Tenprint Certification/Recertification FAQs

Tenprint Fingerprint Certification home page

1) I have recently obtained my college degree and I am interested in taking the certification test. Am I eligible?

The tenprint program was designed to certify individuals who are currently working the in the field of tenprint matters. The requirements stipulate an examiner to have at least two years experience in tenprint matters. Complete requirements can be found here.

2) Do you have to do tenprint examination as your full time job to meet the experience requirement? Example: Does any of your crime scene or work count?

Each situation will depend on its own merits. You can contact the TPCB Secretary for clarification to discuss further. However, for the benefit of the comparison part of the test, it is strongly recommended that you are conducting tenprint comparisons on a regular basis. This is the best preparation you can give yourself.

3) How does the application process work?

The complete list of certification requirements can be found here.

4) Does the participation/attendance at forensic meetings, including classes I have attended in the forensic sciences, count as credits?

You cannot count meetings and the courses within those meetings (sort of double dipping) unless you have a certificate for a workshop that is not included as part of the general meeting.

5) Does a letter of endorsement have to come from another certified tenprint examiner?

No. The Certification Operations Program Manual states that a letter of endorsement can come from the applicant's Supervisor or a person certified at an equal or higher level and/or from two professional peers.

6) Once I apply for certification, what time frame do I have before the test is administered?

Once your application is reviewed, approved and sent to proctor, the applicant has 90 days to take part in the examination.

7) Can I take the test at the IAI Educational Conference?

Yes, if your application is submitted early enough to go through the approval process and you meet all of the required qualifications.

8) Why is the test timed?

All professional licensing tests are "timed" tests. Because our tests are proctored, we have to set a "time limit" because it would be difficult to find proctors if they had no idea of how long someone would be taking the exam.

9) Are my test results made public?

The only time the test results can be made public is in the case of an official court subpoena. In this case, any subpoena for results would first be discussed with the IAI Legal Counsel.

10) If I failed the test once before, can I retake the test again?

Yes. If you failed the test for any reason other than an erroneous conclusion, you can retake it after six months. If you made an erroneous conclusion (ID or exclusion), you must wait at least one year before you can reapply. In this case, it is important to know that you will have to retake all three sections (Written, Pattern Recognition, Quality Assurance, and the Comparison portion).

Important note: You will need to submit a new eCert application with all attachments plus whatever fee is in effect at that time. This fee must be included with all applications, regardless of whether the test (or any part of the test) has been taken previously.

11) Is there an appeal process if a certification is denied?

Yes. The appeals process is detailed in the Certification Programs Operation Manual.

12) What if I'm not able to acquire the required number of credits for recertification?

If you are not able to acquire the requisite number of credits, recertification will not be granted. If you have any concerns, you may also wish to contact the TPCB Secretary for further information. A good idea would be to appraise your agency of the requirements of recertification in advance, so they may adequately plan for your individual training needs.

13) How do you handle it in court if you don't pass because you did not complete the test?

If you have an opportunity to meet with the prosecutor before trial, you can tell them you are not certified and explain why, so if you are asked on cross-examination, the prosecutor will be ready to address it in rebuttal. You can then explain to the jury it was because you did not complete the test within the time limit given. The certification test is a "timed" exam and in real case work, time constraints are not usually an issue.

14) What if I made an erroneous ID on my test? How do I explain that to a court?

You will have only received notification that you did not pass the test. Whether at any point leading up to court you voluntarily choose to share the exact reason why is up to you. However, if you're asked in court why you failed the test, you will have to answer honestly and it'll be up to the court to decide whether you would be qualified to give evidence in your case. A good suggestion would be to inform your prosecutor in advance of the trial, so they can be prepared should this come out at trial.

15) What if I make an erroneous ID during my career?

If you are certified, then you are ethically obligated to inform the Tenprint Certification Board. The result will be determined by a review board as to the status of your certification. Full details of the process can be found in the Certification Program Operations Manual (page 19).

16) I read in the paper that a certified examiner made an erroneous ID in a case. Why hasn't their certification been suspended yet?

No formal investigation of a certified examiner can commence until the I.A.I President is in receipt of a signed written complaint with supporting documentation of the violation. The President may then convene a Professional Review Board (PRB) (IAI By-Laws, Article XVII, Section 17.01, a. 4) of subject matter experts to investigate the complaint. No action will be taken against a certified examiner until after the investigation is complete. For further information see here (Certification Program Operations Manual – Section X)

17) How do I know that the quality of the tenprints on the test would be comparable to the standards used in my own agency?

All tenprints in the certification test have been deemed identifiable by the TPCB and not on any agency standards.

18) What are Continuing Education/Professional Development credits?

This is a point (or credit) system designed to ensure an applicant has remained active in the field. Credits may be accumulated for attending training; teaching; publishing in forensic journals; being active in forensic societies; etc.

A complete description of the Continuing Education / Professional Development credit system may be found in the Certification Programs Operation Manual.

19) Will I be notified that I need to recertify?

Yes, an e-mail (to the address you created your eCert account under) will be sent to you six (6) months prior to your expiration date, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you apply for recertification prior to your expiration date.

20) What is the application process for recertification?

Application for recertification is very similar to the application for initial certification.

Applications are submitted online through the eCert portion of the IAI website. Required documentation may be attached electronically to the application.

Unlike the initial test, the recertification test is not proctored.

21) How long do I have to complete the recertification exam?

Once you receive/sign for the test, you have 30 day to return the exam to the IAI Office.