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Top 10 Lean Consultant Certifications

This article outlines the top certifications for lean consultants, providing an overview of the requirements, benefits and costs associated with each.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a lean consultant in the job market because they demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the field. Employers want to know that their consultants have the necessary qualifications and experience to provide quality results. Certifications are also a way for potential clients to identify qualified professionals who can help them achieve their goals. Certified lean consultants can command higher salaries and have more opportunities for advancement. In addition, certifications give lean consultants credibility, as employers can be confident that they have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully complete projects. Finally, certifications provide recognition within the industry and can open doors to new career opportunities.

This article reviews the highest-ranking certifications for Lean Consultants and describes how they can help to advance a Lean Consultant's career.

What are Lean Consultant Certifications?

Lean consultant certification is an internationally recognized certification program that provides professionals with the knowledge and skills to identify and eliminate waste in their organization's operations. Lean is a systematic approach to eliminating wasteful activities, reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction. The Lean Consultant Certification program teaches individuals about the principles of lean and how to apply them in their work environment.

The certification helps professionals gain a deeper understanding of lean principles, tools, and techniques. It teaches them how to identify areas of waste, develop solutions for eliminating or reducing waste, as well as how to measure and monitor results. The program also covers topics such as problem solving, root cause analysis, process improvement methods, change management strategies, communication skills, data collection and analysis techniques.

Having a Lean Consultant Certification enables professionals to become better problem-solvers who are able to more effectively contribute to the success of their organizations. It gives them the skills necessary to lead successful process improvement initiatives that create value for customers while improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Pro Tip: When seeking a lean consultant certification, research the credentials of the certifying organization to ensure that it is both reputable and recognized by your industry. Also, look for programs that provide hands-on experience and mentorship from experienced professionals in order to maximize the value of your certification.

Related: What does a Lean Consultant do?

Top 10 Lean Consultant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Lean Consultants today.

1. Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual's ability to use the Lean Six Sigma methodology to improve business processes. It is designed for professionals who want to become experts in process improvement and quality management.

The certification requires a minimum of two years of experience in Lean Six Sigma, as well as completion of a rigorous training program. The program usually consists of online courses, classroom instruction, and hands-on projects. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive their Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification.

The length of time it takes to get certified depends on the type of training program chosen. Most programs are completed within six months to one year, but some may take longer depending on the complexity of the material being covered.

To get certified, individuals must first complete the required training program and pass an examination administered by an accredited organization or institution. After passing the exam, they will receive their certification and be able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in Lean Six Sigma methods.

The cost of obtaining a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification varies depending on the type of training program chosen and other factors such as location and duration. Generally speaking, most programs range from $2,000 - $10,000 USD.

2. Lean Manufacturing Certification

Lean Manufacturing Certification is a certification program designed to help organizations improve their manufacturing processes. It focuses on eliminating waste and improving efficiency, quality and cost in the production process. The certification is based on the Lean Six Sigma methodology and provides a comprehensive view of Lean principles and practices.

The certification typically takes around two months to complete, depending on the program you choose. To get certified, you must first complete an approved course or training program. These courses are offered by various organizations, including universities, professional associations, and private companies. After completing the course, you must pass an exam to receive your certification.

The cost of Lean Manufacturing Certification varies depending on the provider and type of program chosen. Some programs may cost as little as $500 while others may cost up to $2,000 or more. Additionally, some providers offer discounts for groups or multiple certifications.

Once certified, you will have access to resources such as webinars and workshops that can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices in lean manufacturing processes. You will also gain recognition from employers who value individuals with this type of certification.

3. Certified Lean Practitioner (CLP)

Certified Lean Practitioner (CLP) is a certification program offered by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). It is designed for professionals who want to become proficient in the principles and practices of lean thinking. The certification requires individuals to demonstrate their understanding of lean concepts and tools, as well as their ability to apply them in real-world situations.

The CLP program consists of two components: an online course and an onsite assessment. The online course takes approximately 20 hours to complete, and covers topics such as lean fundamentals, value stream mapping, kaizen events, 5S implementation, problem solving techniques, and more. After completing the course, participants must take an onsite assessment at an LEI-approved location. This assessment includes a written exam and practical exercises that test the participant’s knowledge and skills.

To obtain the CLP certification, participants must pass both the online course and onsite assessment with a score of 80% or higher. The cost of the program varies depending on where it is taken; however, it typically ranges from $1,500-$2,000 USD.

