Polygraph Training for a Lie Detector Examiner Career
Would you like an exciting career, sifting the truth from lies? Do you have excellent communication and analytical skills? If so you may be interested in becoming a Lie Detector (Polygraph) Examiner for which you will need Polygraph Training.
Lie detectors are often featured in law and order TV series, reality shows and movies. However, what isn’t shown is that effective polygraph results are reliant on highly trained examiners that are APA (American Polygraph Association) certified.
How do Polygraph machines work?
Polygraph machines can’t be operated by just switching them on and demanding answers to questions. A lie detector test is structured to ensure a subject is relaxed and asked the right type of questions. The process takes hours, not minutes as portrayed in films.
The definition of “polygraph” is literally “many writings” and represents the scientific aspect of the lie detector test. The mind sends signals to the body, and physical responses to questions asked, allow the examiner to determine when lies are told.
In 1921, police officer, John Larson invented the technology that forms the basis of the polygraph we use today. Having been used for almost a hundred years, it works on the premise that telling lies is stressful. Such stress causes most people to react physically when lies are told allowing the polygraph to detect the responses. These are then analysed and measured by the examiner.
The work of Polygraph Examiners
As a Polygraph examiner you may work for police forces, the government, intelligence services, private investigators, individuals or indeed TV reality shows! Usually the work will be carried out in an office environment.
Subjects are prepared for lie detector tests by the examiner and thereafter the process of analysing results begins. Examiners need great interpersonal skills and to be able to effectively communicate with subjects. People are often naturally nervous when taking any test, so part of the examiner’s job is to get them to relax. The entire process can span hours depending on the amount of questions to be asked.
At the end of the test the examiner will compile a report on the results which includes an opinion as to whether a subject has been deceitful or told lies. It’s possible the examiner may have to provide expert opinion in courts from time to time.
Currently there is a shortage of Polygraph examiners in the UK and with lie detectors being utilised in a wide range of industries the demand continues to grow. You can expect to earn at least £40,000 per annum when qualified. Salaries vary depending on your level of education, the location you choose to work in and your experience.
Education and Skills
It is virtually impossible to become an Examiner without a Bachelor’s Degree or Associate Bachelor’s Degree. In rare circumstances an experienced police or intelligence officer without a degree may be accepted for Polygraph training.
Those with degrees in the following are more likely to be accepted:
- Forensic Science
- Criminal Justice
- Communications, interpersonal, analytical and writing skills will also be required.
Polygraph Training Academies
There are more Polygraph training facilities in the USA than anywhere else in the world. However some do exist in Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Israel and Poland. Be prepared for hard work! You’ll spend at least 400 hours on specialised training and taking verified examinations before you get APA certification.
Here is a breakdown of what the course entails and how many hours you will spend on each module:
- History and Evolution of Psychophysiological Detection of Deception (Polygraph) (8 hours)
- Mechanics of Instrument Operation 16
- Test Question Construction (32 hours)
- Polygraph Techniques (40 hours)
- Pre-Test Interviews (32 hours)
- Post-Test Interviews (8 hours)
- Test Data Analysis (Chart Evaluation) (40 hours)
- Countermeasures (8 hours)
- Law and Human Rights (8 hours)
- Ethics, Standards of Practice and
- APA ByLaws (4 hours)
- Scientific Testing (8 hours)
- Information and Results Reporting (2 hours)
- Psychology (20 hours)
- Physiology (20 hours)
- Practical Application of Mock Examinations (80 hours)
- Director’s Discretionary Subjects (74 hours)
- Quality Control Procedures (6 hours)
- Preparing for Testimony (2 hours)
- Testing with Interpreter (2 hours)
- Exams/Performance Evaluations (24 hours)
- Introduction to Post Conviction Sex (4 hours)
- Offender Testing (4 hours)
- Professional Involvement – Membership opportunities (4 hours)
- Other to facilitate student understanding and licensing requirements (32 hours)