How to Become a Model

Model Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $32,370
Avg. Pay / hour $15.56
Education 0-6 Months
Job Outlook -6%

On the outside, modeling as a profession seems like it is only for individuals who have hit the genetic lottery.

But in reality, those who would like to become a model must put in hard work to find a successful career in this profession.

Individuals who would like to become a Model have many prospects because of the many industries that have a need for experienced professionals.

For example, a model can choose to focus their work in television, the runway or store catalogs.

Education Requirements to Become a Model

People who want to become a Model don’t necessarily need an educational background to enter this profession although having a combination of experience and sought after characteristics will improve someone’s chances of being hired in this highly competitive profession.

Many candidates may opt to attend a modeling school in order to learn specific skills that experienced models have, but going this route may not guarantee job opportunities.

During training at a modeling school, individuals should expect to learn how to apply makeup, perfect their walk and learn how to pose for a variety of platforms such as for a runway or for photo shoots.

Another important distinguisher for successful models is that they also have a successful modeling agency working in their favor.

However, being accepted into a modeling agency takes work within itself.

Many modeling agencies have professionals seeking out potential models at modeling schools themselves or open calls.

Open calls are events set up by modeling agencies that aspiring models attend to seek representation.

Modeling agencies search for models that fit what their clients are looking for.

Clients can be magazines, clothing lines or stores seeking models to help them sell their products.

The modeling agency seeks what their client is looking for to represent their business.

The most important asset an individual who wants to become a Model can seek is that of a modeling agency willing to use a fresh face and strong talent.

Model Job Description

A Model is a professional who makes a living off of promoting a product or service.

Successful models must master a variety of poses to help sell a variety of products and services.

Models who work for a clothing line must know how to promote the product on the runway or be able to perfect poses for a photographer.

Models promoting a product through photography must master poses in a variety of settings including on site in another location, or in a studio posing in an office setting with a backdrop.

On site models must travel to different parts of the world to complete shoots.

For some models, working on call is a reality and must be able to work with little or no notice to perform for office photo shoots or runway events.

Some models may also work with artists who focus on sculpture or painting while other models must also have some acting skills to create commercials for television.

In any medium, models must also know how to work with other professionals such as makeup artists, photographers, hair stylists and clothing stylists to perfect the finished product for the client requesting a finished creation to promote their service or merchandise.

In addition, models must also work nonpaid hours to promote their own image and catalog of hard work and experience.

Successful models must frequently work on their portfolio with their most recent works to showcase their experience and talent.

In addition, models spend time traveling and meeting with potential modeling agencies and clients to maintain a consistent work flow.

Model Salary and Career Path

Because many models work part time, they are primarily paid an hourly wage.

The median hourly wage for these professionals was $9.02 in 2012.

The actual wage potential Models may earn depends on experience and sector they work in.

Entry level models can expect to earn approximately $7.81 per hour while the top paid models earn up to $20.91.

Because many models work part time, their actual annual wages will be determined by the number of modeling jobs they complete a year.

Hiring is expected to increase for this profession by 15 percent through the year 2022.

This rate is considered faster than average.

Although this growth is considered fast, the actual number of jobs will increase by approximately 700.

This approximate number is impacted by how relatively small this occupation is.

An individual seeking to make a career out of modeling can find success in this profession through a combination of hard work and innate talent.

Although it is a hard career track to get into, the most successful models work hard and remain persistent to achieve a successful career.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary

The top earning state in the field is Ohio, where the average salary is $49,850.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Ohio - $49,850
Texas - $37,680
Oregon - $36,050
Florida - $32,370
Iowa - $26,760
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Models, OCC Code 41-9012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do models do?

Models pose for photographers or artists, mostly to help advertise products such as clothing, cosmetics or appliances.

They may also work as a fit or fitting model to aid in the fashion designing process.

Some models are hired by designers to wear their clothing for fashion shows.

Models also have to keep a portfolio of their work.

They may travel a lot for photo shootings, fashion presentations or to meet with potential employers or clients.

Most models sign with modeling agencies; these agencies represent and promote them in return of a percent of the model’s earnings.

You may also work as a freelance model but then you will have to promote yourself and apply for jobs directly.

Models specialize in a specific area that targets a certain segment of the population, such as small-size modeling or plus-size modeling.

How much does a model make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate for models was $11.43 as of May 2018.

Salaries vary widely depending on the market and the model’s reputation and portfolio.

A few of the most successful and famous models have very high earnings, but most do not.

How much does it cost to become a model?

There are no formal educational requirements for models.

The requirements regarding physical characteristics (eg. height and weight) depend on the client and the target market.

In most cases, you can start by emailing your photos to a modeling agency and wait until the agency contacts you to schedule an interview.

Some agencies also have “open calls”, when aspiring models can walk into an agency and meet directly with agents and clients.

Although holding a diploma won’t guarantee you a successful career as a model, a modeling school will teach you about posing, walking, and other essential skills that can help you succeed in this field.

Modeling classes can cost anywhere between $15 and more than $1,200, depending on the school you choose.

What is the demand for models?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of models is projected to decline 6 percent from 2018 to 2028.

As online retail sales numbers grow most businesses will be encouraged to increase their budget for digital advertising.

Companies can now also promote their products directly to clients and this will lessen the need for hiring models.

How long does it take to become a model?

There is no definite answer to the above question and how long will it take until you become a model depends on a wide range of factors, including the market and the region where you live.

Graduating from a modeling school is not a requirement but may teach you a number of important skills that will help you start a career as a model.

Modeling classes can be completed in a few days or weeks, depending on the program you choose.

In order to become a model, you should first contact a trustworthy modeling agency that will help you find jobs.

Then, as your portfolio grows, you will have access to more projects and maybe get the chance of working for high-profile clients.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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