Who doesn’t love LEGOs? From preschoolers crafting their own castles and rocket ships to adults constructing intricate worlds when they think nobody’s looking, it seems that everyone is inclined to pick up a few of the iconic toys and snap them together when the opportunity presents itself.
But did you know that you can actually make a living playing with LEGOs?
No, I’m not kidding. From becoming an incredibly prestigious official LEGO Master Builder to working with kids’ after-school programs, there are plenty of ways to become a full-fledged professional LEGO guru.
LEGO Engineering Instructor: Jobs in 23 Locations
“Would you like to use a ridiculous amount of LEGO materials to teach kids how the world works? If so, then this may be your dream job!” boasts a recent ad posted by a national company for a job in Dallas, Texas.
If your answer is “Yes, please!” you might want to consider applying with Play-Well TEKnologies, which at the time of this writing, is looking to hire LEGO Engineering Instructors in 23 different states.
The company uses LEGOs to teach kids from kindergarten to eighth grade about engineering, architecture and physics.
The job is part-time and involves working with kids in after-school programs, at birthday parties and, during the summer, all-day programs. You can expect 15 to 20 hours of work per week during the school year (mostly weekday afternoons and weekends), though summers can involve 30 to 40 hours per week.
During training, pay is $15 per hour, which increases to $17 to $19 after successful completion of the training period. Instructors are paid not only for in-class teaching time, but also the time it takes to drive between locations (if it’s over 30 minutes ) as well as setup time.
Be prepared for some physical work, as you’ll be hauling 60 pounds of LEGOs (or more) between locations. And you’ll need a reliable vehicle to carry all those LEGOs around town.
Play-Well is looking for someone with experience working with kids, preferably in a classroom or summer camp setting. Experience with classroom management is important, and being able to motivate excited kids to listen, cooperate and clean up is essential.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Model Builder: Chicago
The facility offers nine attractions, two rides and a 4-D movie theater. There are three million LEGO bricks on the premises. If that doesn’t beat daily life in a cubicle, what could?
LDC is hiring a Model Builder to support the Master Model Builder. Your potential duties include constructing and keeping up the LEGO displays at the LDC, guiding guests, maintaining Miniland and playing with LEGOs with visitors. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s going to have to do it.
Interested? You’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent experience and a huge passion for LEGOs. They want a good communicator with strong artistic vision who can multi-task, meet deadlines, stay organized and work well with people. The selected applicant may also help teach Master Builder Academy classes and help with off-site promotions.
Chicago’s LDC is also hiring for a number of other positions, including positions in events, admissions, entertainment, food service and more. Check out their careers page for open positions and information on how to apply.
What’s It Like To Work With LEGOs for a Living?
The most coveted LEGO role is arguably that of a Master Builder. The entire U.S. only employs seven LEGO Master Builders, and there are only 40 in the entire world at LEGOLAND theme parks and Discovery centers.
Most Master Builders start their careers as apprentice builders, where they maintain models at LEGO parks, and then become senior builders and acquire more duties. Apprentices typically make $10 per hour, senior builders $12 and full-time master builders can start at a salary of around $37,500 annually, according to Priceonomics.
Huffington Post went behind-the-scenes with Master Builder Chris Steininger to explore what it’s like to work with LEGOs for a living. His chief responsibility is designing huge models that are used everywhere from event grand openings to children’s hospitals. He travels frequently and people love to watch him create. Sometimes, observers can even participate and help him construct his models.
KidsFest, an annual traveling event, is one of Steininger’s favorite aspects of his job. At the event, he teaches Master Builder Academy classes to kids and answers their questions about LEGOs and his job. He also walks around and sees what the kids are creating, even offering a little advice on the models they’re constructing.
The LEGO gig is a family tradition for Chris. His father, Dan, also worked for LEGO as a Master Builder. The father-son duo would spend countless evenings creating with their LEGOs and through his dad, Chris was able to get a summer internship at LEGO, which later led to his Master Builder career.
Master Builders are hand-selected by LEGO, and aspiring pros should have a college degree in an engineering or art-related field as well as 3-D computer modeling experience with programs such as AutoCad. Once hired, they will work with LEGO’s custom program for computer-aided design. Of course, applicants must be able to show off their LEGO-building skills as well during the application process.
Another LEGO-related career option is to become a LEGO-certified professional (LCP). These people are not employed by LEGO, but they are freelancers who are officially recognized by the company for their skills. While LEGO is not currently seeking LCPs, check back in early 2016 to see if they are accepting more applications. These pros create amazing works of LEGO art and are employed by corporations and others to make customized LEGO models.
Your Turn: Would you want to get paid to play with LEGO?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.