As Six Sigma has been rapidly gaining in popularity in the last 20 years, Six Sigma courses have been created to teach companies and individuals about the techniques. Six Sigma courses do put people through some very rigorous training.
Six Sigma is all about structure. So, the different levels of learning are symbolize by colored belts.
Six Sigma Belts
Different levels of "belts" earned by training, mirror those from the martial arts. They are used to symbolize higher or lower levels in the Six Sigma ranks.
White belts: All of these come from the initial Operational Excellence Program who show desire to learn more and make definite change in the workplace. All employees in a company that is undergoing the training are exposed to Six Sigma to begin with, so that nobody's left out of the loop. Those who show more promise become the white belts and can advance.
Yellow belts are the next level. They aren't "team leaders" but they have the skills to work on certain aspects of projects. All of a company's managers should have yellow belts as a minimum. A yellow belt's training is given in an intensive three-day course.
Green belts lead teams and work on projects regularly, but part time. A company's engineers and upper management should all be green belts. This level training lasts for two weeks. The prerequisite is often college level education.
Black belts are the ultimate project leaders. Senior engineers, executives, and supervisors should all be black belts. These lead teams and projects from concept to completion. Their training can span four to five months.
Master Black Belts. These individuals are the ultimate resources to all other Six Sigma workers. This top level personnel isn't always needed. It depends on the size of your business. The larger the business, the more likely you will need master black belts.