For 14 years the TV show Criminal Minds has portrayed an elite squad of FBI agents who work to anticipate a perpetrator's next move. One critical member of the "mind hunter" team is a profiler, and with the right education, that could be you someday.
Welcome to the world of criminal profiling. It's not what you see on television, but The Balance Careers calls it "one of the most fascinating, challenging and interesting careers" for criminal justice professionals.
What Does a Criminal Profiler Do?
According to the website Criminal Justice Degree Schools, criminal profilers examine evidence to determine the profile of a person who might commit a crime, based on the idea that behavior holds insights into personality and other traits. As forensic scientists, profilers analyze evidence to hypothesize age, education, appearance and even the likelihood of the person committing the same type of crime again, all of which helps investigators focus on the most likely suspects and the best methods of apprehension.
Criminal profilers also help investigators determine if a crime scene has been staged, and they are sometimes called upon to reconstruct crime scenes after the fact. They also may suggest possible motives.
Do You Have What It Takes?
It is an appealing job for sure. And the salary potential ($83,220 for a criminal investigator, often the classification of criminal profilers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) plus good benefits makes a career as a criminal profiler enticing.
But be forewarned. Competition abounds, and it's not easy to enter the profession.
The Balance Careers offers some qualifications for a criminal profiler:
- Criminal profilers generally have a background as detectives or investigators who work for state police, large municipal police departments or the FBI.
- As a law enforcement career, a certain level of physical fitness is required.
- You will need to pass an extensive background check will be made when the job begins.
- Initial training could include up to 500 hours or more at the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and the National Centers for the Analysis of Violent crime.
Given this very competitive environment, you need an edge and an MS in criminal science can increase your chances.
The curriculum in an MS in criminal science program offers a broad foundation of the criminal justice system, examines the relationships between law enforcement and criminal justice, and provides vital training in advanced methods of social research. In addition, these programs often feature advanced seminars on analysis of the criminal justice policies and criminological theory.
The online program at Texas A&M International University is perfect for law enforcement professionals (or others) who want to fast track their careers. Master's candidates can complete the program in 12 months.
Sources:Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages – Detectives and Criminal Investigators
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