how to become a criminal profiler

How To Become A Criminal Profiler Complete Career Guide

Criminal Justice Career Guides Criminal Justice Degree

How To Become A Criminal Profiler Complete Career Guide

Criminal Profiling

Criminal profiling profession is a mixture of criminal investigation and psychology. The criminal profilers assist the law enforcement and government agencies that pursue perpetrators. The criminal profilers have background in forensics and psychology. Through their background the criminal profiler looks for personality traits and characteristics of criminals. In a nutshell the criminal profilers search for human traits for crime scenes and find out the reason behind humans’ committing the crime.

Criminal profiling is combination of analyzing the physical and behavioral evidence, reconstructing the crime from the begging to the end and coming up with most scientific determination possible with the evidence available.

Criminal Profiler Job description

The prime responsibility of a criminal profiler is to make psychological profile of a criminal suspect. In the profile the traits and behaviors of the suspects are mentioned. The profile carries information about the behavior of the suspected criminal, his conduct during crime and common patterns that he or she follows during crime. . This profile helps the law enforcing agencies to easily identify and catch the suspect.

A criminal profile is created by:

Examining the evidence from crime

Interviewing witnesses and victims

Analyzing the crime scene

During the investigations, the criminal profiler has to look for patterns that are being followed. For example take an example of a robbery, the criminal profiler will have to look for methods used to invade the house and the patterns that were followed during the crime.

The profilers will than match the patterns with already existing profiles. Matching these profiles will help him or her identify similar patterns through which he can identify the suspected criminals.

Psychological profiling also helps criminal profilers to understand the human behaviors during crimes and the way humans respond to the legal system of the State. Criminal profilers work for local, state and federal law enforcement and government agencies. Apart from this, criminal profilers also work independently and render their services to lawyers and police department on contracts.

Criminal profilers with doctorate degree can work in the field of academia and research. The findings of these researchers can be used in the field to further clarify the concepts of human psychology and crime. The criminal profilers can be called in courts to testify as expert witness.

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Traits of a good criminal profiler

A criminal profiler uses both inductive and deductive reasoning to develop a profile of criminals based on the characteristics of the crime committed. The FBI stated the following traits to be present in a successful criminal profiler.

A criminal profiler must have

  • Critical thinking skill through logic and reasoning.
  • Strong intuition and analytical skills
  • Emotional detachment
  • Understanding of criminal minds and psychology
  • Active listening ability to understand what is and isn’t said
  • Complex problem solving ability
  •  Ability to apply scientific reasoning in criminal investigation
  • Determination and persistence
  • Attention to details
  • The ability to convey information effectively
  • Ability to arrange complex material in clear manner

Steps for becoming a Criminal Profiler

There are varieties of educational, experimental and career paths for becoming a criminal profiler. Some pursue criminal profiler programs while others join law enforcement agencies to pursue their career in the field.

In this section we shall discuss about the steps that you can take to pursue your care as a criminal profiler.

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Graduate from high school

The candidates with the interest in becoming criminal profiler have to complete their high school education. The students who have interest in the subjects of psychology and government policies are highly advised to pursue their career in the field.

There are internships program offered by the local police departments in many of the states.  The students with interest in the field join these internship programs to enhance their chances of employment in the field.

If you are one of those college students who have interest in the profession of criminal profiler, you are advised to look for these internship opportunities at your local police department.

Get a bachelor’s degree

For the people who are planning to land at higher positions as criminal profilers must have a bachelor’s degree. Most of the federal and state law enforcement agencies prefer the candidates with bachelor’s degree.

There are wide ranges of programs that can qualify a candidate for the position of criminal profiler however the bachelor’s degree program must have majors like psychology, forensics, criminal justice or similar field.  Aspiring students are highly advised to strengthen their grip on the subjects of law, criminal justice, crime scene analysis, psychology, forensics and sociology.

Attend Law Enforcement Academy

It important to understand that only a bachelor’s degree you cannot help you become a criminal profiler. The job of criminal profiler requires an experience of several years in investigation and crime analysis. The typical path to gain this experience is to begin your career in local or state level law enforcement agencies. Not only it will help you become a criminal profiler, it will also help you understand the basic principles of criminal justice system.

Successful criminal profilers have extensive experience in the field of investigation therefore it is recommended to attend a training program in one of the law enforcement training academies. The qualification requirement for each academy is different. However the general requirements for the candidates in most of the academies are to be a US citizen, possess a valid driving license and no felony convictions. The duration for the training program can be between three to five months.

It is important to note here that all law enforcement agencies do not have profiling divisions. So before you join law enforcement agency it is crucial to search about the agency and find out if the agency has criminal profiling division.

Get Competitive

Getting a job in law enforcement agency does not necessarily mean that you have achieved the mile stone of becoming a criminal profiler. There is huge competition for becoming a criminal profiler and an aspiring candidate will have to meet the standards before he can be selected for criminal profiling.

To put yourself best in a position to become a criminal profiler you will need to build a strong resume that demonstrates that you have education, experience and training necessary for the grueling task of criminal profiler.

Relevant experience in the field is also important to become a criminal profiler. You will need to work through the ranks of law enforcement agencies. For example in law enforcement agencies you will have to work as an investigator or a detective and work on violent crimes. During the job of investigator or detective you will have to handle many sorts of crimes. All these years of serving in law enforcement agencies will help you gain useful experience which will help you become a criminal profiler.

During your job in law enforcement agencies you can expect interviews and several other assessment tests. Based on these assessments the agency will decide about you compatibility for the job of criminal profiler. You past record in the department shall be exceptional which means that you must have well written reports and successful arrests and prosecutions

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Physical fitness requirements

As the criminal profiling is a career of law enforcement therefore it requires certain level of physical fitness. If you are not in shape, consult your doctor and start improving you physical fitness so that your fitness doesn’t become a hurdle in your way to get you dream job. The requirements are different for each agency however if you exercise regularly and maintain your physical fitness you are most likely to compete physically.



According to the FBI– the pioneer agency of criminal profiling, in addition to the law enforcement and police academy training criminal profilers receive professional training to further polish their skills and prepare themselves for the job of criminal profiling.

This professional training is conducted by various unites such as FBI’s behavioral unit and national center for analysis of violent crimes. Initial training includes 500 hours of training and profilers are also expected to join national and international profiling organizations. Moreover the profilers also attend seminars and continuing education courses for staying active in their fields.

Getting started

The job of criminal profiler is incredibly interesting with plenty of challenges to keep you busy and excited about your duties. If you are motivated and willing to become a criminal profiler then there is no time like present to get started on gaining the knowledge, training and experience that you will need for this great job of Criminal justice system.

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