Training Course

Training Course in Questioned Handwriting & Document Examination

The Training Course in Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination teaches the fundamentals of forensic handwriting and document work. It is designed to equip participants with the knowledge necessary to launch a career in questioned document examination.

The training consists of 31 lessons which guide students from the basics of handwriting examination all the way through writing reports and appearing in court to render testimony. Each lesson is followed by an exam and numerous practical exercises are provided to demonstrate application of the principles involved. Actual case material is utilized and, in many instances, original documentation is provided for the student’s examination. Students are required to work several actual cases and pass an extensive final exam in order to qualify for the Certificate of Training.

Lessons Include

  • Examination of signatures and initials
  • Anonymous writing
  • Disguised writing
  • History of handwriting
  • Handwriting measurements
  • Complex writing features
  • Evaluation of printing and numerals
  • Handwriting variables
  • Comparison standards
  • Typewriting and fonts
  • Writing instruments
  • Altered documents
  • Examining non-original documents
  • Determining sequence of document entries
  • Degrees of opinion
  • Report writing
  • How to appear as a witness
  • The business of document examination…and more

Course Contents & Material

  • Bound manual
  • 31 lessons & exams
  • Supplemental material from actual adjudicated cases
  • DVD containing all lesson material and exams in PDF and Microsoft Word format OR link to downloadable files (your choice)
  • Measuring devices
  • Digital USB microscope
  • Access to numerous videos related to pertinent topics
  • Additional course material (worksheets, report templates, etc.) available for download

Students study at their own pace, with a suggested completion time of 12-18 months. Exams and practical exercises are returned for correction via email. The extensive final exam consists of a written theoretical test as well as a practical section that is an actual questioned handwriting case to be examined and compared in detail. Participants are awarded a Certificate of Training upon successfully completing the work with an average overall score of at least 80%.

Throughout the training Reed will be available for discussion of any of the material, either by email or phone.

Note: This course meets the minimum training requirements for forensic document examiners adopted by the Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners.


Tuition for the Training Course in Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination is $2,600 USD.  Pay in full up front and get an instant discount of $300. Payment plans include:

1) Payment In Full of $2,300 USD
2) Up-front payment of $500 USD followed by 12 equal installments of $175 USD, or
3) Up-front payment of $300 USD and 12 installments of $191.67 USD.

All payments are handled by PayPal, using either a PayPal account or credit/debit card. (Note: A PayPal account is not required. All major credit cards are accepted.)

If you are ready to start the application process please click the button below.

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“I am glad to have chosen Mr. Hayes’ course to learn questioned document examination (QDE). The course began with the Reed test, which featured matching 31 handwritten pairs of the word ‘Reed’. It was an excellent introduction because it gave me the feel of handwriting identification. The lessons explained each aspect of QDE thoroughly. Many questions I previously had on this field were being answered as I read through the material.  I liked that Mr. Hayes used real-life questioned document cases in the lessons and exams. 
The turnaround time for exams/cases was quick. The feedback was extensive. On the cases, Mr. Hayes included full reports, exhibits, and letters of opinion to clients. Additionally, he shared his personal experiences with each case.
I liked the variety of course materials which included textbook (hard copy and PDF), digital microscope, measuring devices, videos, worksheets, templates, and published paperback on document examination.
The course gave me the confidence to accurately authenticate, identify, or eliminate questioned signatures and/or handwriting. 
Mr. Hayes’ course has excellent value at an affordable price. I would recommend his course to anyone who has an interest in learning QDE.”
Jim Rindone, Phoenix, AZ

The course exceeded my expectations, especially in the depth of information supplied. I got immediate responses when I turned in assignments, and Mr Hayes had terrific feedback.  The real bonus is to speak with a highly experienced professional in the field, as good as a face-to-face tutorial/lecture. I feel I have been on an actual course. The course was challenging, but Mr. Hayes was always supportive and ready to help. I enjoyed the course tremendously!”
M.D., Dublin, Ireland

“Reed Hayes’s training course was a very positive distant-learning experience that provides a deep understanding of the basics in Questioned Handwriting & Document Examination. Each lesson was interesting and informative. The course included a lot of practical exercises that gave me a possibility to put the new learnings into practise right away. Some original documents were also sent by mail for examination which I found very valuable. Despite the distance, Reed was easily accessable and always provided thorough feedback on each lesson’s exam. 
Thank you, Reed for sharing your expertise and for being there for me when ever I needed guidance in my studies.”

