All You Need To Know About A Model Career

You think about working as a model but still want to get additional information before making your final career choice?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a model in the following chapters!

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a model, but we will also talk a lot about job satisfaction, work-life balance, duties, educational requirements, future outlook and much more.

You will also find an extensive FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about working as a model.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a model or rather want to go for a different career instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Model do?

Models promote clothes, products or brands through their visual appearance.

They often work for model agencies, artists or fashion brands to increase the sale of products and to strengthen the brand and the reputation of companies.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Model

  • Promotion of products
  • Promotion of clothing
  • Brand promotion
  • Advertising of footwear
  • Promotion of accessories
  • Taking part in fashion shows
  • Working on advertising campaigns
  • Making sure that clients are represented as best as possible
  • Participation in photo shootings
  • Collaboration with fashion brands
  • Staying up-to-date with latest fashion trends
  • Staying attractive

What a Typical Day of a Model looks like?

Models usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.

Apply for Jobs!

The first thing they do when they get to work is to get instructions from their boss or from the clients they work for to understand the concept and the goal of the job.

Depending on the job you get, you will do photo shoots, promote products or take part in fashion shows.

Hence, it is pretty difficult to say what your workday as a model will look like since there are so many different possibilities regarding what your client expects from you.

After working for many hours, you will usually quit your workday between 4 and 6 p.m., even though there might be cases when you have to work in the evening or even at nighttime.

Model Salary 2021

Model salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $85,000> $42.41
Top 25 %$63,000 – $69,000$31.44 – $34.47
Bottom 25 %$36,000 – $41,000$17.38 – $20.46
Bottom 10 %$28,000 – $33,000$13.92 – $16.39
Range$28,000 – $5,000,000$13.92 – $2,485.58
Average (Mean)$53,000$26.45
Median$45,000$22.48

Model salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$28,000 – $34,000$13.92 – $16.93
Junior$32,000 – $45,000$15.97 – $22.43
Professional$41,000 – $52,000$20.44 – $25.91
Senior Professional$50,000 – $61,000$24.88 – $30.41
Expert$57,000 – $73,000$28.39 – $36.46
Top Expert$71,000 – $5,000,000$35.38 – $2,485.58

Model salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$41,600$20.78
Alaska$39,800$19.87
Arizona$42,900$21.43
Arkansas$40,700$20.32
California$54,300$27.14
Colorado$43,500$21.73
Connecticut$46,100$23.03
Delaware$41,200$20.58
District of Columbia$45,800$22.89
Florida$47,300$23.64
Georgia$44,900$22.42
Guam$43,600$21.79
Hawaii$51,900$25.93
Idaho$45,200$22.57
Illinois$42,800$21.38
Indiana$49,100$24.54
Iowa$43,200$21.59
Kansas$41,700$20.83
Kentucky$42,400$21.17
Louisiana$40,800$20.38
Maine$42,400$21.19
Maryland$44,100$22.03
Massachusetts$47,300$23.64
Michigan$41,500$20.72
Minnesota$39,800$19.88
Mississippi$37,900$18.94
Missouri$38,600$19.27
Montana$42,100$21.03
Nebraska$41,600$20.79
Nevada$38,500$19.22
New Hampshire$41,200$20.58
New Jersey$43,700$21.83
New Mexico$37,800$18.89
New York$54,700$27.33
North Carolina$42,600$21.28
North Dakota$40,400$20.17
Ohio$41,800$20.89
Oklahoma$44,300$22.14
Oregon$42,900$21.44
Pennsylvania$45,200$22.58
Rhode Island$41,700$20.83
South Carolina$42,100$21.03
South Dakota$43,800$21.89
Tennessee$41,900$20.93
Texas$39,100$19.52
Utah$38,500$19.24
Vermont$42,700$21.33
Virginia$45,200$22.58
Washington$47,300$23.64
West Virginia$43,100$21.53
Wisconsin$42,400$21.19
Wyoming$40,800$20.38

Job Security of Models

Models have pretty poor job security since many people out there are able to work in this field and competition is fierce.

In turn, you may lose your job from one day to the other and may no longer be able to pay your bills.

Moreover, once you get older, you will often lose your looks and may no longer be able to succeed in the model industry.

Future Outlook of Models

Competition in the model industry is fierce right now and since many people aspire to a career in this field, it will most likely get even fiercer in the future.

In turn, the future outlook for models is rather problematic since they will have to deal with high levels of insecurity on a daily basis.

