In multimedia arts associate and bachelor's degree programs, students are trained in the fundamentals of web page design, animation, digital photography and computer graphics. Schools expect undergraduate applicants to have completed high school, usually with college prep courses, and have satisfactory ACT or SAT scores.
At the master's level, students can specialize in areas such as social media or video production. A number of master's programs foster a team-based approach to multimedia and interactive creations, and require completion of a thesis project. Admission into a master's program requires completion of a bachelor's degree program with a 2.5 to 3.0 minimum GPA. Some require the bachelor's degree be in visual arts or a similar field. Applicants are expected to be familiar with graphical user interface and a variety of digital imaging program formats. A portfolio of the applicant's work is often required.
Associate Degree in Multimedia Arts
Multimedia arts programs include developing visual communication and fine arts skills. Many courses at this level are project oriented. Some programs give the opportunity to select a specialization, such as animation and digital imaging. Some courses are part of the required core for most multimedia arts bachelor's degree programs, including:
- Web page design
- Digital photography
- Electronic imaging
- Visual media communication
- Creating and presenting a digital portfolio
Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Arts
Bachelor's degree programs in multimedia arts are four-year curriculums that teach theory, present practice opportunities and offer constructive evaluations of multimedia principles of design. Students in these programs have the opportunity to develop a portfolio of their work. In the last two years of the program they may begin to focus on a specialization, such as animation, interactive design or video design. A number of the required courses in a bachelor's program are similar to that of an associate program. Some other courses commonly required at the bachelor's level include:
- 2-D and 3-D designs
- Computer graphics
- Digital drawings
- Techniques of printmaking
- Typography and layout
- Producing materials with graphic designs
Master's Degree in Multimedia Arts
The few available multimedia master's degree programs are generally multidisciplinary and take two years to complete. Most offer specializations in areas such as web design and development, multimedia management and creative media practices. Students often work in teams in sophisticated media labs, and may take trips to media centers such as New York City. Being generally a multidisciplinary program, coursework at the master's level is largely directed by the individual and concentration chosen. Coursework offered at this level includes:
- 3-D imaging and modeling
- Instructional design
- Mass media studies
- Moving images
- Planning interactive Web pages
- Multimedia design and learning theories
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree is generally required for a multimedia artist position. Entry-level positions in the field are possible for associate degree graduates. Some career options include:
- Animator assistant
- Assistant graphic designer
- Basic Web designer
- Digital photographer
- Junior digital illustrator
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated a 6% employment increase for multimedia artists and animators in the 2014-2024 decade. Consumer enjoyment of more special effects in movies, TV and video games is one reason for this increase. The median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators in 2015 was $63,970.
Continuing Education Information
In addition to pursuing a bachelor's degree, certificates of achievement may be earned in a number of multimedia specialties. These include web design and production, multimedia writing, digital video arts, digital imaging, and animation. Certifications may be earned from publishers of software used by multimedia artists, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro.
New technologies continue to be the biggest push for continuing education in any field related to computers. Professional associations can help digital artists, animators, graphic designers and other multimedia artists keep up-to-date, find courses and benefit from advocacy. The most well-known are AIGA, (formerly the American Institute of Graphic Arts), the Graphic Artists Guild and the International Council of Graphic Design Associations.
Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in multimedia arts provide a fundamental education in the field and include specialization options. Master's degree programs are multi-disciplinary and involve cooperative laboratory work, field trips and a capstone project.