Should I Recommend Criminal Profiling as a Career for My Undergraduate Psychology Majors?
For most of my career, students in my classes always asked me about becoming a clinical or counseling psychologist, what was needed to be admitted into those graduate programs, and so forth. (Rarely did they ask about my field of social psychology!) However, in the last few years, more students have told me that they want information on becoming a criminal profiler.
As Troy W. Ertelt and Kristin E. Matson note in their review of Curt R. Bartol and Anne M. Bartol's Criminal and Behavioral Profiling: Theory, Research, and Practice, many people have an inaccurate perception of profilers. I sometimes think that my students who have watched films and television shows like Criminal Minds think that profilers have their own jet aircraft, look like Paget Brewster and Shemar Moore, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of psychology to help them quickly and accurately profile and catch criminals. In some ways, even news programs that interview profilers for crime stories perpetuate these inaccurate perceptions.
So, given the Bartol and Bartol book, and the Ertelt and Matson review, what should we tell students? What is the best way to correct their misconceptions? Should we discourage them from becoming profilers?
By Troy W. Ertelt and Kristin E. Matson
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(26)