Skip to content

Lean Certification

Bronze Level

Learn the fundamentals of lean from a tactical perspective.

To achieve Lean Bronze, you are able to tactically implement lean to drive improvements and measurable results. You deploy and apply lean principles, concepts, methods, and tools within a work cell, work group, and/or value stream.

Process to Earn Your Certification

1: Assess your knowledge and experience
The Lean Body of Knowledge (BOK) is an outline of lean topics covered on the certification exam.

The Lean Bronze Essential Body of Work describes the baseline knowledge, skills, and abilities required by lean professionals and lays the groundwork for understanding and evaluating the Lean Bronze Certification requirements. It will help you better envision your role and evaluate your readiness for certification.

The Lean Bronze Blueprint provides additional information beyond the Lean Certification Body of Knowledge by going a step further and specifying relevant segments of the Body of Knowledge and providing additional details on the proficiency expected for Lean Bronze Certification.

The Lean Certification Competency and Behavior Model is intended to help identify the minimum competencies and behavior expectations in your pursuit of a specific level of Lean Certification.

2: Read the Core Reference Material
Exam questions are based on specific Core Reference Material selected by knowledgeable and experienced individuals.
The books listed below are included in the Core Reference Material Package.

3: Prepare with a Classroom Review Program (Optional)
Participate in a Classroom Review Program to assess and evaluate your lean knowledge before you take the exam. This collaborative, instructor-led review program helps solidify your understanding of the Body of Knowledge. It is an invaluable opportunity to prepare you for the exam and provide you with a foundation for completing the Lean Certification program.

4: Prepare with Online Classes (Optional)
Candidates may choose to use Tooling U-SME resources to help prepare for the exam. Tooling U-SME offers optional online classes covering Lean Culture, Lean Systems, Continuous Process Improvement, Management Tools, and more. Online classes are approximately 60-90 minutes, accessible 24/7 on laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, and are developed with industry experts. 

For more information about Tooling U-SME’s classes to prepare for the Lean Bronze Certification exam, please contact Tooling U-SME at or 866.706.8665.

5: Apply for the exam, schedule and take the exam

Apply Here

The Lean Bronze Certification exam is offered in online and paper/pencil formats. You have six months to take the exam from the date you apply.

The Lean Bronze Certification exam is a three hour, open book and open notes exam. It consists of approximately 165 multiple-choice questions mapped to the Body of Knowledge. Exam questions are taken from the Core Reference Materials.

You will need to secure an exam proctor, which can be your manager, supervisor, HR representative, instructor, professor, local library staff, local testing center, etc. You must submit your Proctor Form and Agreement 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 that provides a breakdown of your results by knowledge area.

Upon passing the exam you will earn your Lean Knowledge Certificate (not a certification) that serves as a base in your pursuit of Lean Bronze Certification. Your Lean Knowledge Certificate is valid for three years and is not renewable. Your next phase in obtaining certification is to submit your portfolio which can be submitted anytime during the three-year period that your Lean Knowledge Certificate is valid. Please see portfolio information below.


6: Submit your Lean Bronze Portfolio

To earn your Lean Bronze Certification, you must demonstrate your ability to apply lean principles and tools. This is accomplished through the development of your Lean Bronze Portfolio. You have three years from receiving your Lean Knowledge Certificate to submit your Portfolio, which must document and include:

  • 80 hours of Education and Training Requirements (See Education and Training Requirements document for guidance on documenting the 80 hours)
  • Three tactical projects where specific lean principles and tools were applied (events, projects, activities)
  • A reflection statement that captures your lean journey and what you have learned through the certification process.

You must have passed the Lean Bronze examination in order to submit your Bronze Portfolio. To submit your Portfolio, log into your SME Customer Account, or create a new account, in the upper right hand corner of the homepage (


7: Plan your next step

Upon passing your Portfolio review you will earn your Lean Bronze Certification (LBC). During this time, you may choose to pursue recertification or another certification rank. Your Lean Bronze Certification is valid for three years.

Certification Pricing

The fees below include the exam and portfolio fee.

Nonmember $599 $699 $799
SME Member and Partners (AME, Shingo Institute) $439 $539 $639
  Apply Now Details Details


Nonmember $629 $729 $829
SME Member and Partners (AME, Shingo Institute) $469 $569 $669
  Apply Now Details Details


Have questions or need additional information?

Certification FAQs
Online Inquiry Form

Marion Lemne
“The Lean Certification Program added just the right ingredient, helping to distinguish myself from the crowd. As a result, my career has been fast-tracked to a management position with full P&L responsibility in a multinational corporation.”
Marian Lemne, LSC, LGC, Director Global Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning, Cameron International

Become an SME Member

We want to help you succeed in all areas of manufacturing. Join today to learn. engage. advance. with SME.


SME Connect

Engage virtually with industry peers through SME Connect


Manufacturing Engineering magazine

Receive a guaranteed subscription to Manufacturing Engineering magazine


Local Chapters

Build relationships in your local community



Get substantial discounts on certification study materials and exams


Learn more about SME Membership

Join Now to Learn, Engage and Advance with SME!