If you are looking for a polygraph expert, one of the first things you should look for is that they have a membership with a professional organization. This is important because in many states there are no laws on licensing polygraph examiners, so that means anyone can buy the equipment and claim to be an examiner. But just having a machine isn’t enough to get accurate results. You need a trained professional who knows how to appropriately administer the test and evaluate the results.
As a member in “good standing” with these professional organizations, polygraph examiners are required to continue their education, which means they will be up to date on the latest technological developments, and must pass a criminal background check. Additionally, the organizations set up rules and regulations for how the polygraph is conducted and a code of ethics which members must follow.
American Polygraph Association (APA)
Established in 1966, the APA has grown into the leading professional polygraph organization in the world with more than 2,800 members who administer hundreds of thousands of exams every year. Their mission is to provide “a valid and reliable means to verify the truth and establish the highest standards of moral, ethical, and professional conduct in the polygraph field.” To become a member, you must complete hundreds of hours of coursework at an approved school as well as an internship. Once you have joined, you must engage in annual continuing education and training.
National Polygraph Association (NPA)
Dr. Chris Gugas, who started his polygraph career with the OSS during World War II, founded the organization in March of 1989, and the first national seminar was held by the group in 1990. The organization began with the mission to overturn the 1988 federal decision known as the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, but grew into something more than that, and they are pledged to “identifying and eliminating any unqualified persons from our profession.” Today they work to improve the capabilities of their members by promoting education, research, advanced training, and by shared experiences. Members are required to complete training at an approved school and must participate in continued education after joining.
American Association of Police Polygraphists (AAPP)
In 1976, William Taylor, then the commander of the Texas Department of Public Safety polygraph unit, saw the need for a national organization of police polygraphists. Today the organization conducts seminars for law enforcement polygraph examiners and requires its members to participate in continuing education.
Maryland Polygraph Association (MPA)
Like national organizations, local polygraph organizations such as the MPA offer opportunities for examiners to stay up to date on the latest developments in polygraph science and connect with other examiners nearby. Membership for the MPA is open to anyone who qualifies under the American Polygraph Association guidelines.