Working Hours of Models

While most models start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m., you will sometimes also have jobs where you will have to work in the early morning or at nighttime and you should be quite flexible in this regard if you aspire to a career as a model.

Job Satisfaction of Models

Most models are not happy with their jobs at all since they have to deal with fierce competition and work under extreme pressure while only a small minority of models really make good money while the vast majority will not even be able to make a living from what they are doing.

Promotion Opportunities of Models

There are not many promotion opportunities for models.

While you might be able to manage a model agency after many years or even decades or start your own business, most models will do the same job for many years without having the chance of getting promoted anytime soon.

Career Levels of Models

  • Model intern
  • Junior model
  • Senior model
  • Nationally-recognized model
  • Globally-recognized model
  • Manager of a model agency
  • Owner of a model agency

Fields and Types of Models

  • Models specialized in promoting underwear
  • Swimsuit models
  • Moldels focused on the promotion of dresses
  • Models with expertise in the promotion of accessories
  • Models focused on cheap clothing
  • Models specialized in the promotion of luxury clothing
  • Models focused on fashion shows
  • Models specialized in photoshoots
  • Commercial models
  • Runway models

Educational Requirements for Models

There are no fancy educational requirements for becoming a model.

If you have enough natural talent and also look good, you can start your model career at anytime you want and with a little bit of luck, you may be able to start a fancy career if you are willing to work hard and are also good at making important contacts with designers.

How to become a Model

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a model
  2. Work as an intern in the model industry
  3. Make a good impression during your internship
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Apply for jobs in the model business
  7. Seal your first deals
  8. Grow in popularity
  9. Build a strong personal brand
  10. Become a renowned model
  11. Start your own business

Character Traits you need as a Model

  • Confidence is key so that other people can’t bring you down
  • Ability to stay calm and focused under pressure
  • Empathy for difficult clients
  • Positive attitude to overcome difficult periods of your career
  • You should be a friendly and outgoing person
  • You should be reliable so that clients know that you always perform well
  • Ability to deal with lots of insecurity related to your work
  • You should be open to critical feedback
  • Willingness to work in a competitive environment
  • Willingness to be reduced to your looks

Hard Skills for Models

  • You should be good at understanding current fashion trends
  • You need to know what your clients want
  • Expertise in the promotion of products
  • Ability to forecast future trends
  • A nice smile helps as well
  • You should be likeable
  • You should be a trendsetter
  • You should know how to present yourself well
  • Good movement skills
  • You need to look good

Soft Skills for Models

  • Empathy for people who will not understand your career choice
  • Patience for people who try to bring you down
  • Persistence helps you stay in the model business in the long run
  • You should be a strong character
  • You should know how to deal with pressure
  • Ability to deal with snarky comments in a healthy manner
  • Good time management skills help you get jobs done
  • You should be client-focused
  • You should not get discouraged by drawbacks
  • Good communication skills help you stay in touch with important people in your industry

Exit Options for Models

Models have pretty poor exit options.

While they might be able to start their own model agency or manage a model agency, they are still pretty specialized and finding a job outside the model industry will be pretty hard for them.

Model – Similar Careers

  • Manager of a model agency
  • Owner of a model agency
  • Fashion designer
  • Photographer
  • Painter
  • Artist
  • Salesperson
  • Marketer
  • Actor
  • Hairdresser

Model Career FAQs

Is working as a model physically demanding?

While working as a model can be physically demanding since you will have to spend lots of time on the runway and will also have to pose for photoshoots, you will still not have to work in a hard physical manner as many other people like construction workers have to do on a regular basis.

Is working as a model mentally demanding?

Working as a model is not heavily mentally demanding since you will do similar things over and over again and while financial analysts or statisticians have to work with complex models all day long, you don’t have to stress your brain as much as a model.

However, a model career can still be emotionally demanding since you will have to deal with lots of pressure every day and this can really lead to mental and emotional health issues in the long run.

Is it dangerous to work as a model?

Being a model is not dangerous.

You will just work in a rather safe environment and will not be at great risk of suffering from serious accidents at work compared to police officers or people who have to work with heavy machines all day long.

How long do models stay in their jobs?

Most models don’t stay in their jobs for decades as many other people do since models will lose their looks pretty soon and the older you get, the harder it will be for you to find new jobs.

In turn, most models quit their careers in their 30s and have to search for another job in a different field.

Is it easy for models to find a new job?

Since the model industry is pretty fierce and many people want to work in this field, you will often have a hard time finding new jobs, especially if you just start out and haven’t built important relationships and a strong reputation yet.

