How To Choose a Qualified Polygraph Expert

The result of a lie detector test can turn your life 180 degrees. Because there are a lot of things at risk, it’s a must that you leave the administration of a polygraph examination to the right person.

Choosing a qualified polygraph expert involves some background checking. It’s important to hire one who is licensed if the state requires it. The right person for the job is someone who has completed an accredited program, is a member of a recognized association and follows quality control procedures.

Read on no matter if it’s you or somebody else who has to undergo a polygraph.

In this post, I will discuss everything that you need to take into account when choosing a polygraph examiner so that you can keep yourself from unnecessary stress and worrying even before the result is available.

polygraph expert

A Polygraph Expert Must be Licensed in the State

Not all states require polygraph examiners to be licensed. In those that do, it’s a must to hire a licensed lie detector test expert. This is especially true if the result will be used in court in a jurisdiction where a polygraph result is admissible. Otherwise, it might not pass the standards used by trial judges, such as the Frye and Daubert standards.

Before hiring one, check if the state requires polygraph examiners to be licensed. And if it does, see to it that the person is licensed. Don’t just take his or her word for it, though — look it up.

The following states, as of this writing, require polygraph examiners to be licensed:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

In states where a license isn’t required, it may be difficult to tell apart a legit and a shady lie detector test examiner from one another. Needless to say, it will warrant you to dig a little deeper just before you hire an individual, but it will definitely be worth your time and money investment.

A Graduate of an Accredited School

To become a polygraph examiner, the individual has to attend a school that offers a polygraph training program.

But he or she should not just attend any training institution — the school has to have accreditation. Most especially if the state requires all lie detector test experts to be licensed, graduating from an unaccredited school is a complete no-no.

Don’t be too embarrassed to ask the provider which school he or she graduated from. Afterward, go online and determine whether or not it’s accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.

A graduate of an accredited polygraph school would proudly display his or her diploma in the office.

Look for another polygraph expert if the individual is a graduate of some online or home-study program. An accredited program requires hands-on training in various subjects in order to prepare the students for real-world scenarios. Some of the fields they are trained in include:

  • Psychology
  • Human physiology
  • Interviewing methods
  • Instrumentation
  • Countermeasures
  • Live examinations

Most schools for people who want to become polygraph experts do not require applicants to have an undergraduate degree or certificate.

Also, some of these institutions may not conduct any background checking of candidates — some private companies and all government agencies in the US may use a polygraph test as a screening process.

By opting for one who got his or her training from an accredited school, you can rest assured that the person knows what he or she is doing, which can help you relax during the examination and ward off a false positive.

Membership With a Professional Association

It’s not enough for the polygraph expert to be a graduate of an accredited school — it’s also a huge plus for the person to be affiliated with a professional association of polygraph examiners.

Some common examples are the American Polygraph Association (APA) and the American Association of Police Polygraphists (AAPP).

There are also various state organizations such as:

  • Alabama Association of Polygraph Examiners (AAPE)
  • Association of Massachusetts Polygraphists (AMP)
  • Illinois Polygraph Society (IPS)
  • Missouri Polygraph Association (MPA)
  • Nebraska Association of Polygraph Examiners (NAPE)
  • South Carolina Association of Polygraph Examiners (SCAPE)
  • Tennessee Polygraph Association (TPA)

What’s nice about being a member of a professional association is that lie detector experts have to meet some minimum standards in order for them to become members. What’s more, in most instances, they will have to undergo continuing education for the benefit of maintaining their membership.

If the polygraph examiner gives you a name of an organization that he or she is a member of, get in touch with the said organization and inquire if the person is in fact affiliated with it.

With Experience and Specialization

Due to the fact that the result of a lie detector test can put all kinds of things at risk, anywhere from employment opportunities to relationships, the importance of leaving the examination job to someone with enough experience in the industry cannot be stressed enough.

Some providers will tell potential clients that they have conducted thousands of tests already.

But it’s not enough that they have plenty of experience — it’s also a must that they have lots of experience in the specific type of polygraph test you are looking to have.

Have to undergo a pre-employment screening polygraph exam? Then see to it that the expert you are about to hire specializes in the field. By going for someone who is proficient in a pre-employment lie detector test, you can be certain that the person knows how to go about the procedure as well as the legal issues associated with the examination.

On the other hand, if you need a lie detector test for criminal law purposes, don’t just hire any polygraph examiner — go for someone who concentrates on criminal polygraph tests.

Hiring one who is an expert on an infidelity lie detector test is a huge mistake.

Follows and Adheres to Quality Control Procedures

In the US, federal agencies have identified and established procedures in order to standardize the administration of polygraph examinations, which is key to achieving high-reliability rates.

Abiding by the said procedures, which involve anything from providing the right testing atmosphere to interpreting the recordings or charts correctly, allows the lie detector test expert to eliminate various sources of variability from polygraph testing, provided that they are implemented completely.

It goes without saying that you should ask the provider about this very critical polygraph testing matter.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that a polygraph test that’s conducted with full adherence to quality control procedures doesn’t mean it’s more valid, although it’s considered more reliable.

Uses State of the Art Equipment

Analog polygraph machines are commonplace in forensics crime drama TV shows and movies. That’s because they are massive and have a lot of cables and moving parts.

In reality, however, computerized lie detector instruments are the kinds the experts use.

What’s really nice about these modern pieces of equipment is that they can provide clearer and more accurate readings. So, in other words, their use can help minimize false positive and false negative results. They can also help curtail inconclusive results, which can cause clients to spend more time and money and undergo more stress than necessary.

The way computerized and analog polygraph machines work is pretty much the same — both monitor and record all sorts of physiologic changes in the examinee’s body, from the blood pressure to the skin’s electrical conductivity.

However, the readings of a computerized lie detector test machine are recorded on a hard disk.

Not everybody who owns a lie detector machine and can operate it, too, is a good polygraph examiner. Some of the most reliable in the land meet certain qualifications, from attending an accredited school to adhering to quality control procedures set by authorities in the industry.

Take your time when looking for a polygraph test provider in order to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety as well as to prevent having to waste precious time, energy and money.

Related Questions

Will the polygraph expert tell you whether you passed or failed the lie detector test?

The polygraph examiner will not tell you the result of the lie detector examination on the spot. Provided that there are no extenuating circumstances that can delay the evaluation of the chart, the examinee is notified of the result 24 hours after the test.

Can an examinee fail a polygraph test because of the examiner?

Just like any other examination that involves a human, it’s possible for a polygraph test result to be contaminated even if the examiner does everything properly. A variety of procedures is used to identify factors that may cause errors in an unbiased polygraph record review.

Disclaimer: The content is intended for informational purposes only and does not contain advice on criminal and investigative questions and inquiries. If you need professional help, please check with your state authorities.

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