Model maker

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Model makers design and create 3D models for TV and film, and for use in engineering, construction and architecture.

Salary range: £16,000 to £30,000

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How to become a model maker

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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University

You can do a foundation degree or degree in a subject like:

  • 3D design
  • art and design
  • sculpture
  • visual effects
  • product design

You’ll usually need a portfolio of work to get onto a course. A foundation course in art and design can help you to prepare for this.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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College

You could do a college course to help you get started as a model maker. Courses inlcude:

  • Level 3 Award In 3D Computer-aided Design
  • Level 3 Diploma in 3D Design and Crafts
  • Level 4 Diploma in Art and Design

A Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry, Woodworking or Engineering Design may also be helpful.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship that includes model making skills. For example, an advanced apprenticeship in engineering woodworking, pattern and modelmaking.

You can also do a props technician advanced apprenticeship if you want to work in TV and film.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Direct application

You may be able to apply for jobs if you have experience of model making from other work like engineering, architectural technology, set design, carpentry or prop making.

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Further information

Find more advice about working in model making in the creative industries through Creative Choices and ScreenSkills.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • discussing the brief with the designer or client
  • using freehand drawing skills or computer-aided design (CAD) to illustrate initial ideas
  • using a range of hand, power and machine tools and computerised equipment to make models
  • using electronics or mechanical methods to make working models with moving parts
  • carrying out finishing processes like hand colouring or spray painting

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be dusty.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could lead a team of model makers in construction, engineering, film or TV.

As a self-employed model maker you could become an agent for other model makers.