Is it hard to switch from being a model to another field of work?

It is pretty hard to get out of this industry once you work as a model since you will often lack the skills to work in a different field and may therefore get trapped in the model industry for quite a long time unless you get lots of additional education.

Do models have a high social status?

Models have a pretty high social status and many people out there really admire what they are doing.

However, your time as a model will be pretty limited and after your career, your social status may drop rapidly since you will often have to work in a different job under pretty poor conditions.

Can you help out your family and friends as a model?

While you will become really good at promoting the products of your clients, you will still not be able to do much good for your loved ones.

While craftsmen are able to fix many things around the home and accountants are able to file your taxes, you as a model will not be able to provide lots of value to your circle of friends.

Can models work remotely?

Models are not able to work remotely but have to be present at their workplace in person.

Consequently, while many other people who are able to work from home are quite flexible to manage their private and their professional life at the same time, you as a model will not have this luxury and will also have to spend lots of time and money to commute to work and back in the long run.

Is it easy to find a partner as a model?

Models have a pretty easy time in the dating market since they often look pretty good and also know how to present themselves well.

Thus, they will usually have no problems attracting people into their lives, especially if they have already built some reputation and are recognized by the general public.

Do models have to work on weekends?

Models sometimes have to work on weekends.

In general, you should be quite flexible regarding your schedule since it will change quite a lot according to the wishes and needs of your clients and if you don’t have this high level of flexibility, you should not become a model but rather work in a standard 9 to 5 office job instead.

Do models have to work on holidays?

Models don’t have to work on holidays most of the time.

However, for special jobs, you may still be able to work some national holidays and if you are not willing to do so, you should rather become a carpenter or work in another job where you just have a standard workweek.

Do models have to work at nighttime?

Models sometimes also have to work in the evening or at nighttime.

Hence, while many other people will be able to come home from work rather early, you will often not have time to meet up with your favorite people after work since you will still have to do model jobs during those times.

Do you have to travel as a model?

You will have to travel quite a lot as a model, especially once you reach a certain level of fame.

In such a case, you will get many jobs in various states or you may even have to travel to a foreign country.

Thus, you will often be away from home as a model and you should make sure that this kind of lifestyle is what you want to live for many years before you decide on becoming a model.

Are model pensions good?

Since most models are not able to make good money from what they are doing, also their pensions will be pretty low. In turn, many models have problems paying their bills once they retire.

Are model salaries going up?

Since competition in this field is quite fierce and many people aspire to a model career, model salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years and this trend will most likely also continue in the future.

In fact, while a small minority of models are able to make good money from what they are doing, the vast majority of models even struggle to make a basic living from what they are doing.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a model?

You will not be able to have a big positive impact on society as a model since you will mainly care about your looks while you will not tackle the big and important problems we as humanity have to solve.

How long does it take to become a model?

Since there are no formal educational requirements to work as a model, you can become a model pretty early in your life.

All you need to do is to apply for model jobs and with a little bit of luck and the right contacts, you may be able to start a fancy career in this industry.

Is it difficult to become a model?

Becoming a model is not difficult since you don’t need to get fancy formal education.

However, becoming and staying successful as a model is a completely different animal since competition is pretty fierce and only very few people are able to make a living in this industry in the long run.

Do you need to be smart to work as a model?

You don’t need to have a high IQ to succeed as a model.

What’s much more important is that you look great and that you also know what your clients expect from you so that you can deliver great results and stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.

Do models have a good work-life balance?

Models have pretty poor work-life balance since they sometimes have to work on weekends and holidays and also often have to work in the evening and at nighttime.

Models also have to be pretty flexible regarding their schedule and therefore often don’t have enough time to spend with their families.

Do models have to work many extra hours?

Models often have to work many extra hours.

This is especially true at the beginning of your career when you have to build a strong reputation and contact with many important people.

During this period of your life as a model, you will often have to work like crazy until you have established some level of reputation and trust regarding your personal brand and your performance at work.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a model?

To maximize your chances of becoming a model, you should practice quite a lot and apply for model jobs pretty early in your life so that you can get some experience and also make important contacts that can help you get fancy jobs in the future.

Can models work part-time?

Being a model is a full-time job.

Even though you might be able to work part-time in theory, you will have to be quite flexible regarding your schedule and your hourly wage will also not be high enough to make a living from working part-time in most cases.

Do models work indoors or outdoors?

Models have to work both indoors as well as outdoors.

Hence, you should not be afraid to work outdoors during times of bad weather and you should be pretty flexible regarding your working location in general since it will change pretty frequently.