4. Certified Lean Expert (CLE)

Certified Lean Expert (CLE) is a certification program offered by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). The program provides comprehensive training and assessment for professionals in the field of lean manufacturing and management. It is designed to help individuals develop the skills needed to lead successful lean initiatives.

The CLE program consists of four courses: Introduction to Lean, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen Events, and Standardized Work. Each course is taught over two days and requires approximately 40 hours of instruction time. The courses are usually offered as a series, but can also be taken individually.

To become certified as a Certified Lean Expert, individuals must complete all four courses and pass an exam at the end of each course. They must also demonstrate mastery of the material through hands-on exercises and projects. After completing all four courses, individuals will receive their CLE certification from LEI.

The cost for the entire CLE program varies depending on where you take it, but typically ranges from $2,500 to $4,000 USD.

5. Certified Kaizen Facilitator (CKF)

Certified Kaizen Facilitator (CKF) is a certification program designed to train individuals in the principles and practices of Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement. The program is offered by the Kaizen Institute, an international organization that provides consulting and training services related to Kaizen.

The CKF program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person workshop. The online course covers topics such as the history of Kaizen, the principles of Kaizen, how to create a culture of continuous improvement, and how to implement successful Kaizen projects. The in-person workshop includes hands-on exercises and activities that help participants apply their knowledge in real world situations.

It typically takes 8–10 weeks to complete the CKF program, depending on the individual’s availability and progress through the course material. To get certified, participants must pass both parts of the program with a minimum score of 80%.

The cost for the CKF program varies depending on location but generally ranges from $3,500-$4,500 USD including all materials and fees for both parts of the program.

6. Certified Value Stream Mapping Professional (CVMP)

Certified Value Stream Mapping Professional (CVMP) is a certification program designed to help professionals understand and apply value stream mapping (VSM) techniques in their organizations. VSM is an important tool for identifying and eliminating waste in production processes, improving efficiency, and increasing customer satisfaction.

The CVMP certification requires applicants to pass an exam administered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as process mapping, lean principles, value stream analysis, and implementation strategies. It takes approximately two hours to complete the exam.

To be eligible to take the CVMP exam, applicants must have at least three years of experience in the field of value stream mapping or related disciplines. Additionally, applicants must have completed a minimum of 20 hours of formal training in VSM or related topics.

The cost of the CVMP exam varies depending on the country where it is taken. In the United States, it costs $495 USD for ASQ members and $595 USD for non-members.

7. Certified Lean Leader (CLL)

Certified Lean Leader (CLL) is a professional certification program designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals in the field of Lean. The certification is offered by the Lean Certification Alliance (LCA), a joint venture between the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and the Shingo Institute.

The CLL program consists of three levels: Certified Lean Practitioner (CLP), Certified Lean Master (CLM), and Certified Lean Executive (CLE). Each level requires completion of a series of courses, tests, and projects that are designed to demonstrate mastery of the lean principles.

It typically takes about two years to complete all three levels of certification. To become a CLL, individuals must first complete the CLP level by taking an online course or attending a live workshop. After completing this level, they must pass an exam administered by LCA. Upon successful completion of this exam, they will be awarded their CLP certificate.

The next step is to complete the CLM level. This requires taking additional courses or workshops as well as passing another exam administered by LCA. Once this has been completed successfully, individuals will be awarded their CLM certificate.

Finally, they must complete the CLE level by taking additional courses or workshops as well as passing yet another exam administered by LCA. Upon successful completion of this exam, they will be awarded their CLE certificate and become a Certified Lean Leader (CLL).

The cost for each level varies depending on whether you take an online course or attend a live workshop. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 per level to become certified in each one.

8. Certified Kanban Coach (CKC)

Certified Kanban Coach (CKC) is a professional certification program offered by the Lean Kanban University (LKU). It is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become an effective and successful Kanban coach. The CKC program focuses on teaching the fundamentals of Kanban, including its principles, practices, and techniques.

The CKC program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person workshop. The online course covers the basics of Kanban, including its history, principles, practices, and techniques. It also includes a series of quizzes that must be completed before taking the in-person workshop. The in-person workshop is a three-day intensive training session that provides hands-on experience with applying Kanban principles and practices to real world scenarios.

The CKC program takes approximately eight weeks to complete from start to finish. The online course can be completed at your own pace but typically takes around four weeks to complete. The in-person workshop usually runs for three days and requires travel arrangements to attend it.

