A Candidate for ABFDE Board Certification must successfully complete four phases of assessment. Each phase must be completed before the Candidate is allowed to move on to the subsequent phase. Full details of the process can be downloaded here: Qualifications and Requirements for Certification (pdf)

*Please note that the ABFDE does not train individuals to become Forensic Document Examiners. Candidates for ABFDE Board Certification must be fully trained. Please see our FAQ, “How do I become a forensic document examiner,” for more information.

  1. Credentials Phase
  2. The Candidate must submit an application and three references, along with his or her training records and college transcripts, to the Credentials Chair. Applications from those who do not meet the minimum qualifications will be rejected. Please also note that for the foreseeable future, applicants must reside in the United States, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

    Download the application:

  3. Written Phase
  4. Upon successful completion of the Credentials Phase, the Candidate must pass a proctored multiple-choice written test with a minimum score of 70%.

  5. Practical Case Assignment Phase
  6. Candidates are sent a set of exercises that are designed to represent typical casework. Due to the complexities involved in arranging a panel for the subsequent Oral Boards Phase, the Candidate’s completed work product is first evaluated to determine whether the reports and notes are satisfactory to pass an Oral Board.

  7. Oral Boards Phase
  8. Once the practical case assignments are evaluated as satisfactory, an Oral Boards panel is scheduled so the Candidate can demonstrate his or her results. The panel assesses the Candidate’s reasoning, methodology, and underlying knowledge of the field of Forensic Document Examination, finally making a recommendation whether the Candidate has earned certification.