Models: Salary Overview
Models pose for photographers and other artists to help advertise clothing, cosmetics, appliances, food, and other products.
Some also work as fit or fitting models for fashion designers and manufacturers to ensure that the clothing fits the new styles.
A model’s job description may include displaying clothing and other products in advertisements, promoting products, wearing designer’s clothes during fashion shows, representing companies at trade shows and other events, and posing for photos, paintings, and sculptures.
Models maintain a portfolio of their work and may have to travel in order to meet with potential clients.
As a model, you have to know the products you are promoting and be able to answer questions from potential consumers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate for models was $13.63 in May of 2019 which means that half earned more than this and half earned less.
Salaries vary widely in this line of work based on the model’s portfolio and the industry where he/she works.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.54 per hour while the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.75.
Most models stay within these numbers but famous models who have impressive portfolios earn much more than the maximum of this range.
Total annual earnings vary depending on the model’s hourly rate but also on how many projects he/she has.
The median annual wage for models, as reported by BLS, was $28,350 in May 2019.
Annual wages vary between less than $21,930 a year and more than $55,630.
As an entry-level model, your earnings will, most likely, be closer to the minimum for this profession.
In this line of work, you can advance by working regularly, building a strong portfolio, keeping it up-to-date, attending castings and auditions, and being selected for projects that offer higher pay.
If you work with an agency, then the agency you choose plays a very important role in helping you find new contracts; you should choose an agency that has a good reputation.
Model Salary by Industry of Employment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, models held about 3,600 jobs in the United States in 2018, most of them work for colleges, universities, and professional schools, for junior colleges or are self-employed.
Models usually work unpredictable hours and their earnings depend on the number of hours worked.
As a model, you may face periods of unemployment.
The average annual wage for models who worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools was $40,020 as of May 2019.
Models who were employed by junior colleges reported an average annual salary of $36,350.
The average annual wage was $54,130 for models who worked in the field of employment services and $114,600 for those who worked as independent artists.
In conclusion, you may earn much more as an independent model but in this case, your earnings may fluctuate depending on the time of the year.
As a freelance model, you will need a strong portfolio and a manager or the ability to promote your services yourself.
Earning prospects may be better but if you want to be your own boss, then you will need to look for projects and interview with clients constantly to make sure that you don’t face periods of unemployment.
Because finding work in this industry can be hard, many models have to keep another job to be able to sustain themselves.
Most clients have very specific requirements regarding the model’s height, weight, and clothing size and these preferences may change over time, however, your discipline and ability to maintain your physical characteristics are very important in finding projects.
Your communication and interpersonal skills are very important in finding projects.
You will have to interact with a large number of people and it is important to be polite, punctual, and to make people enjoy working with you.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Models. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.