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How Much Do FBI Profilers Make?
The term "FBI Profiler" conjures images of federal agents tracking down serial killers and using the latest knowledge in behavioral science to develop psychological profiles of dangerous predators. Although no FBI officials hold the title of "profiler," some experienced agents with behavioral science knowledge perform the job functions associated with profilers and earn salaries consistent with those paid to senior law enforcement officials in the federal government.
Despite the popularity of the term, "profiler" is not an actual job title in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI reportes that supervisory special agents assigned to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Quantico, Virginia, perform job tasks associated with profiling. Supervisory special agents receive salaries based on step 14 of the federal government's General Service salary schedule, the FBI reports. GS-14 salaries in 2011 for the Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia area ranged from $105,211 to $136,771 per year.
Becoming a supervisory agent with profiling responsibilities requires years of experience as a special agent. New special agents' salaries start out at step 10 of the GS salary schedule for law enforcement officers. Salaries at this level ranged from $47,297 to $61,031 per year in 2011, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In addition to the starting salary of $47,297 for new special agents at GS-10, the FBI reports that special agents receive compensation to adjust for differences in the cost of living across the country. Special agents in the Washington, D.C., area, for example, earn more than agents in other parts of the country because of the higher cost of living in the nation's capital.
Assignment to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC), the FBI unit that houses special agents who perform profiling responsibilities, requires at least three years' experience as a special agent. However, because profiling jobs are so competitive, agents selected for the jobs usually have between eight and 10 years' experience. Like other special agents, men and women who are interested in profiling must have a college degree and complete the FBI's basic training academy. There is no specific degree requirement for assignment to the NCAVC, but the FBI reports that many job advertisements list an advanced degree in a behavioral or forensic science field as a preferred qualification.
Experienced senior profiling agents in the FBI have the potential to advance to GS-15, the highest level in the federal government's salary schedule. Salaries for supervisory agents at GS-15 in Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia ranged from $123,758 to $155,500 per year in 2011.
Shane Hall is a writer and research analyst with more than 20 years of experience. His work has appeared in "Brookings Papers on Education Policy," "Population and Development" and various Texas newspapers. Hall has a Doctor of Philosophy in political economy and is a former college instructor of economics and political science.