Animators are typically required to have a bachelor's degree. It is essential that potential animators demonstrate skill, and candidates interested in this field should begin to develop an extensive portfolio of work through art courses and internships.
Most employers require prospective animators to have a bachelor's degree in animation or related field, as well as a professional portfolio, although some animators hold only a certificate or an associate's degree. Students typically take courses in drawing, 3D programming, computer graphics, video effects and graphic design. Degree programs may also provide training in sound and video editing, as well as kinematics.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% (for all multimedia artists and animators)*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$63,970 annually (for all multimedia artists and animators)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Through their coursework, students may begin to build a professional portfolio of their work. They may also take specialized courses, such as design studios, to help them improve their skills in animation. Some of these courses may also cover portfolio presentation and self-marketing to help students find jobs after they graduate.
Upon graduation, students may look for employment with motion picture and video production companies, as well as advertising and public relations firms. Animators may also find work with software publishers and computer system design firms. With additional training, these professionals may also become:
- Sketch artists
- Graphic designers
- Computer game developers
- Computer game programmers
- Visual artists
- Web designers
- Multimedia designers
Job and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects job information for animators and multimedia artists. The BLS reported that job openings for multimedia artists and animators are projected to rise by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is an average rate. In May 2015, the BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $63,970, with most earning between $36,930 and $113,600 per year. Those employed in California, Washington and Columbia received the highest salaries, earning mean salaries of $82,810, $80,460 and $77,860, respectively.
With stable job growth projected through 2024, animators who complete a bachelor's degree in a relevant field and develop an extensive portfolio will be able to compete for jobs. Some positions that potential animators may wish to consider include sketch artist, visual artist and computer game developer.