What does the workplace of a model look like?

Since you will work for many different clients and on many different jobs, you will change your workplace quite frequently and you will therefore also have to work in many different locations.

Thus, it will be almost impossible to say what your workplace will look like since it will change all the time.

Do you have to look good for working as a model?

The better you look, the higher your chance of succeeding as a model.

It’s just reality and your looks will be of great importance in this industry.

You should also be tall enough to really have chances to become a top model and you should also not be overweight.

Is a model career beneficial for your private life?

A model career will not be beneficial for your private life since you will be away from home quite often and you will also have to be quite flexible regarding your schedule.

It may also be problematic when it comes to having a child since children will often ruin your looks and you may no longer get enough jobs during your pregnancy and afterward.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a model?

You don’t need a college degree for becoming a model.

While you could go to model school, you don’t urgently need to if you have enough natural talent and are also able to make important contacts with the right people in the model business.

Do you need to be certified to work as a model?

You also don’t need to be certified to be able to work as a model.

Instead, what’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have a real passion for working in this business and that you are also willing to work hard to hone your craft and to build a strong personal brand in the long run.

How much does it cost to become a model?

Since you will not have to spend money on fancy education, you can become a model at virtually no cost and can even start making money at a rather early age while many of your friends might have to get student loans to finance their degrees.

Is being a model a good career?

Working as a model cannot be considered a good career when taking all relevant aspects into account.

Not only will you have to work exotic hours, but you will also be away from home quite often and have to deal with fierce competition while you will most likely still not be able to make good money from what you are doing.

Is it easy to start your own business as a model?

It is relatively easy to start your own model agency since you don’t have to spend lots of money on machinery or land as gardeners or other people often have to do when starting their own business.

Instead, you can start your agency at relatively low costs and scale it from there.

Can models teach themselves?

You will be able to teach yourself most things you need to succeed as a model.

In fact, there are many great free videos and guides on how to become a model online and if you are willing to spend lots of time and energy on it, you may be able to fulfill your dream of becoming a model without going to model school.

Do models make good money?

While a small minority of models make really good money, most models are not even able to make a living from what they are doing and if you don’t have outstanding talent and looks, you may have to work for a pretty low hourly wage.

Is it ever too late to become a model?

Since looks are pretty important in the model industry and your looks will fade over time, you should become a model as early as possible to be able to work in this field as long as possible since once you reach your 30s, you will have an incredibly hard time with getting jobs in this field since competition is pretty fierce and you will have to compete with many younger and hotter models.

Do models have to quit their careers early?

Most models have to quit their careers early in their 30s or 40s since their looks fade and once you don’t look great anymore, you will just be replaced by younger models.

Hence, you will most likely not be able to work in this field for many years or even decades and may have to get a new job in a different field soon.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a model?

The hardest part about being a model is that you have to work with many different clients and all of them have different expectations and preferences.

Thus, you will have to deal with critical feedback and snarky comments quite often and this can really stress your nerves and bring you down in the long run.

Can you provide for your family by working as a model?

Most models have a hard time providing for their families since they just don’t make enough from their jobs.

In fact, only very few models are able to make really good money while most models struggle to pay their bills.

Will models suffer from old-age poverty?

Since most models are not able to make good money from what they are doing and are also not able to save and invest enough money during their active careers, many models will have to deal with old-age poverty once they retire since their pensions will often not be enough to pay their bills.

Can models retire early?

Models often have to quit their careers early since their looks just fade over time and they are no longer able to compete with younger models out there.

However, this doesn’t mean that they can retire but most of them rather have to get a job in a different industry.

Do models get a fixed or variable salary?

Since models often work self-employed, their income greatly varies over time and the more jobs you have, the more you can make as a model.

Hence, you will most likely have a variable income as a model while many other people like financial controllers mainly get a fixed income and are much better able to make plans for the future.

Can you get rich as a model?

While a small minority of models will get the chance to get wealthy or even rich, most models will never get to this stage and will be barely able to make a living from what they are doing.

Do models need a second job?

Many models need a second job to pay their bills since their hourly wage from their model day job will be rather low and will not be enough to cover their expenses.

Do you get continuous training as a model?

As a model, you will barely get any training at all.

While you will get many instructions from your clients, it will still be on you to hone your craft and to get better at what you are doing in the long run if you really aspire to a fancy model career.

Do you get sick pay as a model?

Since models often work self-employed, they don’t get paid in case they get sick.

