Because representing a model requires extensive knowledge and contacts in the modeling industry, most model agents have previous experience in the field; in fact, many may have experience modeling themselves. The salary of a model agent will vary depending on how many clients she has and her level of success, as most agents work largely on commission.
Model agents are classified along with agents of all artists, performers and athletes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau reports that the average salary of these agents was $89,840 per year, as of 2010. Salaries ranged from less than $39,770 in the 25th percentile to over $113,580 in the 75th percentile. Connections are vital for model agents; the larger an agent’s list of clients and successful casting calls, the more clients she will gain and the higher her salary. While many agents start out working for an agency, many go on to start their own agency once they build a substantial clientele.
In the industry of agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures, these agents, including model agents, earned an average salary of $97,760 as of May 2010, according to the bureau. In the industry of advertising, public relations and related services, these agents earned an average of $73,850 a year. Those working in motion picture and video industries earned an average of $96,120 a year.
The highest paying state in the nation for all agents of performers and artists, including model agents, was California with a salary average of $116,280 as of 2010, reports the bureau. Connecticut was the second highest paying state for model agents with a salary average of $106,270 a year; New York followed with an average of $98,740. Los Angeles, California was the top paying metropolitan area in the nation for model agents with a salary average of $121,860 annually.
Although no specific requirements exist for model agents, a bachelor’s degree in an applicable field like journalism, communications or public relations is advisable for those interested in pursuing this career. Some modeling agencies also offer internships or apprenticeships where future agents can gain valuable experience assisting with casting calls and scheduling modeling events.