Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) vs. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB): A Detailed Comparison

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Deciding between the ASQ Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) certifications can be challenging. Both are prestigious and offer different skill sets and career paths in quality management. This post aims to provide a detailed comparison to help students and professionals make an informed decision.


Certification Overview

CQE: Certified Quality Engineer

  • Target Audience: Professionals who understand product and service quality evaluation and control.
  • Key Focus: Developing and operating quality control systems, applying and analyzing testing and inspection procedures, using metrology and statistical methods to diagnose and correct quality control practices.

CSSBB: Certified Six Sigma Black Belt

  • Target Audience: Professionals skilled in explaining Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools.
  • Key Focus: Demonstrating team leadership, understanding team dynamics, assigning team member roles and responsibilities, and having a thorough understanding of the DMAIC model.


Examination Structure

CQE Exam

  • Format: Multiple-choice questions.
  • Details: 175-question exam with 160 scored and 15 unscored. Total appointment time is five-and-a-half hours, with 5 hours and 18 minutes of exam time

CSSBB Exam

  • Format: Multiple-choice questions.
  • Details: 165-question exam with 150 scored and 15 unscored. Total appointment time is four-and-a-half hours


Work Experience Requirements

CQE

  • Requires eight years of on-the-job experience, with a minimum of three years in a decision-making position

CSSBB

  • Requires two completed projects with signed affidavits or one completed project with a signed affidavit and three years of work experience in one or more areas of the Six Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge


Body of Knowledge Comparison

CQE Body of Knowledge Highlights:

  • Management and Leadership, including quality philosophies and foundations.
  • The Quality System, with emphasis on elements like documentation and audits.
  • Product, Process, and Service Design, focusing on design inputs and reliability.
  • Product and Process Control, covering topics like material control and acceptance sampling.
  • Continuous Improvement, including quality control and management tools.
  • Quantitative Methods and Tools, such as data collection and analysis.
  • Risk Management, which includes risk assessment and mitigation strategies

CSSBB Body of Knowledge Highlights:

  • Organization-Wide Planning and Deployment, focusing on Six Sigma and lean methodologies.
  • Organizational Process Management and Measures, including impact on stakeholders and business measures.
  • Team Management, covering team formation, facilitation, dynamics, and training.
  • Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) phases of Six Sigma projects.
  • Additional sections on Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Framework and Methodologies, highlighting common DFSS methodologies and robust designs


Conclusion

The choice between CQE and CSSBB depends on your career goals and professional experience. If you are inclined towards a broader role in quality engineering with a focus on quality systems and risk management, CQE might be the right choice. On the other hand, if your interest lies in project-based work that involves in-depth knowledge of Six Sigma methodologies and team leadership, CSSBB would be more suitable.

Both certifications are valuable in their own right and can significantly enhance your professional credentials in the field of quality management.


Posted on December 3, 2023 by  Quality Gurus


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