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Animator: Required Education For a Career in Animation

Oct 15, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an animator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and career outlook to find out if a career in animation is for you.

Animation Requirements & Career Info

Animation is an art form that focuses on creating pictures that move, including both two- and three-dimensionally. Animators frequently create special effects for different forms of media, such as video games or movies, and they are usually required to have a bachelor's degree. Candidates interested in this field will need to demonstrate their education and skills to potential employers will need to develop an extensive portfolio of work through art courses and internships.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 4% (for all multimedia artists and animators)*
Median Salary (2018) $72,520 annually (for all multimedia artists and animators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Become an Animator

Animators Education Requirements

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. Some of these courses may also cover portfolio presentation and self-marketing to help students find jobs after they graduate.

Animator Degree Options

Although there are some undergraduate degrees in animation, those wishing to have a career in the field could also pursue degree in a related field. Some examples include bachelor's degrees in fine arts, entertainment design, computer graphics, and art and illustration. Some of these degrees even have the option of specializing in animation.

Job Opportunities

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
  • Painters
  • Cartoonists
  • Illustrators
  • 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 4% between 2018 and 2028, which is an average amount. In May 2018, the BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $72,520, with most earning between $40,870 and $124,310 per year. Those employed in Connecticut, Washington, and the District of Columbia received the highest salaries, earning mean salaries of $102,630, $90,700, and $89,210, respectively.

With stable job growth projected through 2028, 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.

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