How To Become a Profiler

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: December 1, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Criminal Justice
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Going into law enforcement offers a rewarding career. One of the most unique careers in law enforcement is one as a profiler. This type of career offers a rewarding option for those looking to help solve crimes.

If you learn how to become a profiler, this job could be yours. Of course, before you choose to go down this career path, you’ll want to understand the job better. Let’s look at the job duties of a profiler, along with the steps to become a profiler.

How To Become a Profiler

Job Duties of a Profiler

When you become a profiler, you will work with criminal investigations from a psychological standpoint. Most of your job will include working with others in law enforcement. You will create profiles of criminals, which are known as criminal investigative analysis.

The profiles you create will require you to look at the behaviors, emotions, and personalities of present and past criminals. The information you gather will be used to create a profile to better help law enforcement find criminals.

As a profiler, your job will likely include the following duties:

These job duties will likely become a part of your job when you learn how to become a profiler.

How to Become a Profiler in 5 Steps

Step #1 – Complete High School

You will need to get your high school diploma or a GED to become a profiler. This is the first step towards this career. When you’re in high school, it’s best to finish with as high of a GPA as possible. You will also want to score well on the SAT or ACT.

Step #2 – Get a Bachelor’s Degree

It’s best to get a bachelor’s degree before you enter into the law enforcement field. This will be necessary for a career as a profiler. With a good GPA and high SAT or ACT scores, you can get into a top college or university. This can help set you apart when you apply for this type of career.

The most common type of degree you should get is one in criminal justice. You can also get a degree in forensic sciences, psychology, or another related field. A minor or double major including psychology can be very helpful for those looking to become profilers.

Step #3 – Go Through the Law Enforcement Training Academy

You will need to become a part of law enforcement if you want to become a profiler. You can go through the law enforcement training academy on the local or state level with the police department. Before you can enter this training, you must meet the basic requirements including:

Before you apply to become a part of law enforcement, make sure you choose an agency with a behavioral science or criminal profiling division. This will make it easier for you to work through the ranks and become a profiler.

Step #4 – Work in Investigation

If you want to become a profiler, you will likely need to gain some experience in the investigations field. This experience will come as you work through the ranks of law enforcement. When an opportunity presents itself, take advantage. Any experience you can get with investigation is helpful.

Step #5 – Get an Advanced Degree

It’s very common for profilers to hold a graduate degree. A Ph.D. in Forensic Science or a Master’s Degree will help you get into this type of career.

Profiler positions can be very competitive. Anything you can do to set yourself apart can help. An advanced degree is likely going to be required to get into this career.

Necessary Skills for Profilers

You will need many specific skills to become a successful profiler. Some of the most common skills include:

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Profiler

How much can I make as a profiler?

If you work as a special agent for the FBI, your salary will be based on the General Schedule Grade pay scale. You will likely earn between $45,771 and $129,517 per year.

Those working for another employer will earn a salary in a similar range. Alaska, Maryland, Hawaii, California, and New Jersey are the states paying the highest wage for profilers.

What type of jobs do profilers tend to take on?

Profilers will likely work in many different positions with law enforcement. Some will actually be called criminal profilers, while others will go into other positions including:

These types of positions tend to be rather common for profilers to fill.

What type of work environment is common for profilers?

It’s common for profilers to spend some time in an office setting and time in the field. You will likely work longer hours and you may need to work nights and weekends. Travel is often a part of the job, as you will likely need to visit crime scenes, speak with victims, and interview witnesses.

How long will it take to become a profiler?

The time it will take you to become a profiler will depend on the type of profiler you become. If you work for a local or state police department, it may not take as long as if you become an FBI profiler. It will likely take between 7 and 15 years to earn this position, however.

You will need a bachelor’s degree and likely a master’s degree or Ph.D. This will take a considerable amount of time. It’s also necessary to gain law enforcement experience, which will take a few years to complete.

Is it difficult to become a profiler?

Yes, this is a difficult career path. While the jobs seen on TV shows, such as Criminal Minds and Hannibal, may seem exciting, they are very hard to get. There are not many positions for profilers and most agencies don’t directly employ them. Instead, they rely on partnerships with the FBI and other larger agencies when they need profilers.

This career has also seen a larger number of people wanting to enter it. The competition is fierce and it can be difficult to enter this career. It’s best to make sure you have the best education possible, the best experience possible, and a strong resume. You have to stand out if you want to become a profiler.

What are the requirements to become an FBI profiler?

The FBI is the largest employer of profilers in the United States. If you want to get a job with the FBI, as a profiler, you will need to become a Special Agent. This means you have to meet the following requirements:

Even after becoming a special agent, it’s not guaranteed that you will become a profiler. It takes time and there is plenty of training to complete.

There are many careers in law enforcement, but none quite like that of a profiler. This type of career is one that takes time and unique experience to enter. However, it can be a very rewarding career.

If you want to help law enforcement solve crimes, becoming a profiler might be the perfect career for you. Just be prepared to get a good education and work your way up through the ranks until you can enter into this career.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.