What does a Polygraph Examiner do?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 March 2020
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A polygraph examiner is someone who is licensed to perform polygraph examinations using polygraph machines. A polygraph machine measures changes in cardiovascular activity, breathing, and sweat production to determine whether a person is being truthful. These examinations are often referred to as lie detector tests. A polygraph examiner is typically trained to both administer and evaluate the results of the test.

To become a polygraph examiner, a person must first be licensed and approved. Requirements for licensing usually vary, depending on location. These applicants have typically attended an accredited school and obtained certification in polygraph science. In some states and jurisdictions, in order to become a polygraph examiner, a person must first receive an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field of criminal justice or forensic science.

People who are already involved in the field of law enforcement can sometimes become a polygraph examiner without going through typical educational requirements. This is because many law enforcement agencies provide on-the-job training in the field of polygraph examination. In addition, persons employed in law enforcement can sometimes earn awarded credits for their job experience, which often expedites the time spent in education.


The average salary for a polygraph examiner can vary greatly, depending on experience and location. In the United States (US), the average salary for polygraph examiners is around $62,000 US Dollars (USD). In many cases, examiners are self-employed and contract their services to various businesses and law enforcement agencies. Most of the time, people who work as polygraph examiners have steady and regular work hours. They typically work a regular workweek, without having to spend much time with weekend work or overtime hours.

Businesses employ polygraph examiners to determine if their employees are being truthful. This is especially important when employees handle cash transactions on a regular basis. Many employers believe that if employees are aware that they may be subject to random polygraph tests, they will be less likely to steal. Studies seem to indicate that businesses who subject their employees to periodic lie detector tests have fewer incidents of theft.

A good candidate for the job of a polygraph examiner would be someone who is good at working under pressure and enjoys analyzing data. Ideally, the person would have excellent math skills and be able to think logically. In many cases, polygraph examiners may be required to testify in court proceedings, so good communication skills are usually important.


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