LEGOLAND Master Model Builder Jobs
How to Get a Real Job Designing and Building with LEGO at LEGOLAND
They Pay You to Do This; LEGO Model Builder is a REAL Job
I am a former LEGOLAND Master Model Builder. In fact, I was one of the winners of LEGOLAND California's first Model Builder Search. I can honestly say that it was a job that used and challenged all my abilities. It was fun, exciting, creative, and at times stressful, but I was always very passionate about my job.
In the years since I started my job at LEGOLAND, many more Model Builder jobs were added in a studio just a skip away from LEGOLAND California. LEGOLAND Discovery Centers began popping up all over the US (and the world!). Another LEGOLAND was added to the group in Florida to join its West Coast counterpart and comrades in Europe and soon to be sister park in Malaysia. Studios cropped up close to all of these LEGOLAND parks.
Do you know what all that means?
LEGO Model Builder Jobs are not only REAL, they are abundant. People are getting paid to build with LEGO all over the world!
Apply for open positions here:
What do Model Builders get paid?
Let's cut to the chase, here...
Model Builders make between $10-20/hr. Its not a six figure salary by far, but the company offers excellent benefit packages and perks, not to mention one cool job.
Expect to start on the lower end of the salary spectrum, unless you can show that you can build just like the pros, ie. you have a ton of pictures of LEGO models that you have built on your own, that showcase your talent.
I used to hire Model Builders. I really loved finding people that had many years of LEGO hobby experience to add to the creative team, but those with crafts or creative experience always had a good shot, too.
Keep in mind, building models is physical and can be exhausting if you are not up for the challenge. Wages are not typically livable for a single person, but there are promotional opportunities that can bring your salary up to a higher level.
What kind of experience do you need?
Are there any schooling or qualifications needed?
You don't need a degree to get a job as a model builder, but if you have a degree in the arts, design, architecture or excel in a craft or trade where you create things with your hands, it will help to get you an interview.
LEGOLANDs hire people that have LEGO experience, a passion for LEGO, creative, craftsman or an artistic background. If you have pictures of things you built, designed or made, you will have an excellent chance of landing an interview!
They also look for people who are personable and friendly so they can be a positive addition the team.
What do you do as a Model Builder?
Besides getting paid to play
There are several different types of Model Builders depending on the attraction.
- LEGOLAND Theme Park Model Builder
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center Model Builder
- LEGOLAND Studios Studios Model Builder
Athough these jobs because they use LEGO bricks as a medium, they are quite different in their job responsibilities.
LEGOLAND Model Builder - What is the job actually like at the LEGOLAND theme parks?
Let's start with LEGOLAND, since that is where I started.
At LEGOLAND, the Model Builder will take care of the LEGO Models in the park. There is nothing better, to me, than taking care of Miniland in the lovely California morning. It is like playing in the world's largest outdoor living room full of LEGO cities. I loved caring for the displays.
Of course, they build LEGO Models. As a Model Builder, you build models for the park, for special gifts, for marketing, for Miniland, for Make a Wish Children, for events, for your desk, for your name badge, etc.. You will be snapping silly and hopefully loving every minute of it.
You will get your hands dirty. Digging, lifting LEGO models, avoiding spiders, sweating, bleeding (LEGO is SHARP!) You will spend a lot of time outdoors doing these things, as you help add new displays, remove and repair models and put them back outside, again. I really loved working in the fresh air. Guests come and brake the LEGO models in the park and Model Builders repair them!
As a Model Builder, you will have to get over your shyness. You will be on TV, doing interviews. You will talk to bloggers, reporters and news anchors, in the theme park, in studio and at events. You will talk about all the LEGO things you build, about LEGOLAND, about yourself. People will be fascinated with your job! Children will think you are a celebrity and hope to be just like you when you grow up.
Oh and I hope you aren't afraid to fly, because you may fly depending on where you are doing these interviews and events.
LEGOLAND Model Builder jobs are hard to come by. There are only a handful of these folks in each LEGOLAND park, so they only hire the best of the best!
How can someone become a LEGOLAND Model Builder?
A childhood passion can become a professional career
When I was a child, I built with LEGO all the time. My mom was kind enough to take picture of all of my creations. Those pictures ended up in my portfolio, and helped land me the job.
I've been asked by parents, over and over again, how their child can become a Model Builder, too. I always encourage parents to take lots of pictures of their kid's work. I cannot stress this enough. A good LEGO portfolio is the most important thing to share along with your resume. You could also bring some printouts or photos to a job interview.
Model Builders at LEGOLAND attractions and studios mainly build architecture and sculptures of people, animals and objects that you would find decorating theme parks and Discovery Centers. It is not always the most "free" or creative work, but it is probably the most interesting job you could find. Anyone interested in getting a job as a Model Builder should show pictures of LEGO models that fit these categories.
People who work as Model Builders have a wide range of different college degrees and professional experiences. If fact, you do not have to ever have touched a LEGO brick to get a job. Plenty of people who have designed, created or built other things, made of glass, wood, metal, fabric, beads but never played with LEGO have made their way into LEGOLAND Studios.
For all of these jobs, there is some type of test or series of challenges along with the job interview. Often the job candidate is asked to build something within a set time-frame.
Attention Moms and Dads...
Do you think your child has what it take to become a LEGO Model Builder when they grow up?
Make sure you take plenty of pictures of all the cool things your kid builds. Those photos just might get him or her a job someday!
Model Builder Jobs at LEGOLAND Studios - The most abundant job in the LEGOLAND group
LEGOLAND Studios in Carlsbad, CA has up to 40 Model Builders working in a creative warehouse in the hills. There are also studios in Denmark, Malaysia, Germany and England, all working very closely to the LEGOLAND theme parks in those areas.
LEGOLAND Studios Model Builders will build LEGO models of buildings, vehicles, animals, mosaics etc. 5 days/week, for 40 hours. It may sound boring, to some, compared to the exiting lifestyle of the LEGOLAND Model Builder, but for someone who just wants to snap LEGO together and be left alone, this is a dream job.
This species of Model Builder adheres to sometimes tough deadlines and has to be much more of a craftsman in their day to day job, but they are known to have an extensive collection of music on their ipod that helps them build layer upon layer of a LEGO model all day long.
Travel for research or display installations is possible for some of these folks, on occasion. You find always find some of them working on installing Merlin's new LEGO attractions on site and sometimes permanently relocating to work at the new place.
Some of these builders are at designer level and do all the creative design for the models that are built by others.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Model Builders
LEGOLAND Model Builders on a smaller scale
At a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Model Builders will take care of the displays, add new models and displays, do presentations for guests, and do PR.
This job is very similar to the LEGOLAND Model Builder except on a smaller scale (just like the Discovery Center is compared to LEGOLAND parks) and these attractions are all indoor.
Currently in the United States, you will find Discovery Centers in the Chicago suburbs, Texas, Atlanta, and Kansas.
There are only one or two of these Model Builders in each Discovery Center, so these jobs are as difficult to get as a LEGOLAND Model Builder.