Careers in Lie Detection


Though they are not allowed in most courtrooms, lie detection, or polygraphy, is a science that many security, police, hiring agencies -- and even the Central Intelligence Agency -- rely upon to ferret out criminals, terrorists or just unsuitable employee prospects. Careers in lie detection involve training, certification and usually keen perceptual and psychological skills.

Polygraph Examiner

  • Polygraph examiners, or lie detector operators, are independent, non-sworn employees who interview job applicants, crime witnesses, criminal suspects and others to determine whether they are being truthful regarding specific questions asked by the examiner. This is done through the use of a polygraph machine, which is designed to detect deceit. The polygraph examiner studies and then interprets the results. The examiner then prepares comprehensive reports that summarize the findings of the examinations and presents his findings to the client. According to, polygraph examiners are required to hold a certificate of instruction provided by an accredited polygraph school. The average salary for a polygraph examiner ranges from $5,243 to $6,401 monthly, though an examiner for the CIA could make over $115,000 annually.

Body Language Expert

  • Some of the most telling forms of communication are nonverbal. Body-language experts, psychologists who are trained to detect truthfulness or deceit through the study of body language, are often used by police and security experts. Body language experts study mannerisms such as body movement and whether an individual consistently avoids eye contact. Most body language experts hold degrees in psychology or psychiatry. Because body language experts are primarily independent contractors, their salary varies based on the types of and number of clients that they service.

Voice Stress Analyst

  • Voice stress analysts are independent contractors who are hired by companies ranging from retail establishments to police agencies. Voice stress analysts study recorded answers given in response to specific questions to detect marked signs of stress, which would point toward deceit. The appearance of marked levels of stress in the voice in response to specific questions is referred to as detection of deception (DOD), which is the voice-stress produced as a response to psychological or "deceptive stress." Most voice stress analyzers hold degrees in criminal justice or psychology. Much like a body language expert, the salary for a voice stress analyst may vary based on the number of clients that she serves and the rate for the analyst's services.

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