The majority of crime analysts are employed by local and state law enforcement agencies. A great number are also hired by federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Justice. In addition, some private security firms hire people with training in crime analysis.
While there is not a single, central clearinghouse for all crime analyst jobs, there are several places to look for listings. Associations such as the International Association of Crime Analysts provide job-search resources at their Web sites and networking events. Many states also have their own associations of crime analysts. However, recent graduates would be best advised to be willing to move out of state if the job pickings are slim locally.
The key to getting a job in the field is doing an internship in college. A new crime analyst has a solid shot at finding a job in a larger, established unit where he or she could volunteer first, learning from someone with greater experience.
As a broad generalization, most crime analysts are not pushing and shoving to climb the career ladder. Since theirs is often a one- or two-person, nonhierarchical unit within an agency, they more likely chose crime analysis because they relish the nature of the work itself. Obviously, advancement possibilities depend largely on the size and structure of the agency a crime analyst works for. In larger agencies, there are sometimes senior analysts, supervising analysts, or crime analysis managers. Some of these positions require a master's degree. More often, crime analysts set their sights on increasing the impact they have on the agency and community in which they work.
Two careers that are closely linked to crime analysts are criminal intelligence analyst and investigative analyst. Criminal intelligence analysis involves the study of relationships between people, organizations, and events; it focuses on organized crime, money laundering, and other conspiratorial crimes. Investigative analysis attempts to uncover why a person is committing serial crimes such as murder and rape. Getting into the field of investigative analysis (sometimes called "profiling") usually requires years of experience and additional education in psychology—as well as good instincts.
Tips for Entry
In high school, take as many classes as possible in mathematics, computer science (especially database management and data analytics), psychology, and writing.
Earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, and take classes in statistics, writing, and computer science.
Obtain an internship with a crime analyst or a police unit.
Be open to relocating to urban areas, which are more likely to offer jobs.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: