Models

Summary

models image
Models pose for artists and photographers.
Quick Facts: Models
2014 Median Pay $19,970 per year
$9.60 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 5,800
Job Outlook, 2014-24 0% (Little or no change)
Employment Change, 2014-24 0

What Models Do

Models pose for artists, customers, or photographers to help advertise a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, and appliances.

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 a Model

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.

Pay

The median hourly wage for models was $9.60 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of models is projected to show little or no change from 2014 to 2024. This occupation attracts many applicants, and competition for jobs will be strong.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for models.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of models with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about models by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Models Do About this section

Models
Models make changes to their expressions in order to capture a look desired by the photographer.

Models pose for artists, photographers, or customers to help advertise a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, and appliances.

Duties

Models typically do the following:

  • Display clothing and merchandise in print and online advertisements
  • Promote products and services in television commercials
  • Wear designers’ clothing for runway fashion shows
  • Represent companies and brands at conventions, trade shows, and other events 
  • Pose for photos, paintings, or sculptures
  • Work closely with photographers, hair and clothing stylists, makeup artists, and clients to produce a desired look
  • Create and maintain a portfolio of their work
  • Travel to meet and interview with potential clients
  • Conduct research on the product being promoted—for example, the designer or type of clothing fabric
  • Answer questions from consumers about the products

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 hair stylists 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.

Work Environment About this section

Models
Models may work in studios with photographers and stylists.

Models held about 5,800 jobs in May 2014. Many models work for clothing stores. Other models work for educational services, including modeling schools.

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.

Work Schedules

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.

How to Become a Model About this section

Models
Specific requirements depend on the client, but most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and clothing size to meet the needs of fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers.

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 to meet the needs of fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers.

Education

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 are well liked. 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 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.

Advancement

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.

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.

Important Qualities

Specific requirements depend on the client, but most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and clothing size to meet the needs of fashion designers, photographers, and advertisers. 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 be able to take direction from photographers and clients during photo shoots and commercials.

Organizational skills. Models must be able to 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 be able to move gracefully and confidently.

Pay About this section

Models

Median hourly wages, May 2014

Total, all occupations

$17.09

Sales and related occupations

$12.19

Models

$9.60

 

The median hourly wage for models was $9.60 in May 2014. 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 $8.13, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.86.

Schedules can be demanding and stressful. Many models work part time and have unpredictable work schedules. Models must be ready to work for a show or attend a photo shoot on short notice, and the number of hours worked varies with the job. Many models experience periods of unemployment.

Job Outlook About this section

Models

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

Sales and related occupations

5%

Models

0%

 

Employment of models is projected to show little or no change from 2014 to 2024.

Rising retail sales, particularly online and e-commerce sales, will encourage businesses to increase their digital advertising and marketing budgets. Models will be needed for online publications, digital advertisements, and websites to reach out to these potential customers. Although models will still be needed to promote products in print advertisements and catalogs, businesses have begun shifting away from this traditional form of advertising.

Increasing consumer confidence and spending also may encourage businesses to introduce new advertising campaigns and product launches. These ventures will require models to promote and market products in stores, television commercials, and fashion shows.

However, less expensive digital and social media options are allowing companies to interact and build relationships with customers in new ways. Companies can now promote their products and brands directly to consumers. This direct promotion will lessen the need for professional models or large-scale advertising campaigns.

In addition, businesses may cut back on their advertising budgets during economic downturns, making them less likely to develop new advertising campaigns or hire models.

Job Prospects

Many people are drawn to this occupation because of its glamour and potential for fame. However, no education, training, or work experience is required to enter the occupation, so many applicants will be competing for very few job openings.

Although more jobs may be available in large cities such as New York and Los Angeles, competition for these jobs is expected to be very strong. Aspiring models may have the best job opportunities in smaller cities, working for smaller modeling agencies and local clients and businesses.

Age, weight, and height requirements are typically less rigid for models appearing in commercials and advertisements than for those looking to become runway or fashion models.

In addition, as the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse and businesses become more globalized, demand for racially and ethnically diverse models will likely increase.

Employment projections data for models, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Models

41-9012 5,800 5,800 0 0 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of models.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2014 MEDIAN PAY Help
Actors

Actors

Actors express ideas and portray characters in theater, film, television, and other performing arts media. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.

Some college, no degree The annual wage is not available.
Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists

Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists

Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists provide haircutting, hairstyling, and a range of other beauty services.

Postsecondary nondegree award $23,200
Fashion designers

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed.

Bachelor's degree $64,030
Photographers

Photographers

Photographers use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images that tell a story or record an event.

High school diploma or equivalent $30,490
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Models,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/models.htm (visited February 13, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. This tab may also provide information on earnings in the major industries employing the occupation.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2014 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2014, the median annual wage for all workers was $35,540.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2014 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2014, the median annual wage for all workers was $35,547.