A model maker is someone who creates nonfunctional items. These models can be smaller versions of existing structures or new product ideas. In order to become a model maker, you will need specialized training, related work experience, business contacts and a professional reputation. Model making can start out as a hobby, then progress into a career.
Someone who wants to become a model maker has excellent manual dexterity, attention to detail and mental focus. Creativity is a great benefit in this role, as is the self-discipline required to continue to work on a project with challenges. Models are used in many industries as part of the design process, and many employment opportunities can be found in the manufacturing sector.
The first step required to become a model maker is to obtain the required training. This is a specialized skill, with programs available from a very limited number of art or technical colleges. As part of the application process, many schools require the submission of a portfolio of past work. The development of a solid portfolio takes at least one year of dedicated effort. Candidates should invest the time necessary, because competition for admissions is quite steep.
The types of work experience that are helpful for someone who wants to become a model maker include product assembly, prototype creation and mechanical design. Find positions that require building products by hand or from scratch. Many model makers have well-developed skills in carpentry or plastics. Most of these positions are in the manufacturing or product design sector but also can be found in the film production or architectural industries.
A full-time career as a model maker requires the development and cultivation of a network of business contacts. Most employers hire a model maker for a specific project and time frame. Developing a network increases the opportunities to hear about new positions as they become available. Staying in contact with decision makers can be quite time-consuming, but it really is an investment that can generate revenue in the future.
The quality of work product must be consistently high and delivered on time. Anyone who wants to become a model maker needs to be disciplined, focused and able to be consistent. A good, professional reputation as a model maker is critical to gaining new opportunities. A well-established professional model maker can make a very good living in this line of work.