Mari Miquel Koivula, Finland

“One of the best academic experiences I have had in my life was when I enrolled in Reed’s Training Course in Questioned Handwriting & Document Examination. Its so detailed yet written in such a way that you want to learn more chapter after chapter. The real life cases Reed included in the training course and the value that brings is simply priceless.  In case you are thinking of which school of Forensic Document Examination to attend, you can settle for this one. I strongly recommend this to all and sundry especially for Graphologists who want to get into the Questioned Document Examination niche. This training course and the trainer are just phenomenal.”
Dipo MacJob (BPharm, CG, FDE), Lagos, Nigeria

“As a newcomer to the forensic document examination discipline, I was intrigued by Mr. Hayes’ training program approach. The robust handwriting examination content and practical application exercises registered as a perfect path for me. To be honest, I was a bit dubious of how efficiently and smoothly would be the online student–instructor process. My concerns began to assuage with the physical and electronic delivery of the course materials and associated items. Mr. Hayes also made it clear that he would be available to answer my questions throughout course. The content in the 31 chapters was rich and concise as well as purposely presented. The chapter quizzes were a great method of aggregating the salient points. Mr. Hayes was exceptionally supportive of my self-determined pacing of this course and was a tremendous factor in me comfortably progressing through it. Upon completion of the final lesson, I felt confident that I had obtained the foundational skills necessary to tackle the real-life cases—in the coursework—to review and render an opinion. The interesting array of cases exposed me to the types of cases I could be examining outside of the classroom. Mr. Hayes is gifted in giving both supportive and corrective feedback. His explanations were clear and useful as I moved through the case studies. When questions were posed, Mr. Hayes’ replies were indeed swift, thoughtful and beneficial. I am resolute the foundation Training Course in Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination has prepared me to take the next steps into this exciting discipline. Without reservation, I recommend this outstanding course.”
Ron Lawrence, Oakland, CA

Impressive & recommended! This is a very comprehensive course of Forensic Document Examination. It is clear the course was prepared by an expert and experienced practitioner. Not only that, Mr. Hayes also seems to have extraordinary pedagogical abilities. The material is arranged completely and systematically.
In the initial chapter, he explained clearly the basic and fundamental things that forensic handwriting examiners need to understand, such as commonly used terms, various forensic tools, background, history, and various other important information. This is very important and very helpful, especially for me as a beginner in this field.
In subsequent chapters the material becomes more extensive and complete. I was amazed that more materials were sent than I had previously thought—books, digital microscope, practice case sheets, measuring tools, spreadsheets, and other supplies.
Each chapter is followed by exercises to refresh the material, in addition, the given case exams (15 supplement cases) plus the final exam really sharpens us for the practice of writing and signature analysis. Mr. Hayes gave real cases and showed us how he accomplished the task complemented by the report he compiled and the story behind the case.
In addition his responses were quick. This can be seen from when I registered some time ago. Even though I am in a different country—Indonesia—it only took a few days to receive a package of books and supplies. Likewise, during the learning process, every question was answered quickly and satisfactorily. I personally really salute and respect Mr. Hayes, expert, practitioner and extraordinary teacher.”
Syibly Avivy A. Mulachela, Indonesia

“The Forensic Document Examination course provided by Reed Hayes is well put together and contains excellent training principles needed in this profession. I found Reed to be most helpful, encouraging, and timely with his marking and feedback. Also, Reed’s availability and accessibility for questions and support were excellent and facilitated the acquisition and refinement of skills. The case studies were helpful in solidifying techniques and refining examination practices. I highly recommend Reed’s course for increased training either for newcomers to the profession or to those already in the field looking to add to their case study exposure and perfect and practice their examination methods.”
Nathalie A. Bureau, London, Ontario, Canada

“It has certainly been a pleasure doing this course with you, and I will recommend you highly every chance I get. From an educator point of view, you are an ideal teacher. Your coursework is well organized and clearly written. Your worksheets include a variety of questioning formats and help students focus on key points, and the practical work is realistic. Each case is useful in teaching a particular area of document examination. Your report formats and models are excellent. By the time I reached final exam time, I felt comfortable with all the material because of your effective teaching methods. You outlined what you were going to teach in the beginning, you taught it well, and you tested on what you had taught. That’s the ideal teaching and learning model. In addition to the scholarly aspects, you are personable, patient and kind, never critical, always positive.”
Linda Green, Stockton, CA

“Reed Hayes’ questioned handwriting and document course is absolutely superb and worth the cost.  The lessons are informative and interesting; homework is practical and useful; supplemental assignments are challenging; the final exam and practical exercise is thought provoking.  Mr. Hayes’ personal interaction, quick response, and cogent explanations make for a pleasant educational experience.  His expertise and experience are unquestionable.

