A career as a polygraph examiner isn’t for everyone. It’s not as glamorous as what you see in the movies and on TV. Most of these examples we see in the media paint the polygraph examiner as a high-level detective responsible for bringing down serial killers and high-level criminals.
While some polygraph examiners end up with a public-sector career that enables them to do just that, the majority of newly qualified examiners end up working in the private sector. That means you’ll be working in a corporate environment, tasked with the role of executing pre-employment screenings and or random or specific polygraph tests on employees.
The polygraph examiner working in the public sector takes a position with government organizations like the FBI, CIA, DOD, or state or Federal law enforcement. These individuals must undergo a thorough screening process to qualify for the job. It’s a much more challenging career path to follow compared to working in the private sector.
Those newbie polygraph technicians working in the private sector usually enter the workforce seeking employment with a polygraph services organization. They typically work in this field for five to ten years with the goal of moving up the ladder to a management position.
If you’re thinking about starting your own polygraphy firm, it could take you up to 15 years to build the experience and reputation required to open your own company. When you have enough experience on the job, you’ll find your skills are in high demand.
As a result, you can expect excellent job opportunities, and it’s possible many firms will headhunt you for positions at their organization. The entry-level salaries for polygraph technicians are good, with the median industry salary being just shy of six figures.