the meantime, PMI Registered Education Provider and IACET Accredited Providers of Continuing Education status was the only way to know if a Six Sigma training organization provided a reasonable program that meets the standards of these organizations. The organization that has undergone scrutiny by one of these organizations has had their training, processes, instructors, and materials reviewed. This is a great beginning, but neither of these organizations are focused on what makes up a successful Six Sigma training/certification program. While there are not any Global Standards for Six Sigma training, there is a general understanding among the hiring personnel, industries that use the methodology, and the quality training programs that exist, regarding the general skills required for individuals to successfully conduct themselves at the belt level completed. For instance, a student trying to earn a Six Sigma Green Belt certification would have the training needed to demonstrate their skill by successfully completing a real world green belt level project, which has been approved, mentored, and reviewed by a Master Black Belt.

Therefore, an organization that provides students with this level of training and certification should be considered as a potential provider, whether they are accredited by PMI, IACET and/or any other Lean Six Sigma accrediting organization. It is hard for the layman/laywoman, who is knew to Six Sigma, to understand what a Lean Six Sigma organization should require for a proper combination of training and project completion for any given certification? Learn more about project-based accreditation.

ISSSP is dedicated to helping our members find quality training programs without the frustration and concern regarding the quality of the certification you earn. First, the ISSSP Board agreed that it was time to do something about the "wild west" atmosphere that has been swirling around Lean Six Sigma training and certification. It began with a meeting to change the organization's Bylaws to include ISSSP's Accreditation of Lean Six Sigma training and certification organizations. The vote to make the necessary Bylaw changes, as well as a second vote to create an ISSSP volunteer Accreditation Advisory Committee were both unanimous. Not long after the Board meeting, a group of four ISSSP member volunteers, who are respected in the Six Sigma community, were approved to be on the Accreditation Advisory Committee. These individuals worked with the Accreditation Team to come up with basic guidelines that any training organization must meet to become an Accredited Training Organization (ATO).

As ISSSP launched our Accreditation program on November 14, 2019, we want the general public to know what the criteria for an ISSSP Accredited Training Organization is. This information will provide individuals seeking training the ability to see the process that an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) must undergo before they are awarded ATO status. It can also be used to consider organizations that are not accredited, since there may not be an ATO in your area. As the only non-profit offering Lean Six Sigma Accredited Training Organization status, we want to provide our members with as much transparency as possible.

  1. Training Day Equivalents
  2. Minimum ATO Requirements
  3. ISSSP Standards for Accredited Training Organizations

Remember, an accredited training provider label is only as good as the organization that offers it. You should always do your due diligence regarding the training organization and the accrediting body. Learning the details about both will ensure that you find a quality training program that will enhance your Six Sigma career.  You may learn What is an ATO? on this site. You may also view the application process required to apply for and earn accreditation. We hope this will make your decision regarding training providers easier.