If your company is looking to streamline operations, you might hear about a few different corporate philosophies that preach heightened efficiency. One of the most popular schools of thought borrows a ranking system from martial arts to signify the progress of practitioners. While you can enroll in online programs to gain proficiency, there is no shortcut to the mastery of these techniques. Here is a brief overview of the five levels that you’ll achieve as you progress through a Six Sigma training program. White Belt Much like the novice students at a judo studio, white belts are new to the program, but that shouldn’t serve as a reason to devalue their value. A grassroots strategy is one of the best ways to implement sweeping changes in any organization, and people who are new to Six Sigma can serve as a liaison between management and the rest of your employees. These will also be the workers who will eventually rise to greater prominence in your corporate structure. Yellow Belt The next step in your progression will be the rank of yellow belt, which indicates that you have a mastery of the basic concepts of lean Six Sigma training, but you still have plenty to learn. People who have achieved this level of certification can serve in support roles, and there are no prerequisites to fulfill before sitting for the exam. Green Belt Moving up in the hierarchy, the level of green belt puts you in the upper echelon of the program to provide support to the leaders. In this role, you’ll assist with collecting data from your organization’s operations and analyzing that information to help formulate a strategy for success. To qualify for this level of Six Sigma training, you’ll need to show at least three years of relevant work experience and you’ll have to pass another examination. Black Belt At this rank, you’ll be in the top tier of Six Sigma practitioners, so you’ll need to have a complete understanding of the philosophy’s tenets. You’ll serve as the leader for your whole team, and you’ll have the final say in the decisions that will dictate the future of your organization. Before you even sit for the exam, you’ll have to demonstrate two completed projects, or substitute one project with three years of work experience in a relevant discipline. Master Black Belt When you achieve this level, you’re standing at the very top of the mountain, and it will be your responsibility to instruct future black belts in the techniques of this philosophy. To sniff this rarified air, you’ll need a minimum of five years of relevant work experience, or a track record of 10 black-belt-level projects completed and certified with affidavits. Progress Through the Levels Now that you know a bit more about the various ranks of Six Sigma training, you’ll be ready to take on the challenge of progressing to the next level. Success will require a lot of hard work and dedication, but you’ll make yourself a much more valuable employee to your current organization or any potential employers in the future.