Criminal Profiler

Paint a psychological portrait of criminal suspects to help solve crimes.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$39,000 – $109,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Criminal Profilers do?

Criminal Profilers weave together stories describing people in great detail. These aren’t the sorts of stories parents read to kids at bedtime, however. Instead, they’re stories of dastardly deeds and the people who did them, and they’re used by Police Officers to catch criminals before they strike again.

If you’re a Criminal Profiler, your first step is to look over crime scene reports to help you determine where the crime took place. Next, you interview victims of the crime, or read their autopsy reports if the crime ended badly, to look for additional clues.

Once you’ve formed a picture in your mind of exactly what happened, you begin to research. You might read reports of other people who have committed similar crimes, or you might conduct research on particular types of weapons and how they’re used. Reading psychology textbooks and papers might fill your days as you try to determine what motivates people to do certain things.

Writing rounds out your work. The report you generate contains details about what the criminal looks like, where they might live, and what they might do for a living. While Police Officers love specific details, those sorts of details might be hard to come by. Hunches, probabilities, and guesses could be the best you have to offer, especially if you’re given very little evidence to examine.

Because of television crime shows like Law and Order, people often think the job of a Criminal Profiler is much more glamorous than it is. So don’t be surprised if you have to remind your friends that you can’t read minds, and that you rarely produce reports in an hour.


Should I be a Criminal Profiler?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Sex Offender Treatment Professional

    How to become a Criminal Profiler

    Most Criminal Profilers have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aajaa9&chl=||associate%27s+%2813%25%29||master%27s+%281%25%29|doctorate+%2887%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,87
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