How to Become a Polygraph Examiner

Polygraph examiners are trained to usea polygraph machine to determine whether or not someone is telling the truth. Although there is some controversy as to whether the machine is foolproof, it's certainly widely used. The person who operates the machine asks the subject straightforward questions in order to gauge his responses. Later the examiner will compare the data from answers to more crucial questions to the answers to the first base questions, to determine whether or not the subject has been telling the truth. The polygraph examiner operates the machine, asks the questions and analyzes the data [source: Buzzle].

A polygraph examiner must have good communication skills, both spoken and written, and must have the highest level of integrity both personally and professionally [source: CIA]. Read here to see how to be a polygraph examiner.


  1. Earn a bachelor's degree. Earning a bachelor's degree is the first step to becoming a polygraph examiner. It's best to major in criminal justice, law enforcement, police science, criminology or forensic science.
  2. Apply for training in polygraphy. Find a school of polygraphy that's accredited by the American Polygraph Association. There are schools that are not accredited and are less expensive but it's better to go to an accredited school. Some schools don't accept students who have a criminal record, and have applicants take a polygraph test. Applicants may also be subject to background checks. The training will last for about four months and include the study of legal issues, interviewing procedures, psychology and data analysis.
  3. Work as an intern. You will need to work under an experienced polygraph examiner for up to a year. During this time all your testing work will be checked by the polygraph school that you attended, before they award you a certificate.
  4. Obtain a license. Some states require you to take a written examination to obtain a license to practice as a polygraph examiner.
  5. Find a job. You could look for a job with a law enforcement agency, in the legal justice system or with a company in the private sector [source: Polygraph].