What is a Model Maker

The model maker doesn't work with the human kind of models, but with inanimate ones. They are a crucial step in the manufacturing process between design and production. Model makers make models of a product in order for the team to test the design and see possible improvements more tangibly than on a blueprint.

The kinds of models a model maker makes depends on where they work. They can work for a technological manufacturer making models of their phones or for a film studio making models of sets and special effects. No matter where they work, model makers need to know how to use tools like welders, lathes, and even software such as CAD (computer-aided design).

Model making doesn't use a lot of skills that can be learned in the classroom. Only a few model makers have bachelor's degrees, although some may complete a special training program or certification. They learn how to use the tools of the trade on the job.

What Does a Model Maker Do

Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machines that cut, shape, and form metal and plastic materials or pieces.

Learn more about what a Model Maker does

How To Become a Model Maker

A few months of on-the-job training is enough for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but 1 year or more is required to become proficient. Computer-controlled machine workers may need more training.

Education

Employers prefer metal and plastic machine workers who have a high school diploma. Prospective workers can improve their employment opportunities by completing high school courses in computer programming and vocational technology, and by gaining a working knowledge of the properties of metals and plastics. Having a sturdy math background, including taking courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics, is also useful.

Some community colleges and other schools offer courses and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics machines.

Training

Machine operator trainees usually begin by watching and helping experienced workers on the job. Under supervision, they may start by supplying materials, starting and stopping the machines, or by removing finished products. Then they advance to more difficult tasks that operators perform, such as adjusting feed speeds, changing cutting tools, and inspecting a finished product for defects. Eventually, some develop the skills and experience to set up machines and help newer operators.

The complexity of the equipment usually determines the time required to become an operator. Some operators and tenders learn basic machine operations and functions in a few months, but other workers, such as computer-controlled machine tool operators, may need a year or more to become proficient.

Some employers prefer to hire workers who either have completed or are enrolled in a training program.

As the manufacturing process continues to utilize more computerized machinery, knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification can show competence and professionalism and can be helpful for advancement. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers certification in numerous metalworking specializations.

Advancement

Advancement usually includes higher pay and more responsibilities. With experience and expertise, workers can become trainees for more advanced positions. It is common for machine operators to move into setup or machinery maintenance positions. Setup workers may become industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers, or machinists or tool and die makers.

Experienced workers with good communication and analytical skills may move into supervisory positions.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Metal and plastic machine workers must often be able to use programmable devices, computers, and robots on the factory floor.

Dexterity. Metal and plastic machine workers who work in metal and plastic machined goods manufacturing use precise hand movements to make the necessary shapes, cuts, and edges that designs require.

Mechanical skills. Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machinery. They must be comfortable working with machines and have a good understanding of how the machines and all their parts work.

Physical stamina. Metal and plastic machine workers must be able to stand for long periods and perform repetitive work.

Physical strength. Metal and plastic machine workers must be strong enough to guide and load heavy and bulky parts and materials into machines.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. IBM Jobs (16)
  2. Motorola Solutions Jobs (4)
  3. Whirlpool Jobs (4)
  4. Lexmark Jobs (4)
  5. Hill-Rom Jobs (6)
Average Salary
$47,343
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
8,565
Job Openings
resume document icon

Don't Have A Professional Resume?

0 selections

Model Maker Career Paths

Model Maker Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Model Maker

Model Makers in America make an average salary of $47,343 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $63,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$47,343
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Model Maker? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
See More Salary Information

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Model Maker Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Model Maker templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Model Maker resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume
Model Maker Resume

Model Maker Demographics

Model Maker Gender Statistics

male

89.8 %

female

10.2 %

Model Maker Ethnicity Statistics

White

65.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.6 %

Black or African American

10.4 %

Model Maker Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

26.7 %

French

16.7 %

Portuguese

10.0 %
Job Openings

Find the best Model Maker job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Model Maker Jobs You Might Like

Model Maker Education

Model Maker Majors

13.9 %

Model Maker Degrees

Bachelors

46.4 %

Associate

27.5 %

High School Diploma

12.2 %
Job Openings

Find the best Model Maker job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Model Maker Jobs You Might Like

Online Courses For Model Maker That You May Like

Fusion 360 CAD/CAM for CNC routers
udemy
4.3
(319)

Make any part using your CNC router with Fusion 360...

Introduction to CAD, CAM, and Practical CNC Machining
coursera

This course introduces you to the foundational knowledge in computer-aided design, manufacture, and the practical use of CNC machines. In this course we begin with the basics in Autodesk® Fusion 360™ CAD by learning how to properly sketch and model 3D parts. Before we program any toolpaths, we'll explore CNC machining basics to ensure we have the ground level foundational knowledge needed to effectively define toolpaths. Finally, we explore the basics of setting up a CAM program and defini...

Testing and Monitoring Machine Learning Model Deployments
udemy
4.5
(281)

ML testing strategies, shadow deployments, production model monitoring and more...

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Model Maker

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.2% of Model Makers listed CNC on their resume, but soft skills such as Computer skills and Dexterity are important as well.

Best States For a Model Maker

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Model Maker. The best states for people in this position are North Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, and Virginia. Model Makers make the most in North Carolina with an average salary of $57,159. Whereas in Arkansas and Florida, they would average $54,947 and $54,195, respectively. While Model Makers would only make an average of $53,662 in Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Carolina

Total Model Maker Jobs:
192
Highest 10% Earn:
$80,000
Location Quotient:
1.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Michigan

Total Model Maker Jobs:
225
Highest 10% Earn:
$64,000
Location Quotient:
1.7
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Indiana

Total Model Maker Jobs:
167
Highest 10% Earn:
$68,000
Location Quotient:
1.49
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Model Makers

How Do Model Maker Rate Their Jobs?

Working as a Model Maker? Share your experience anonymously.
Do you work as a Model Maker?
Rate how you like work as Model Maker. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.

Top Model Maker Employers

Most Common Employers For Model Maker

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Model Maker SalaryAverage Salary
1$68,577
2$53,952
3$51,580
4$49,955
5$49,903
6$49,747