What does it take to become a member of SWGDOC?

Membership requirements for those involved in the discipline of forensic document examination include a combination of education, training, and experience.

  • Primary training for forensic document practitioners should consist of two years or more of full-time apprenticeship style training* under the supervision of a principal trainer. 
  • The reason(s) for any extensions of time or gaps in the continuity of the established training program must be documented by the principal trainer.
  • The primary training should include the topics addressed in SWGDOC Standard for Scope of Work of Forensic Document Examiners or SWGDOC Standard for Minimum Training Requirements for Forensic Document Examiners.
  • Any topics not available during primary training should be made up through continuing education.
  • The principal trainer should have received the training referred to above and have a minimum of five years of full-time experience following completion of primary training.


Membership requirements for non-practitioners are as follows:

  • Members shall have subject matter expertise relevant to forensic document examination.
  • For disciplines that have a strong academic foundation as a basis on which training and experience is based, the required knowledge and competency may be gained through a combination of mechanisms to include course work, workshops, and training courses.
  • For disciplines in which the required knowledge and competency is predominantly experience-based, the applicant's education must have included a formal training program requiring extensive peer-based review.


Applicant’s geographic location and moral character will also be considered.

Membership resides with the individual and not the individual’s agency or affiliation.

Continuing professional development totalling 20 hours per year post primary training should be documented up to five years prior to the application.



If you would like to be considered for SWGDOC membership, click on the application link and follow the instructions. Incomplete applications will be destroyed.

A completed application must include the following:

  • The completed SWGDOC application for membership
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • A letter of recommendation from your employer**

Upon review of an application the membership committee may request additional information and at least two (2) letters of recommendation. 


SWGDOC is not accepting applications for membership at this time. 

If you have questions contact the membership presiding officer:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Membership does not constitute an endorsement by SWGDOC of any of its members or of the member's work product, opinions rendered, or skill as an expert witness. Membership only indicates that the individual met the minimum criteria required.


*Apprenticeship Style Training - A training situation where the apprentice works and studies on a full time basis under the tutelage and supervision of a senior practitioner who has at least five years full-time experience after completion of primary training.  An apprentice works almost daily with the supervisory practitioner or other instructor in his/her laboratory/office. The apprentice may or may not be a salaried employee. The senior practitioner determines when (or if) the apprentice is sufficiently trained to begin working on his/her own and may or may not audit or review the apprentice's work for a period of time.

**Self employed examiners can write and submit their own letters. Please ensure all three points at the beginning of the application are addressed.