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How to become a Polygraph Examiner

How to become a Polygraph Examiner

Wednesday 11th January 2023

So you want to be a `polygraph examiner. . . . .

Polygraph examiners are trained to operate polygraph instruments - popularly known as lie detectors to determine whether someone is telling the truth.

Although there is some controversy as to whether the instrument is fool proof, a controversy which has existed for over a hundred years, the fact is they are in wide use with Governments, police forces, probation services and even large companies are using them. And which country's intelligence agencies would be without them these days?

The instrument operator, known as an examiner or Polygraphist will ask the subject straightforward questions so as to be able to gauge their responses. Later, he or she (yes there are a considerable number of lady examiners) will compare the data from answers to more crucial questions to the answers of the first base questions to indicate whether or not the subject has been telling the truth. The polygraph examiner operates the instrument, asks the questions and analyses the data. It therefore follows that a polygraph examiner must have good communication skills, spoken and written, and must have the highest level of personal and professional integrity .

The only experience most have of a polygraph examiner or examination is that found in police or spy movies and whilst it is nowhere near as glamorous, it is in fact, a career full of great opportunities and advancement. If you have good analytical and communication skills, are capable of spatial thinking, did well at school and the subject of lie detector technologies interests you, it is quite conceivable that you could become part of this rapidly growing occupation. It will certainly help to become a polygraph examiner if you have a bachelor's degree or similar qualification. Particularly if you wanted to study in the United States of America.

It's not TV shows or movie theatrics

We mentioned above, how polygraph tests and examiners appearing in films and television are glamorised, and we're going to take this opportunity to put the record straight. The polygraph and its operator are no more exempt from the hollywood treatment than any other item, person, or service. Sadly, lie detector tests should not be carried out in a person's home or a place of their choosing. More likely and for a better quality of test is that polygraph tests will be carried out in an office situation. However, one instance of television and the lie detector working together was in 2015 when the Jeremy Kyle show was cancelled following the death of a guest who failed a lie detector test during a recording. This has set the tone of the way people believe a lie detector test works. These types of tests can be life-changing and you can be assured that Lie Detector Services Ltd have no affiliation to such glamorising of the profession. A lie detector test, or polygraph is a private and confidential service that should be just that. We have not, nor would we ever enter into agreements with the press, media or social media. We would hope anyone wishing to enter into this profession would have the same standards and views.

Take the first step

OK so despite what you have now learnt about the unglamorous nature of the job an examiner does, you have still decided that you wish to pursue lie detecting as a career. Unsurprisingly, this will involve completing an accredited Polygraph Training Programme, an essential step in learning everything you need to know about work as a polygraph examiner. Every course must be accredited by either the European Polygraph Association, the American Polygraph Association, or any other acceptably accredited organisation.

It will certainly help you to enrol on an accredited course if you can show experience in any form in any of the following

1. Police
3. Psychology
3. Lawyer
4. Criminology

You should have a clean criminal record and be able to provide an accurate CV or work resume and a copy of your passport, and any other document to prove identity and background.

Upon completion of your polygraph examiner training course

After finishing your Polygraph Examiner Training you will now be ready to start using the instrument but not until you have completed a further 40 hours training using an operational polygraph, as opposed to the simulator you learned on. By coincidence, 40 hours is the same time it takes to qualify as a private pilot. It goes without saying that the graphics you see online of a lie detector report are somewhat tongue in cheek, there is no three degree in lie detection and you will have been taught how to put the examinee at ease and prepare him or her for the test. These 40 hours is known as the Practicum and will have had to have been completed and signed off before looking for a polygraph examiners job.

Work for your polygraph training

With many occupations, people learn and get experience on the job whilst being supervised. Becoming a Barrister is in a way similar as this is a method they have used effectively for hundreds of years.

In every profession its vital to keep learning and working as a polygraph examiner is no different, other than to say no profession offers the opportunities to learn that this one does.

So now you are able to operate as a polygraph examiner. Is that it? No far from it. Now you can plan to learn those things which will make you an acknowledged expert as a polygraph examiner.

You can start with:-

Do your homework about the profession, polygraph examiners do not just deal with cases involving infidelity and theft. Some cases are stressful, upsetting and extremely sensitive. Be sure you have the ability to remain impartial, keep your personal feelings at bay and are able to overcome the natural anger felt by people who hear things that are horrific and life-changing for the person involved. This is one of the most important attributes to have when choosing to follow this career path. Polygraph examiners need to be very resilient, calm under pressure and be able to disassociate their personal feelings on the subject matter with each test, no matter it's content. This is very difficult to do and the mindset you must adopt is that of police personnel, social services and judicial professionals. For example, you may need to deal with:

1.Sexual Abuse:
This may be the accused or the accuser. You will need to hear traumatising details of what a client has been through or what they have been accused of. In many of these cases the person is very emotional, and you will need to be able to control the situation, make a judgement on if the examinee is able to complete the test and have the ability to calm your client by being empathetic and supportive.

2.Domestic Abuse:
This may be of that of a minor with the test being carried out to support an application with social services. Again, you will need to hear details of violence against an adult or child. For the client this is hard to relay to a stranger and you need to provide support in order to get to the root of the situation. It is impossible for anyone not to be affected by such heart-breaking stories, however you must be able to remain unbiased and professional throughout. You also need to ensure that the client is fully aware that the results may not be able to be used in court, something some clients rely upon.

If you feel you would not be able to do this, lie detection is not the job for you. A few of the basic requirements can be found by clicking here.

You can dheck the internet regularly for any courses that may be running in your area, be careful to do your research on each course and instructor to ensure the training is legitimate, and will provide you with the qualifications you need to become operational.

All polygraph examiners should be accredited by the American Polygraph Association (APA). Here at Lie Detector Services Ltd we suggest contacting them to initiate your training. Polygraph testing is not regulated in the UK at present and therefore the APA will deal with any examiner complaints, deciding whether to revoke someone's accreditation is their role. No other organisation can do this, no matter what you may read on the internet.

Consider your office set up once you are in a position to start your business, do you want to be a "one man band" or do you want to employ someone who can deal with the enquires for you. If you do this, you need to ensure the person who will manage your office is knowledgeable and always updated on every development within this ever-evolving industry.

If you are looking to take a lie detector test then please contact our dedicated Customer Support Team on 0800 774 7268, or visit us online for more information.