Criminal Profiler Job Description

Criminal Profiler Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a criminal profiler. Feel free to use our criminal profiler job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a criminal profiler.


Who is a Criminal Profiler?

Criminal profiling is an investigative strategy used by law enforcement agencies to identify likely suspects and has been used by investigators to link cases that may have been committed by the same perpetrator. Multiple crimes may be linked to a specific offender and the profile may be used to predict the identified offender’s future actions. The most routinely used typology in profiling is categorizing crime scenes and by extension offenders’ personalities as either organized or disorganized. Criminal profiling can also be ex-ante or ex-post. Descriptive profiling of a perpetrator is a type of ex-post and can be used to prevent a serial killer from striking again.


Five steps in profiling include:

  • Analyzing the criminal act and comparing it to similar crimes in the past.
  • An in-depth analysis of the actual crime scene.
  • Considering the victim’s background and activities for possible motives and connections.
  • Considering other possible motives.
  • Developing a description of the possible offender that can be compared with previous cases.

Criminal profiling’s continued popularity has been speculatively attributed to the broad use of anecdotes and testimonials, a focus on correct predictions over the number of incorrect ones, ambiguous profiles benefiting from the Barnum effect, and the popular appeal of the fantasy of a sleuth with deductive powers like Hercule Poirot.

A criminal profiler is part of the investigative team and uses specialized techniques and training to identify criminals. Also known as investigative analysts, a criminal profiler compiles and compares data from similar crime offenders to create a profile of a suspect. They form logical hypotheses based on witness reports, victim testimony, and crime scene evidence. Criminal profilers often lead investigations as they study the nature of a crime, analyze the clues left behind, and interview witnesses to inform their conclusions. He or she consults with local police or other law enforcement agencies on major cases that require their specific expertise. The objective of criminal profilers is to develop a psychological profile of a suspect based on the evidence available. The nature of the crime and the clues left behind can help a skilled criminal profiler deduce that the responsible criminal likely possesses certain characteristics or traits. They may also assist from afar by reviewing and analyzing evidence.

Most criminal profilers look at the emotions, behaviors, and personalities of past and present criminal offenders whilst performing their duties. They have a strong background in law enforcement and criminal justice and have been in the field for several years before becoming a criminal psychologist. Some agencies that employ these professionals also require them to complete training that is unique to the agency. Many criminal profilers must also have strong physical fitness training. Often, the description of a suspect done by a criminal profiler includes both psychological and demographic variables such as personality and physical traits. While detectives usually focus on solving crimes, criminal profilers specialize in identifying the criminals behind serious crimes including serial killers, serial arsonists, or unidentified terrorists.

Furthermore, criminal profilers can serve either as the lead investigators in major cases or as consultants to other law enforcement agencies who have sought the assistance and expertise of profiles. The details and nature of many cases can be gruesome and troubling; criminal profilers often work on violent crimes. Work schedules can be unpredictable. While criminal profilers often work during normal business hours analyzing evidence and performing other investigative functions, major crimes demanding the work of criminal profilers can happen at any time. Hence, a criminal profiler is prepared to work overtime and on weekends

In the pursuit of criminals, law enforcement is made up of many roles and operations. The role of a criminal profiler can make a difference in the successful identification and apprehension of a suspect. Criminal profilers use traditional investigative techniques alongside psychology and analytical skills. To develop psychological profiles of a suspect based on evidence, criminal profilers must have extensive investigatory knowledge and the ability to review and analyze evidence. They work closely with law enforcement agencies, visit crime scenes, and perform extensive analysis to identify patterns or consistency in criminal behavior. A criminal profiler is required to continue training to stay abreast with laws and regulations as well as learn new or modern investigative techniques and tools.

Criminal Profiler Job Description

Below are the criminal profiler job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a criminal profiler job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a criminal profiler include the following:

  • Identify behavior patterns, personality traits, psychological status, demographic, and geographical information based on the crime scene to develop offender profiles.
  • Develop working knowledge of personality assessments, investigative strategy, geographic profiling, interviewing techniques, and crime analysis.
  • Provide advice and guidance to police officers and investigators.
  • Conduct research and analyze data from similar case files to conclude.
  • Engage in ongoing training to remain knowledgeable and learn about new developments in the field.
  • Professionally conduct yourself and adhere to local laws and regulations.
  • Provide expert testimony in a court trial as required.
  • Study the psychology of past and present criminals and make correlations between similar criminal types.
  • Administer personality assessments and psychological testing.
  • Study and utilize investigative strategy, various law enforcement interviewing techniques, and crime scene analysis.
  • Build profiles of offenders that guide law enforcement when trying to find the offender.
  • Analyze evidence, crime scene reports, witness and victim testimonies, and any suspects to better form a profile.
  • Read and prepare reports for law enforcement agencies.
  • Create profiles of unknown offenders by developing their behavioral, personality, and biographical characteristics.
  • Assist in writing the probable cause section of an affidavit or search warrant.
  • Analyze statements from suspects to detect possible motivations, hidden meanings, and deception.
  • Design media strategies and write press releases to motivate offenders or witnesses to contact authorities.
  • Assess an individual’s potential for violence in specific situations.
  • Educate other law enforcement officers on criminal profiling techniques.



