Fashion Model: Job Description & Career Information

Find out what education you may need to become a fashion model. Get information on where models can find employment, as well as salary projections and career outlook. Also, see what other fashion-related fields may be of interest.

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Career Information

When some people hear the phrase 'fashion model,' they may think of a celebrity or a life of jet setting from one fashion show to the next. The potential careers of a fashion model, however, are varied and more demanding than some might think. Models in the fashion world work in promoting clothes and accessories to fashion buyers for major stores, the media, and customers. Fashion models work in various fields, including photographic modeling, television commercials, live or runway modeling, and product modeling.

Become a Fashion Model

Required Education

Modeling is a career that doesn't require any specific degree or credential. With that said, obtaining a relevant degree could enhance your prospects of becoming a fashion model. Relevant associate's or bachelor's degree programs include fashion design, accessories design, fashion merchandising, and photography. An associate's degree in fashion design or merchandising usually takes two years to earn, and a bachelor's degree would typically take four years to complete.

Job Skills Required

While the education requirements to be a fashion model are flexible, there are many skills you'll need to possess to forge a successful career in this field. You'll need to be flexible, dependable, reliable, hardworking, and capable of taking direction. Whether you're a runway model or acting in a television commercial, you need to understand and be able to convey the emotion and attitude of the brand you're representing.

Career and Economic Outlook

Earnings and employment prospects for fashion models vary depending on the type of work you're involved in. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has estimated the median annual wage for models around $18,750 in 2012, and job growth was expected to be above average (15%) from 2012 to 2022. Exact compensation will vary as some models are paid hourly, while others are paid per day or per project.

Alternative Career Options

Fashion Designer

While income varies by location, employer and skill, the median salary of fashion designers in 2012 was $62,860, according to the BLS. Designers may be self-taught, complete postsecondary training or learn through an internship. An employment decline of 3% was projected from 2012 to 2022 for fashion designers.

Demonstrator and Product Promoter

Models may be hired by retail or wholesale stores, advertising firms or employment agencies to promote a product or service, such as food, cosmetics or clothing. Those with a high school diploma and sales experience are preferred. The median income in 2012 was $23,860, per the BLS. The number of jobs in this field was expected to increase 16% from 2012 to 2022.

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