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  5. Investigative Program Specialist (Polygraph Examiner) Pay and Benefits

Investigative Program Specialist (Polygraph Examiner) Pay and Benefits

Polygraph Examiner viewing results of a polygraph on his computer.

Working as a Polygraph Examiner, your job enhances the integrity of the CBP workforce and deters insider threats by providing the Office of Professional Responsibility with essential information through the administration of polygraph examinations that advance or resolve administrative, criminal or counterintelligence investigations.




Dollar Sign Icon Competitive Pay


Polygraph Examiners are competitively rewarded for their time on the job. In addition to base salary, Polygraph Examiners may be eligible for locality pay, overtime pay, and more.

Grade Base Salary Average FY 2022 Locality, Overtime and Premium Pay Total Compensation*
GS-12 $68,299 $19,676 $87,975
GS-13 $81,216 $23,397 $104,613

*Based on fiscal year 2022 pay scale for GS Step 1 positions. Salaries include an average of locality, overtime, shift differential, and will vary by location.

  • Special Salary Rate: Federally Certified Polygraph Examiners (non-Law Enforcement) within the Department of Homeland Security will receive special salary rate pay. The Special Rates Tables Search displays the locality pay tables by occupational series. To filter the results, choose Department of Homeland Security from the Agency dropdown box, 1801 Investigative Program Specialist (Polygraph Examiner) from the Occupation dropdown box and your geographic location from the Location dropdown box. If you do not see your geographic area listed, please select Rest of U.S. Locality Pay Area from the Location dropdown box.
  • Overtime Pay: Earn up to 25% of your salary for time worked outside the 40-hour work week.
  • Premium Pay: You may be eligible for premium pay for working on Sundays, holidays and night shifts.
  • Cash Awards: Outstanding performers may receive cash awards as recognition for their superior efforts, funding permitting.
  • Career Progression: Polygraph Examiner starts at a GS-12, Step 1 with promotion potential to GS-12, Step 10. For more information, see the Career Progression section below.

Palm Tree on an Island Under a Sun IconPaid Time Off


CBP offers Polygraph Examiners substantial leave benefits and unique training opportunities, including:


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13 to 26 days of annual leave accrued per year (variation based on years federal service)

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11 federal holidays per year

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Military reserve leave

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13 days of sick leave accrued per year

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Opportunities for paid training


Overview: The maximum amount of annual leave that you may carry over into the following year is 30 days. There is no limit to the amount of sick leave that you may accrue. For more details, visit the Benefits page.

Disabled Veteran Leave (Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015)

In accordance with the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-75, November 5, 2015), employees eligible under the Act are entitled to disabled veteran leave for the purpose of undergoing medical treatment for a service-connected disability. View the Disabled Veteran Leave Fact Sheet for more information.


Person Climbing a Stairs IconCareer Progression


CBP supports Polygraph Examiners with long-term career success, rapid promotion potential and first-rate training for new and current Polygraph Examiners. This position starts at a GS-12, Step 1 with promotion potential to GS-12, Step 10. You are eligible for within grade increases of basic pay from one step of the grade of your position to the next higher step of that grade at the completion of the required waiting period if your most recent performance rating is “fully successful” or equivalent and have not received an “equivalent increase” in pay during the waiting period. At the GS-13 level and beyond, you compete for positions and are promoted on merit with a significant pay boost for progressing up the career ladder.


Career chart. Entry level to journeyman to supervisory to executive

Entry Level: Polygraph Examiners entry level positions are GS-12.

Journeyman: Journeyman positions entail more responsibility, duties and higher performance standards.

Supervisory: Supervisory roles include leadership and increased responsibilities.

Executive: Beyond the GS-15 level is the Senior Executive Service (SES), which makes up the core of CBP’s leadership. SES is typically responsible for high-level decisions, CBP's vision and interacting with external stakeholders and Congress.


Graduation Cap IconTuition Assistance Program


The Tuition Assistance Program reimburses Polygraph Examiners for off-duty post-secondary education costs of tuition, fees and books. A Polygraph Examiner may apply for benefits up to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per calendar year for a professional certification of for any two- or four-year degree, including associates, bachelors, masters and doctorates.


Medical Badge IconHealth Insurance


Employee health is of the utmost importance to CBP. Polygraph Examiners are eligible to choose from a variety of premium federal health insurance programs. Programs available include:

You may be eligible to keep your health insurance in retirement while paying the same subsidized premium as you did as an employee. Learn more about continued health insurance benefits for you and your family in retirement.


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CBP offers various federal life insurance programs to help you achieve your financial planning goals for the future, including:


Piggy Bank IconGenerous Retirement


CBP continues to support Polygraph Examiners retiring from the agency with the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), which includes three streams of income:

  1. FERS Basic Annuity: Polygraph Examiners that serve in the federal government with at least 20 years of service are eligible for this guaranteed lifetime pension, which is a percentage of a retiree's highest average pay earned during any 3 consecutive years of service. Learn more about FERS basic annuity.
  2. Thrift Savings Plan: Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a defined contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings-related benefits as with 401(K) plans in the private sector. Employees choose the amount to contribute, which is transferable if you change employers, with employer matching up to 5% of your base salary. Learn more about the Thrift Savings Plan.
  3. Social Security: Polygraph Examiner retirees receive social security retirement payments; benefits are transferable if you change employers. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits.
Last Modified: June 9, 2022