Graphology, or graphoanalysis, is the study of handwriting for forensic, employment and even psychological purposes. Professionals can become a graphologist for any or all of these reasons. Certification is available from a variety of institutions around the world, which will prepare students for the field; yet, other training will be necessary to apply graphology to a particular discipline.
A handful of schools outside the United States offer accredited degrees to become a graphologist. These include the Autonomous University in Spain, Emerson University in Argentina and the University of Urbino in Italy. Within the United States, graphology education in 2011 is primarily provided via correspondence courses available from accrediting agencies like the International Graphoanalysis Society (IGAS) in Kensington, Pennsylvania.
Classes to become a graphologist will include theories and methods used to identify handwriting characteristics. This focuses on the physiological and psychological factors that go into the development of a person's particular style of handwriting. The classes may also delve further into subject matter that helps graphologists surmise various personality traits merely by analyzing a person's style of writing.
Before you become a graphologist, however, a more-established discipline should be chosen in which to apply the craft. Many of these fields require advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry or even linguistics. A full understanding of the ego and how it may or may not effect handwriting patterns is necessary before grasping the full scope of graphology.
Forensic graphology involves identifying characteristics of handwriting to solve criminal cases. These crimes can range from simple bad check cases to serial murder. Many courts around the world will have a handwriting expert to verify claims made by plaintiffs or defendants. These experts are often expected to obtain certification from one of several worldwide graphology training institutions as well as register as expert witnesses for the court in which they are called to testify.
The exact origin of graphology is unclear, but it appears to be linked to several books published in the 16th and 17th centuries by prominent Latino authors, including one by author Camilo Baldi. In American graphologist Klara Roman's book Handwriting: A Key to Personality, Baldi is given credit for starting the field. To become a graphologist, students must pore over this kind of cornerstone literature to become well-versed on the origins of this pseudoscience as well as its many uses.