Hence, you should build an emergency fund in case you get sick so that you don’t suffer from financial issues and can still pay your bills.

Do models have a high level of responsibility?

Models don’t have a high level of responsibility.

While your mistakes may cause some financial damage, you will still not have the same high level of responsibility as doctors whose mistakes could put the lives of many people at risk.

Can models work abroad?

Models are needed all over the world.

However, working conditions and salaries may be quite different from what you are used to at home and you should therefore inform yourself carefully before you finally decide on moving abroad as a model.

Is it stressful to work as a model?

Working as a model can be pretty stressful since you will often have to participate in castings to get new jobs and you will also have to deal with lots of emotional pressure since people will often try to bring you down and you will have to deal with fierce competition on a regular basis.

Is it boring to work as a model?

Working as a model is not boring at all if you are really passionate about working in this field since you will work on many different jobs which are often completely different and you will therefore experience many new things every day.

Is being a model hard?

Being a model can be hard if you don’t have a strong mindset and the right attitude towards your job.

In fact, many models are not able to deal with all the pressure and the high level of insecurity that come along with working in this field and if you are a rather sensitive person, you should not aspire to a model career since it would most likely break you sooner or later.

Are models at risk of burnout?

Many models are at great risk of burnout since they just live for their jobs and if something goes wrong, they are often not able to deal with those things in an emotionally healthy manner and may suffer from burnout or other mental problems.

Is there a dress code for models?

There is no fixed dress code for models. Instead, you will wear and promote many different dresses and other clothing in the long run and you may even be able to get part of this clothing as a gift for private use.

What kind of models are paid the most?

The more popular and famous you become as a model, the more money you can make from what you are doing.

Thus, if you want to make really good money, you have to build a strong personal brand and you may also want to start your own business in this field.

What percentage of models are women?

While around 82% of all models are women, only 18% are men.

Hence, this industry is still dominated by women since the demand for female models tends to be higher.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a model?

Even though you don’t urgently need a mentor to succeed as a model, it can still help quite a lot to have an experienced person on your side who knows the model industry well to help you overcome difficult periods of your career.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a model?

Depending on the individual case, you may be personally liable for mistakes you make as a model.

However, you should still consult a lawyer to be 100% sure in this regard.

Do models have a high life expectancy?

Models have a rather low life expectancy since they have to deal with lots of pressure and also often suffer from mental problems.

Do models suffer from sleeping problems?

Since models have to deal with lots of pressure and often also have to work at nighttime, it will be hard for them to maintain a healthy sleeping patterns and many models suffer from sleeping problems in the long run.

What states are best for working as a model?

As a model, you should work in a state or a region where the demand for models is pretty high so that you get enough jobs.

In my opinion, the best places to work as a model are Los Angeles or New York.

Who do models work with?

Models work with many different clients on many different jobs.

Hence, it is crucial that you are a friendly and outgoing person so that clients appreciate your company and will book you for many jobs yet to come in the future.

Is working as a model cool?

Working as a model is considered cool by many people out there.

However, only very few people really live it and therefore have a much more positive picture of a model job compared to what reality really looks like.

Can you start a side hustle as a model?

It will be possible for you to start a side hustle as a model.

For instance, you could start a YouTube channel and teach other people how to become a model and what mistakes they have to avoid at all costs.

Do you have to be creative as a model?

Being creative helps you succeed as a model since you will work on many different jobs and the more creative you are, the happier your clients will be with your performance since you will stay ahead of the competition and will do things most other people don’t do.

Do models suffer from being overweight?

Most models don’t suffer from being overweight.

In fact, it is part of your job to look good and being overweight would greatly reduce your chances of working as a renowned model.

Thus, you will have to spend many hours in the gym to stay fit in the long run.

How employable are models?

Competition in the model industry is pretty fierce and the big majority of models will struggle to get enough jobs to make a living from what they are doing.

Hence, models are not that employable anymore and this trend will most likely continue in the future.

Are models happy with their jobs?

Most models are not happy with their jobs since they often have to work long hours, deal with fierce competition and suffer from mental problems while they are still not able to make really good money from what they are doing most of the time.

Is working as a model exciting?

Working as a model can be pretty exciting since you will work on many different jobs with many different people and you will just experience many new situations at work on a regular basis.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a model?

You will not have a big positive impact on our environment as a model since you will mainly care about your looks and not about protecting our planet.

What are the pros and cons of working as a model?

If you are still interested in becoming a model, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a model career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/220912/average-age-for-models-to-start-in-the-business/

https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/ecommerce/fashion/united-states

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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