How to Become an FBI Profiler

FBI agents analyze the behavior of an unknown perpetrator to predict future behavior, which can help officers track, identify and apprehend them. Becoming an FBI profiler is no easy endeavor. It takes years and years of training and experience. Not that this should deter you from aspiring to become one. Despite the many years it will take to get to get to that position, it might turn out to be a most satisfying career.

To become an FBI profiler, you must first become an FBI agent. Not only do you need to become an FBI agent, but you also need 3 years of experience as an FBI agent before you can apply for the job. So just how does one become an FBI agent? Well, first you have to apply for the job, but it should be noted that there are a couple of things that will automatically disqualify you as a candidate. Those conditions that disqualify a candidate include not being a U.S. citizen, an age that is not within the range of 23 and 37, an invalid driver’s license, a defaulted student loan insured by the U.S. Government, failure to pay court-ordered child support, a felony conviction, the lack of a 4-year degree from an accredited institution; failure to file federal, state, or local income tax returns and less than three years full-time working experience. However, the working experience requirement might be waived if the candidate has a Juris Doctorate (J.D.), an advanced degree, or a license to operate as a Certified Public Accountant.

Candidates can apply online or directly at the FBI office that’s responsible for their jurisdiction. They’ll be asked to fill out a form with suitability questions related to their employment eligibility. Once that’s done the agency will select those candidates who are best suited to the job. Candidates are then required to take a three-hour exam consisting of cognitive, behavioral, and logical reasoning tests, as well as, attend a meet and greet interview. Candidates will then have to take a 90-minute exam and submit themselves to a 1-hour oral panel interview. If the agency expresses a wish to hire them after this, they’ll be offered a conditional job offer. Upon accepting the offer, candidates will have to submit themselves to an intensive physical fitness test.  Candidates will also have to take and pass a psychological evaluation, a drug test, a medical examination, and a polygraph test.

After passing this stage, candidates will be sent to the FBI training facility in Quantico, Virginia to receive training. Training will last about 21 weeks and will include, firearms training, education (on subjects like the law, basic and advanced investigative and intelligence techniques, ethics, forensic science, and interrogation), defensive tactics training, case exercises (in which trainees will be thrown into real life scenarios), and instruction on physical fitness. Trainees who graduate from the training program are instated as FBI agents, but they’ll spend the next 18-month gaining hands-on experience working in different specialties within the FBI’s jurisdiction.

Those who have acquired the prerequisite years of experience, a minimum of 3 years investigative experience, can apply to work in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), the unit that FBI profilers work under. Successful applicants will undergo training that includes classroom training and working with an experienced Agent-Profiler. After two to three years of training, they’ll emerge as fully fledged FBI profilers, equipped with the knowledge to carry out their duties. If we take into consideration the time it takes to earn a degree, it will take about 14 years to go from undergraduate student to FBI profiler.