How To Become a Criminal Profiler

If you have an interest in criminal justice, pay attention to details and are curious why people behave the way they do, you might wonder how to become a criminal profiler. Criminal profiling is the investigative practice of using evidence found at crime scenes and psychological perspectives to piece together a collection of characteristics that the suspect is thought to possess. This profile is based on the methods used in the crime, the traits of victims and any “signature” that sets the crimes apart. The growing popularity of crime drama television shows has made criminal profiling seem like an appealing career field. This investigative tool is known by several other names, including behavioral profiling, offender profiling, and criminal investigative analysis.

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which typically handles the kind of high-profile crimes that would require a criminal profiler, does not offer jobs with the exact title of “profiler.” However, criminal profiling is part of the job responsibilities of a special group of agents within the FBI, Supervisory Special Agents who work out of the Quantico, Virginia-based National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. These high-level positions are greatly sought-after, so aspiring criminal profilers should plan on spending a minimum of three years working as a special agent for the FBI before seeking a promotion to Supervisory Special Agent. The FBI states that many Supervisory Special Agents work for eight to ten years as special agents before earning a promotion into this select group.

Securing a position as a special agent with the FBI takes anywhere from six months to multiple years. First, candidates should earn a bachelor’s degree. Popular subjects of study for aspiring FBI agents include engineering, law and finance, though candidates who are serious about pursuing a position that involves criminal profiling should consider taking extensive coursework in criminal justice and psychology. The duties of an FBI agent can be physically demanding. Candidates must be in good health and physical condition to pass the grueling mandatory physical fitness test in order to complete the application process. Additional physical requirements include having excellent vision and hearing… Applicants are also subjected to background checks, medical assessments and polygraph testing.

An FBI agent’s salary depends upon pay grade as well as additional factors such as locality pay and availability pay. Once they have completed training, new special agents typically earn an annual salary that ranges from $61,100 to $69,900, according to the FBI. Careers with the FBI include benefits such as a retirement plan, vacation time and health insurance. For those Supervisory Special Agents who perform criminal profiling, catching criminals and potentially saving the lives of victims makes their work deeply satisfying and well worth the years of preparation. If you have a desire to help law enforcement agencies identify criminals and the physical condition to meet the demands of the job, knowing how to become a criminal profiler could be the start of a fast-paced, rewarding new career.

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