Psychological profiling, commonly referred to criminal profiling, criminological profiling, criminal personality profiling, behavioral profiling or criminal investigative analysis, is a behavioral and investigative tool that is designed to to help criminal investigators to profile unknown criminal offenders or subjects.
Most psychological profilers work for the FBI and hold the title of special agent. The FBI does have positions with the title of psychological or criminal profiler, which generally are special agents under the NVCAVC or National Analysis of Violent Crime at Quantico, Virginia. They are tasked with the responsibility of constructing psychological profiles of unidentified criminal offenders and also offering advice on assistance in assessing threats, case management, and interogation strategies to all law enforcement agencies, both local and abroad.
Outside the FBI, most psychological profilers and other specialists such as statisticians or social science professionals, usually work at a college or university conducting part time investigations, but many psychological profilers are beginning to work full time conducting criminal investigations.
Other profilers work cold cases full time. This usually means working cases involving the family of a homicide victim or police department cases that have never been solved. If the case is closed and the family has all the police records and case photos, the profiler may work on the case in his own office rather than going to the crime location. If the police do not have an issue with allowing crime scene information out of their files (and most do), the police may also send case information directly to the profiler for review and analysis. If case files cannot leave the police department, the profiler will have to work on the case at the police department where the case files are located. Additionally, if important information can be found by visiting the crimes scene and interviewing individuals, the profiler may be required to perform a bit of field work.
If you would like to begin a career in psychological profiling, many agencies are seeking applicants with experience in psychology and investigative work, so it would be beneficial to have to double major while in college, preferably in criminal justice and psychology, and have some investigative experience. However, to improve your opportunities, earn an undergraduate degree in psychology and then earn a master's degree in criminology while taking a few courses in psychology. Keep in mind there are not a lot of profiling jobs so opportunities will be limited.
The AAFS website lists forensic science openings throughout the nation.
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