Online Multimedia and Animation Degrees: Program Summaries

Research online multimedia and animation courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

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Essential Information

Multimedia and animation degree programs can be taken online primarily at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Programs may be offered completely through distance learning, but some are blended programs requiring some on-campus attendance. Bachelor's degree programs are more commonly available online, and this is the degree level that most professionals working in this field hold. At the bachelor's degree level, students may be required to complete an internship.

In this field, the list of technical requirements for degree programs may be long. Prospective online students may want to find out if they have access to campus computer labs with the latest multimedia software. Course-specific software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Illustrator, may be necessary.

Having a well-rounded portfolio that showcases one's talents is a key to gaining employment in this field, so potential online students should inquire about how a program prepares students to assemble their portfolio.

Multimedia and Animation Associate's Degree

Online associate's degree programs in multimedia and animation emphasize graphic design, visual arts and computer technology. An online 2-year degree program in multimedia and animation most commonly results in an Associate of Applied Science degree in Multimedia and Animation.

Program Information and Requirements

Opportunities to work with local businesses to assist in the creation of a portfolio might be offered by some schools. Technical requirements for online multimedia and animation associate's degree programs include a high-speed Internet connection and an updated version of Windows. Students might also be required to have updated versions of software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Illustrator.

Common Courses

The curriculum for an online associate's degree program in multimedia and animation generally consists of introductory and advanced courses in multimedia graphics, Web design, digital imaging and animation. General education requirements might include communications, mathematics and physical sciences.

Graphic Design

Basic courses in graphic design introduce students to graphics techniques and processes. Topics covered might include color theory, layout, typography and the history of graphic design.

Web Design

How to design, format and layout Web pages are covered in these types of courses. In some cases, students are given the opportunity to create Web pages using required software.

Digital Image Editing

Coursework in digital image editing covers the use of digital photography equipment and computer graphics editing techniques. Scanning, retouching, colorizing and composition techniques are among the likely topics of discussion in these courses.

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Multimedia and Animation Bachelor's Degree

Online multimedia and animation bachelor's degree programs can result in a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Animation or a related field. Areas of study in online bachelor's degree programs include multimedia communications, computer animation, animation or graphic design.

Program Information and Requirements

It typically takes four years to earn an online bachelor's degree in multimedia and animation. Distance learning bachelor's degree programs in these areas are usually conducted entirely online, though some programs might include an internship as part of the curriculum.

As with online associate's degree programs, students of bachelor's degree programs in multimedia and animation might be required to have updated versions of specific software to complete assignments for some animation and graphic design courses.

Common Courses

Program coursework for an online 4-year degree in multimedia and animation consists of fundamental and advanced classes in Web design, interactive design, visual communications, computer animation and multimedia production. Required general education courses generally include those in mathematics, social sciences, physical sciences and humanities.

Interactive Design

Fundamental and advanced interactive design courses emphasize 2-dimensional animation and Web animation. Coursework addresses such topics as storyboarding, layout, scripting and framing.

Computer Animation

Students in computer animation courses will generally study animation software and animation techniques. Character animation, 3-D animation, modeling and computer graphics are among the subjects that are likely to be studied in these courses.

Multimedia production

Pre- and post-production methods and techniques are taught in this course. In some classes, students might have the opportunity to develop an actual production from conception and storyboarding to the finished product.


Career Information

Completion of an online associate's degree program in multimedia and animation qualifies graduates for entry-level positions as graphic artists, Web designers or multimedia artists. Job opportunities for multimedia artists and animators are expected to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2015, the BLS reported that the annual median salary for multimedia artists and animators was $63,970 (www.bls.gov).

Graduates of an online bachelor's degree program in multimedia and animation are prepared for careers as animators and multimedia artists. They can also qualify for art director or management positions. The median annual salary for art directors was $89,760 in 2015, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

As many companies prefer hiring employees who hold a bachelor's degree in the field, graduates of online associate's degree programs in multimedia and animation might choose to pursue a 4-year degree. Some bachelor's degree programs in multimedia and animation are available online.

Some companies might prefer candidates to possess a graduate degree in multimedia and animation. Online graduate degree programs in multimedia and animation are less common than online certificate and undergraduate degree programs. These programs generally result in a Master of Fine Arts degree with a specialization in animation or multimedia arts.

Online associate's and bachelor's degree programs in multimedia and animation develop students' computer animation, design and editing skills. Graduates typically need at least a bachelor's degree to work as animators, multimedia artists or art directors.

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