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How to Become a BIM Modeler

If you are interested in the digital processes of the design and construction stages of a project, a career as a BIM modeler might be right for you. To become a BIM modeler, you will need to have exceptional artistic ability, as well as excellent technical and computer skills. BIM modelers create 3D models, drawings, and structural data for a project. As a BIM modeler, you will work closely with architects and engineers to develop designs for clients.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] needs a new BIM (business information modeling) modeler! Expert knowledge of BIM and mockup software is required, as well as an understanding of engineering and architecture. You will be required to work closely with our lead architect and engineer, modeling and presenting the concepts requested by these team members. The ideal candidate has previous experience in this field as well as good communication ability. You must be able to determine elements and scale, and properly meet deadlines. The candidate must have good attention to detail and be extremely knowledgeable in mathematics and design aspects as well. If this position sounds like it is potentially relevant to your skillset, please consider applying!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Collaborate with architects and engineers on projects
  • Determine the proper elements and scale for buildings
  • Meet deadlines

Education and experience

BIM modelers need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent, preferably with classes in math, science, design, and computer graphics. Graduates typically continue their education by earning an associate degree from a community college or a certificate from a technical school. Professional certification also is available.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong collaborative and interpersonal skills
  • Time-management skills and the ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to understand technical drawings and plans
  • Advanced math and computer skills
  • Creativity and artistic ability
  • Keen attention to detail

Preferred qualifications

  • 4-7 years experience in architecture
  • Advanced knowledge and proficiency using model authoring software such as Revit, SolidWorks, etc.
  • Knowledge of advanced Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) methods
  • Digital fabrication/CNC and/or robotics experience
  • Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree

Typical work environment

BIM modelers typically work regular full-time hours for their business. These employees are required to draft, model, and create visual plans in order to assist with decision-making and the architecture process. This position will work in close association with an architect or engineer in order to create the proper and required 3D models. Oftentimes, this position will require good communication skills as well as the ability to meet deadlines. Advanced mathematics will be required for a BIM modeler as well. Working knowledge of architecture and engineering is a plus.

Typical hours

BIM modelers typically work regular hours, 9 AM to 5 PM, though they sometimes might need to log more than 40 hours a week. Sometimes they visit construction sites to collaborate with architects or engineers.

Available certifications

BIM modelers work in a data and skill-reliant field, which means having a certification relevant to this position can be a major benefit. Some good certifications are:

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) Certificate Program. The building information modeling certificate program is a well-known certification offered by ASU which provides hands-on training and overviews of the latest and most advanced BIM modeling techniques and practices. This course provides information and training on how to use three major software programs which are relevant to the BIM modeling career.
  • AGC Certificate of Management-Building Information Modeling (CM-BIM). The AGC Certificate of management-building information modeling is an assessment and test-based certification program, which provides an overview and comprehension test for BIM model professionals and can be extremely useful to those who wish to procure a BIM-related job or career.

Career path

The first step to becoming a BIM modeler is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Students should obtain a certificate from a technical school or an associate degree from a community college, ideally in a construction or architectural discipline. Associated General Contractors of America offers certification, which will expand your career opportunities.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 17-1011

2020 Employment126,700
Projected Employment in 2030130,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 3% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift3,900 increase

Population growth means that construction-related jobs will continue to be in demand. Maintenance, improvements, and construction of roads and bridges also will create more job opportunities. The emphasis on environmentally friendly development and energy efficiency should give the industry a boost as well.

Job prospects in the construction industry tend to ebb and flow with the economy. However, architects and engineers are taking on more tasks that previously were handled by BIM modelers and drafters, which means fewer job opportunities.

The Construction Management Association of America offers career coaching, a learning center, and job listings for candidates.