“This is a “meat and potatoes” course that not only well prepares the novice examiner but is an excellent refresher for the experienced examiner.  As a novice document examiner, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a veteran fraud investigator, I encourage everyone working in the field of document examination to take this course.”
Frank J. Panepinto, FDE, CFE, CPP, Chief Fraud Investigator, State of Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions

“I want to thank you publicly for so ably preparing me for my first Court attendance yesterday (a complex money laundering case). I gave evidence and was cross-examined, enormously assured by the knowledge and wisdom you share in your excellent Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination Course. I felt so well prepared for the worst and the worst did not happen. At one point I refused three times to examine signatures in court without ‘the necessary time and my equipment’. It certainly deflated the prosecution! Without your good counsel I may well have fallen into the trap of examining signatures in court. Thank you!”
John Jameson-Davis, Wiltshire, UK

“I only wish I had taken your course years ago. You have been an excellent tutor with always quick response to my assignments and questions. I’m sure completing this course will open up a new pathway for me. With the information that you have taught me, I am now able to take on new cases with extra confidence and knowledge.”
Mike Maran, Aukland, New Zealand

“Can I just say how much I enjoyed your course and how impressed I was with the overall standard and content! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your course to anyone else.”
David Madden, Delgany, Ireland

“I write to commend you for your excellent QDE Course. Your course certainly does have the necessary parts; it is presented professionally, and is truly a pleasure to use both in the groundwork study and challenging supplemental materials. The care with which you put the course together is obvious in every lesson and supplement. However, what motivates me to write is my admiration and appreciation for how you teach. There are many who know a great deal about questioned document examination, but the challenge for the teacher and true value to a QDE student is whether the teacher can effectively impart the knowledge he has. Most students need a teacher who is not only knowledgeable, and you most assuredly are, but one who also knows how to impart the information, including the transfer of subtle nuanced information from so many years of hands on experience. In my opinion, your teaching capability is outstanding in both ways. Thank you for the effective, experienced, rich way you teach. It is invaluable.”
Helen M. Larsen, Esq., Alexandria, VA

“As a graphologist for ten years, I had previously taken on a handful of questioned handwriting cases, but once I started Reed’s comprehensive course I realised how feeble my earlier attempts had been! Reed is a supportive teacher who leads students step-by-step through the process of comparing handwritings. My work was marked and assessed very quickly – I was most impressed. The Course is well written and accessible to anyone not versed in handwriting. There is a wide range of cases taken from real life which students evaluate, and I looked forward to each new assignment: nothing is ever the same in this fascinating discipline! So many factors of Questioned Document Examination are covered in this readable course and there are essential (and very welcome) sections on report writing and preparing to appear in court as an expert witness. I have learnt much studying Reed’s course and I recommend it to anybody with a curious mind, a liking for details and accuracy, and who may be seeking a new direction in life.”
John Jameson-Davis, Wiltshire, UK

“I thoroughly recommend Reed Hayes’ Training Course in Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination for anyone interested in a career in questioned document work, as the course notes are professionally presented. The training would suit anyone with some knowledge of the subject of handwriting, or no knowledge at all, as the lessons are in an easy to understand, logical order and all handwriting features are included. I did not feel at all isolated working through a correspondence course as Mr. Hayes was always available to answer any questions and I found him to be helpful and patient throughout. As the course has been well planned, I found no difficulty in reading the notes on separate lessons and then completing the assignments for each one. At no time was there any pressure to submit completed work, and I was able to manage and organise my own time realistically as I found each homework manageable. Finishing the course and being awarded the Certificate of Training has given me the necessary skills to practice examining questioned documents with confidence.”
Margaret Webb, Berkshire, UK

“As a practicing document examiner I continuously take part in different training programs to stay up to date with new research and technology as they become available. Reed’s Training Course in Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination is extremely well organized and packed full of quality information for both the novice and the seasoned expert. Reed is truly invested in your success and offers both email and telephone support throughout the training program. Reed’s integrity is unmatched and his 15 plus years of professional experience provides the student with an additional bonus that you can’t put a price tag on. Of all the courses on the market today, Reed’s is by far the best for the price. If you are interested in a career in forensic handwriting or document examination I highly recommend this course over any other. I guarantee you will be happy with the results.”
Roy Fenoff, Fort Collins, CO

“When I read Reed’s book “Forensic Handwriting Examination” in 2007 I knew I could do questioned signature work.  My interest was piqued by his book!  I also participated in a workshop in Kansas City in 2008 where Reed presented the “Fundamentals of Questioned Handwriting & Document Examination.” With this newfound knowledge I realized there was still a lot to learn!  Since then I have been learning more about QD work through Reed’s training course. The course is practical and very educational and Reed is always available for questions and clarification when you need him. With Reed’s practical expertise, ethical standards and many years of experience, students can begin a new career with a solid education in the field of Questioned Handwriting and Document Examination.  I am proud to be a student of Reed Hayes and look forward to learning more about Questioned Document work from him!”
Sandra Foote, Superior, NE

“For me, the areas of learning in your course were superb. The material was very well organized and each lesson flowed easily into the next. The tests after the lessons were well designed. And, just as importantly, your prompt reply to my questions via e-mail carried a lot of weight. After all, remember I am taking a course on line and hope to have a good instructor who takes a serious interest in what he/she is teaching. I would have no problem referring potential students for your course.”
M. W., Tulsa, OK