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The Road to Polygraph Testing

The use of lie detector test has been the staple instrument of investigation for government agencies in charge. It may have been prohibited in court to serve evidentiary purposes but its contribution to the criminal justice system cannot be underestimated. Many cases have been solved due to subjecting suspects to polygraph. Crucial to the polygraph test is the examiner. The examiner determines the success or failure of the polygraph test. The examiner becomes responsible for the outcome and reliability of the test. That is why, lie detection services adhere to the strict selection process for polygraph examiner. Examiners who engage in the practice must also be licensed.

It is known that government agencies use polygraph in certain instances, primarily when there is a need to investigate and gather and verify intelligence reports. When you think about intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), comes to mind. Definitely, CIA is one of those government agencies in the US that make use of polygraph testing. How does one become a federally certified polygraph examiner?

lie detector test

Minimum Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from college accredited or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Interest in and aptitude for polygraph examiner work
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills,
  • Valid US driver’s license

Desired qualifications

  • Qualified Federal Polygraph Examiner certification status fully accepted
  • Broad range of interests, and must be informed on a wide range of topics
  • Ability to relate to and interact with people from a wide range of cultures, backgrounds and expertise
  • Tenacity, confidence, maturity, organizational skills, ability to manage multiple tasks and give/take direction.


Candidates learn about lie detection and its history.  Psychology, human behavior, and ethics form part of the curriculum. They also study the use of polygraph; how to operate the polygraph instruments; how to interpret the results, and how to formulate the questions. Candidates are also taught on the legal aspects of administering polygraph exams and validated polygraph format and scientific testing. Part of being studied in the program is the polygraph question construction.


Candidates after having taken and completed curricular offering, apply for certification from American Polygram Academy.  Upon the receipt of certification from the American Polygraph Academy, the candidate must complete the federal polygraph examiner certification training program. The candidates will have to take aptitude tests, personality tests, medical exams, and polygraph test. Upon completion of the program and getting federally certified, the candidate becomes qualified to be a CIA polygraph examiner.

Examiner’s Work

Anyone who intends to work in the CIA must have to be committed to the Agency for five years. CIA Polygraph examiner will conduct polygraph exams, work closely with investigators, participate as part of a team of agents, provide testimony in courts, and prepare and create written reports based on the results of the tests. In the administration of the polygraph test, the examiner also takes part in the pre – test orientation and familiarization and post – test interpretation.

Definitely, the road to become a CIA polygraph examiner is not easy. You don’t easily become one overnight. More than the ability to use the polygraph and the drive and motivation to be part of the Agency, one must also be inherently brilliant.


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