The cost of the CKC program varies depending on which LKU partner you choose to take it through. Generally speaking, it costs between $2,000 - $3,500 USD for both parts of the program.

9. Certified Change Agent (CCA)

A Certified Change Agent (CCA) is an individual who has been trained to lead, facilitate, and manage organizational change. The CCA certification program is designed to help individuals gain the skills and knowledge needed to successfully lead change initiatives in their organization.

The CCA program consists of two parts: a self-paced online course and an in-person workshop. The online course covers topics such as understanding change management principles, developing communication plans, creating stakeholder engagement strategies, and leading successful change initiatives. The in-person workshop provides hands-on experience in applying the concepts learned in the online course.

The CCA certification typically takes about four months to complete, depending on the individual's pace. To get certified, individuals must first complete the online course and then attend the in-person workshop. Upon completion of both components, individuals are eligible for certification.

The cost of the CCA certification varies depending on the provider offering it; however, it typically ranges from $2,000-$4,000 USD.

10. APICS CPIM

APICS CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management) is a professional certification program designed to help individuals demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the field of production and inventory management. The program consists of five modules that cover topics such as demand management, procurement and supplier planning, material requirements planning, capacity requirements planning, master scheduling, sales and operations planning, quality control, inventory management, shop-floor control systems, and continuous improvement.

The APICS CPIM program typically takes around two years to complete. Candidates must pass all five modules within three years of starting the program in order to be eligible for certification. To get started with the program, candidates must first register online at APICS’ website. The cost of registration is $495 USD for members or $595 USD for non-members. After registering for the program, candidates can purchase study materials from APICS or use other resources such as practice tests and online courses to prepare for the exams.

Once candidates have completed all five modules successfully they will receive an official certificate from APICS indicating their achievement of the CPIM designation. The cost of each individual module exam is $295 USD for members or $395 USD for non-members. In addition to this fee there is also an annual maintenance fee of $75 USD which must be paid each year in order to maintain active status as a certified CPIM professional.

Do You Really Need a Lean Consultant Certificate?

When considering whether to pursue a Lean Consultant Certificate, it is important to weigh the cost and time investment of the certification against the potential benefits. While there are some advantages to having a certificate, such as demonstrating knowledge and increasing credibility in the field, it is not necessarily essential to succeed as a Lean consultant.

The most important qualification for any consultant is their experience and expertise in the industry. A well-trained professional with years of real-world experience will be able to provide valuable insights that a person with a certificate may not possess. Furthermore, it is also possible to develop an impressive portfolio by working on successful projects and building relationships with clients. Having such success stories can be far more beneficial than having a certificate when it comes to gaining new business opportunities.

On the other hand, having a Lean Consultant Certificate can demonstrate an individual’s commitment to their profession and provide them with recognition from peers in the industry. It can also serve as proof that they have taken their training seriously and have achieved a certain level of mastery in Lean principles and methodology. Additionally, some companies may specify that applicants must possess specific certifications when hiring consultants for certain positions or projects. In these cases, having proof of certification can be beneficial for job seekers.

Ultimately, whether or not one needs a Lean Consultant Certificate depends on what they are looking to achieve professionally; if certification is required for certain positions or desired by potential employers then obtaining one may be beneficial, but it is not necessary for success as a Lean consultant.

Related: Lean Consultant Resume Examples

FAQs About Lean Consultant Certifications

1. What qualifications do I need to become a Lean Consultant?

Answer: To become a Lean Consultant, you typically need at least a bachelor's degree in business or engineering, as well as experience in the field. You may also need to obtain certification from an accredited program or organization.

2. How long does it take to get certified as a Lean Consultant?

Answer: Depending on the specific certification program and your experience level, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to become certified as a Lean Consultant.

3. Are there any prerequisites for the Lean Consultant Certification?

Answer: Yes, some programs may require you to have prior knowledge of lean principles and tools such as Six Sigma, 5S and Kaizen. Other programs may require you to complete online courses or attend seminars prior to taking the exam.

4. How much does it cost to get certified as a Lean Consultant?

Answer: The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the type of certification program chosen and whether or not additional materials are required for completion, but can range from hundreds of dollars up into the thousands.

5. Is there an expiration date for my Lean Consultant Certification?

Answer: Generally speaking, most certifications will remain valid for three years after completion; however, each organization is different so please check with them directly for more information about their specific policies regarding expiration dates and renewal requirements.