What They Do: Models pose for artists, photographers, and other clients to help advertise products.
Work Environment: Models work in a variety of conditions, from comfortable indoor studios and runway fashion shows to outdoors in all weather conditions. Most models work part time and have unpredictable work schedules. Many also experience periods of unemployment.
How to Become One: No formal educational credential is required and training is limited. Specific requirements depend on the client. However, most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and clothing size to meet the needs of fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers.
Salary: The median hourly wage for models is $15.34.
Job Outlook: Employment of models is projected to grow 11 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of models with similar occupations.
Models pose for artists, photographers, or customers to help advertise a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, and appliances. Models also work as a fit or fitting model, enabling the manufacturer or fashion designer to achieve the best fit for new styles.
Models typically do the following:
Almost all models sign with modeling agencies. Agencies represent and promote a model to clients in return for a portion of the model's earnings. Models typically apply for a position with an agency by submitting their photographs through its website or by attending open casting calls and meeting with agents directly.
Models must research an agency before signing, in order to ensure that the agency has a good reputation in the modeling industry. For information on agencies, models should contact a local consumer affairs organization, such as the Better Business Bureau.
Some freelance models do not sign with agencies. Instead, they market themselves to potential clients and apply for modeling jobs directly. However, because most clients prefer to work with agents, it is difficult for new models to pursue a freelance career.
Models must put together and maintain up-to-date portfolios and composite cards. A portfolio is a collection of a model's previous work. A composite card contains the best photographs from a model's portfolio, along with his or her body measurements. Both portfolios and composite cards are typically taken to all casting calls and client auditions.
Because advertisers often need to target specific segments of the population, models may specialize in a certain area. For example, petite and plus-size fashions are modeled by women whose sizes are respectively smaller and larger than that worn by the typical model. Models who are disabled may be used to model fashions or products for consumers with disabilities. "Parts" models have a body part, such as a hand or foot, particularly well suited to model products such as nail polish or shoes.
Models appear in different types of media to promote a product or service. Models advertise products and merchandise in magazine or newspaper advertisements, department store catalogs, or television commercials. Increasingly, models are appearing in online ads or on retail websites. Models also pose for sketch artists, painters, and sculptors.
Models often participate in photo shoots and pose for photographers to show off the features of clothing and other products. Models change their posture and facial expressions to capture the look the client wants. The photographer usually takes many pictures of the model in different poses and expressions during the photo shoot.
Models also display clothes and merchandise live in different situations. At fashion shows, models stand, turn, and walk to show off clothing to an audience of photographers, journalists, designers, and garment buyers. Other clients may require models to interact directly with customers. In retail establishments and department stores, models display clothing directly to shoppers and describe the features and prices of the merchandise. At trade shows or conventions, models show off a business' products and provide information to consumers. These models may work alongside demonstrators and product promoters to help advertise and sell merchandise.
Models often prepare for photo shoots or fashion shows by having their hair and makeup done by professionals in those industries. The hairstylists and makeup artists may touch up the model's hair and makeup and change the model's look throughout the event. However, models are sometimes responsible for applying their own makeup and bringing their own clothing.
Models hold about 2,700 jobs. The largest employers of models are as follows:
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private||29%|
|Junior colleges; state, local, and private||12%|
Models work in a variety of conditions, from comfortable photography studios and runway fashion shows to outdoors in all weather conditions.
Models also may need to travel for photo shoots or to meet clients in different cities.
Models' schedules can be demanding and stressful. Many models work part time and have unpredictable work schedules. They must be ready to work for a show or attend a photo shoot on short notice. The number of hours worked varies with the job. Many models experience periods of unemployment.
Get the education you need: Find schools for Models near you!
No formal education credential is required to become a model. Specific requirements depend on the client, with different jobs requiring different physical characteristics. However, most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and clothing size.
There are no formal educational credentials required to become a model. Most modeling agencies allow applicants to email photos directly to the agency. The agency will then contact and interview prospective models who show potential. Many agencies also have "open calls," whereby aspiring models can walk into an agency during a specified time and meet directly with agents and clients.
Some aspiring models may attend modeling schools that provide training in posing, walking, applying makeup, and other basic tasks. Although some models are discovered when agents scout for "fresh faces" at modeling schools, attending such schools does not necessarily lead to job opportunities.
Models advance by working more regularly and being selected for assignments that offer higher pay. They may appear in magazines, print advertising campaigns, commercials, or runway shows that have higher profiles and provide more widespread exposure.
Because advancement depends on a model's previous work, maintaining a good portfolio of high-quality, up-to-date photographs is important in getting assignments. In addition, actively participating in social media and building a large number of followers increases exposure.
A model's selection of an agency is also important for advancement: the better the reputation and skill of the agency, the more assignments a model is likely to get.
Specific requirements depend on the client, but most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and clothing size. Requirements may change slightly over time as perceptions of physical beauty change.
Discipline. A model's career depends on the person's maintaining his or her physical characteristics. Models must control their diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep to stay healthy and photogenic. Haircuts, pedicures, and manicures are necessary work-related expenses.
Interpersonal skills. Models must interact with a large number of people, such as agents, photographers, and customers. It is important to be polite, professional, prompt, and respectful.
Listening skills. Models must take direction from photographers and clients during photo shoots and commercials.
Organizational skills. Models must manage their portfolios and their work and travel schedules.
Persistence. Competition for jobs is strong, and most clients have specific needs for each job, so patience and persistence are essential.
Photogenic. Models spend most of their time being photographed. They must be comfortable in front of a camera in order for photographers to capture the desired look.
Style. Models must have a basic knowledge of hair styling, makeup, and clothing. For photographic and runway work, models must move gracefully and confidently.
The median hourly wage for models is $15.34. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.00, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $59.97.
The median hourly wages for models in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private||$19.19|
|Junior colleges; state, local, and private||$19.02|
Models’ schedules can be demanding and stressful. Many models work part time and have unpredictable work schedules. They must be ready to work for a show or attend a photo shoot on short notice. The number of hours worked varies with the job. Many models experience periods of unemployment.
Employment of models is projected to grow 11 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.
About 500 openings for models are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Rising retail sales, particularly online and in e-commerce, will encourage businesses to increase their digital advertising and marketing budgets. Demand for models to appear in digital advertisements is expected to lead to increased employment for these workers. However, less expensive digital and social media options are allowing companies promote their products and brands directly to consumers, which may moderate employment demand for models.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2020||Projected Employment, 2030||Change, 2020-30|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.