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Lean Certification


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Steps toward Earning Lean Gold Certification

Learn about those who earned Lean Gold Certification and view testimonials from our customers.

Step 1: Assess your knowledge and experience

To earn the Lean Gold Certification, you must demonstrate your understanding of the Lean Certification Body of Knowledge (PDF) by passing the Lean Gold Certification exam. To become certified, you must further demonstrate your lean training and development by completing an Accomplishment Record.

You should understand these lean processes and practices:

Autonomation (Jidoka)
Cells, one piece flow
Continuous improvement (Kaizen)
Cost, productivity results
Customer demand pace (takt time)
Customer requirements, satisfaction
Distribution, logistics, delivery
Gap analysis
Identifying value added/non-value added work
Identifying waste
Lean product design
Load leveling/production leveling (Heijunka)
Mistake proofing (Poka-yoke)
Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA)
Problem solving (5 Whys)
Project management
Pull systems (Kanban)
Quality methods
Quick changeover, setup reduction
Root cause, corrective action
Setting goals
Standard work
Tactical results measurement (initial goals, results to goals, gaps)
Team facilitation
Team selection
Total productive maintenance (TPM)
Value stream mapping
Visual factory

Visit for Exam Preparation Tips and additional information and resources.

Step 2: Read the Core Reference Material

Exam questions are based on specific Core Reference Material selected by knowledgeable and experienced individuals. You can save 10% by purchasing the Lean Gold Certification book package, which includes:

Step 3: Apply

The Lean Gold Certification exam is offered in online and paper/pencil formats. You have one year in which to take the exam from the date you apply.

Click here to apply

To apply for Lean Gold Certification, candidates should have five or more years of professional experience that includes overseeing various improvement teams, driving changes that span multiple value streams, leading and coaching other leaders in the transformation process, and a demonstrated success in driving both lean organizational and human development efforts.

Step 4: Schedule and take the exam

The Lean Gold Certification exam is a three hour, open book, and open notes exam. It consists of 150 multiple-choice questions mapped to the Body of Knowledge (PDF). Exam questions are taken from the Core Reference Materials.

You must submit your Proctor Form and Agreement (PDF) to SME at least two weeks before your scheduled exam date.

To pass the exam, you need to score 75% or higher. After your exam is scored, you will receive official results by mail, which includes an Examination Analysis Report (PDF) that provides a breakdown of your results by knowledge area.

Step 5: Mentoring

Lean Gold Certification candidates are expected to seek out others in their lean journey to help them grow and develop. This activity must be demonstrated, and measurable outcomes must be included, in your Accomplishment Record.

Look to find a mentor within your own company, through the Lean Registry, Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) leaders in your area, or, if you are an SME member, your local chapter may be a good resource.

Step 6: Submit your Lean Gold Certification Accomplishment Record

After passing your exam, to receive your Lean Gold Certification you must complete an Accomplishment Record (PDF). The Accomplishment Record examines how candidates have applied their lean knowledge and skills to actual real-world situations.

Your Lean Gold Certification Accomplishment Record will ask you to provide a narrative of your accomplishments for each competency needed by a Lean Gold Certification candidate. You will emphasize the quality of your accomplishments and the results you achieved rather than the jobs you have held or the tasks you have completed.

In addition to your Accomplishment Record, you will need:

Visit the Gold tab at for the Lean Gold Certification Accomplishment Record Requirements and Forms (PDF) and additional resources for earning your Lean Gold Certification.

Step 7: Lean Gold Certification Interview

The final step in earning your Lean Gold Certification is an interview with a team of Lean Certified professionals and/or the Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee. Upon passing your Accomplishment Record review and interview, you will earn your Lean Gold Certification (LGC).

Step 8: Plan your next step

Your Lean Gold Certification (LGC) is valid for three years. To maintain your Lean Gold Certification status, you will need to recertify every three years and participate in ongoing education, training, and development activities related to the Body of Knowledge (PDF).

If you have question or need additional information email us, complete an online inquiry form, or call SME Customer Care at 800.733.4763 or 313.425.3000.