Criminal profiling started to become a major focus of law enforcement in the 1970s and the decades since then. It has become a common tool in investigating and solving crimes. Many people have become familiar with criminal profiling through movies and television shows that highlight the practice of developing psychological profiles of criminals based on their behaviors. A bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum educational requirement, but advanced degrees are common among criminal profilers. Years of experience and advanced training are required to become a criminal profiler. Therefore, the basic qualifications for criminal profilers are;

  • Training: Criminal profilers must undergo an additional two or three years of training that involves classroom work and working with an experienced profiler even after joining a law enforcement agency.
  • Education: Criminal profilers need a bachelor’s degree in psychology, criminal; justice, or behavioral science. Forensic science is also a common field of study for this career but is usually only offered at the master’s level. Criminal justice programs integrate social science with knowledge of legal proceedings, the law, and the criminal justice system.
  • Experience: To become a profiler, it is necessary to receive law enforcement training and experience from a police academy as well as build a long resume of investigative experience.


Essential Skills

In addition to specific training necessary to work in law enforcement, criminal profilers need to be highly skilled in several areas to be effective at their jobs. A criminal profiler needs several skills to succeed such as;

  • Analytical skills: Criminal profilers spend much of their time analyzing past and present criminals, various data related to crimes, and the behavior and emotions of others. They must be able to use all of this information to infer conclusions and create profiles that are helpful to law enforcement. Strong analytical skills ensure the criminal profiler can analyze complex data without overlooking smaller details.
  • Perception: Criminal profilers can see things most people might miss. More than just recognizing clues at crime scenes they can pick up on the social cues of others and see patterns where they are not obvious. This requires excellent perception skills.
  • Communication skills: Criminal profilers rarely work alone; rather, they work as part of a team within a law enforcement department. They must be able to work well with others and communicate effectively.
  • Attention to detail: Even the smallest piece of information can be relevant in criminal profiling. Good criminal profilers recognize this and make note of small details even if they don’t seem relevant at the time. They may turn out to be relevant once other evidence is uncovered or analyzed.
  • Objectivity: Because criminal profilers often work on potentially disturbing cases, they must be able to view situations objectively and use their best judgment and intuition without letting their emotions interfere.
  • Active listening skills: This type of law enforcement professional regularly interviews criminals, witnesses, and victims to gather relevant information and form an effective criminal profiler. They must listen carefully and attentively and understand what is and isn’t being said.
  • Physical stamina: While the specific requirements may vary from agency to agency, criminal profilers need to demonstrate and maintain a high level of physical fitness and stamina.


How to Become a Criminal Profiler

A criminal profiler is an essential component of law enforcement agencies’ criminal departments and is responsible for solving crimes based on various psychological factors. There are different paths a person can take to become a criminal profiler. While no set path is right or wrong, the most common way that individuals pursue a career as a criminal profiler includes the following steps;

  • Get a high school diploma: The first step to becoming a criminal profiler is to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. If you wish to pursue a career in law enforcement and make your way up the ranks to become a criminal profiler, you will need a high school diploma to join a police department.
  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree: Most individuals choose to pursue higher education before joining law enforcement to provide them ample opportunity to learn the academic side of the job. Several programs can prepare you for a career as a criminal profiler with the most common being a degree in criminal justice, forensic sciences, psychology, or a related field.
  • Complete a law enforcement training academy: You can do this through a local or state police department or another agency. To be considered for the academy, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an officer which include being at least 21 years of age, having some level of college education completed, and having a clean criminal record.
  • Work in an investigative field: You likely won’t be able to become a criminal profiler by just getting a bachelor’s degree and completing a law enforcement training academy program. You will need real experience and sometimes a lot of it. Look for opportunities that offer an investigative experience to help build up your resume and hone your skills as a criminal profiler.
  • Pursue an advanced degree: Many criminal profilers hold a graduate degree. Pursuing a master’s or Ph.D. in forensic science, psychology, or a related field can help set you apart from the competition and increase your knowledge of the discipline of criminal profiling.


Where to Work as a Criminal Profiler

A criminal profiler may work for law enforcement agencies and forensic experts. Most criminal profilers are employed by international and national crime investigative agencies. In the United States, for example, one of the most common sources of employment for criminal profilers is the FBI which also provides training in the practice to other law enforcement officials around the world. Some profilers also teach and train prospective agents and other law enforcement officers about the techniques used in criminal profiling and the skills necessary in crime educational institutions. Also, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives hires criminal profilers certified in criminal investigative analysis to identify arsonists and bombers. Local and State police can also hire criminal profilers.


Criminal Profiler Salary Scale

Criminal profilers are paid according to the federal and state government’s general schedule paytable. Hence, the annual average salary for criminal profilers is $62,065. Salaries vary widely depending on factors such as levels of education, years of experience, employers, and cost of living in a particular location. Below are the salary percentiles for criminal profilers according to research;

  1. 10thpercentile receives $46,000 per year.
  2. 25thpercentile receives a salary of $59,620 annually.
  3. 50thpercentiles are paid $86,940 yearly. This is the median salary
  4. 75thpercentile receives $111,900 per year and
  5. 90thpercentile receives $146,000 per annum.

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