Overview of Online Game Design Certificate Programs
Game design certificates available in online formats are typically offered as introductory-level, undergraduate certificate programs. For example, some of these programs may award a Certificate of Achievement in the Fundamentals of Game Design or a Level 1 Workforce Certificate in Game Design. These programs can usually be completed in less than 1 year, with many programs concluding within about 28 to 32 weeks.
Online game design certificate programs are usually designed for students interested in pursuing entry-level careers in game design, creating their own video games, or later pursuing an undergraduate degree program in the field. These programs do not typically require any prerequisites for admission, but interested students may be encouraged to meet with an academic advisor. Online game design certificates help train students in areas like C# programming, 2-D and 3-D animation, logic, digital media, and game testing.
Requirements for Game Design Certificates
Game design certificate programs help equip students with the necessary technical skills to design, create, and test video games. Some of these certificate programs can be completed 100% online, but due to the hands-on nature of the field, some game design certificate programs are available in a blended format that utilizes a combination of on-campus, hybrid, and online courses to give students in-person experience with the technology in the field.
Information and Requirements
Students in online game design certificate programs are usually required to complete a series of core courses that do not include any electives. Programs may require anywhere from 5 to 10 courses for a total of 15 to 30 credits for completion. Depending on the program, students may be required to maintain a specific GPA throughout the program, such as a 2.0 or higher.
It is also fairly common for online game design certificate programs to require some kind of culminating experience. Some programs require students to complete a comprehensive exam and score above a particular threshold (e.g. 70% or greater) to pass. Other programs require a final capstone course, project, and/or portfolio in game design and animation.
Courses in game or video game design explore the different techniques and considerations for non-artists and artists in the design process. Students may further develop their technical writing, research, and editing skills as they work to develop storyboards and characters for games. These courses may include laboratory work and also discuss interface design, 2D design concepts, architecture, game rules, character choices, and other variables in a game.
Introduction to Programming
Students in these certificate programs are likely to take multiple courses that focus on different programming areas, but they typically begin with an introductory course in the subject. In general, these introductory courses help students learn about different programming languages, techniques, and applications for designing games. These courses may include a lab portion and often discuss ways to problem solve and correct any issues that arise.
Design and Design Tools
Courses in design or design tools typically examine the very start of the game design process. These courses may provide students with an overview of the history and innovation of games as well as develop students' skills in brainstorming, idea presentation, and simulation. Some of these courses include a lab portion and allow students to explore different tools for design that are utilized in the industry.
Career Options in Game Design
Multimedia artists and animators who work on video games and other forms of media typically need a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Related careers, such as web developers and graphic designers, also usually need a postsecondary degree. Therefore, students with only a certificate in game design may need to work as an entrepreneur creating their own games or consider some of the many other careers that are involved in developing a video game, including positions that do not require an advanced degree.
Some of these positions include writers, artists, and testers. Additionally, some game designers may not be required to have a postsecondary degree, although a degree may be helpful. These designers usually have some experience in video games and may begin their careers in programming, art, or other areas of game development.
Online game design certificate programs are not overly common. Students in these programs can further develop their creativity and problem-solving skills in preparation for entry-level positions in the gaming industry and earn their certificate in less than 1 year.