How to Get a Degree in Theme Park Design
Amusement parks continue to thrill and entertain guests just as they have for many years. Some universities and colleges have started offering degrees designed to help students find careers in these exciting establishments. Although these degrees are not common - and are often called experience design or entertainment design degrees - opportunities still exist to find a career working in the thrilling world of theme park design. If you'd love to turn your love of theme parks into a degree, read on to learn what it takes to earn a theme park design degree.
Theme Park Design Admission Requirements
Theme park design program admission requirements vary depending on the specific track of the student. However, all students will need to submit a work portfolio as part of their application. The purpose of this portfolio is to showcase previous work and highlight the skills that would make an applicant a good fit for a theme park design program. Examples of portfolio work may include concept designs, animated creations (like short films), or story pitches.
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Sample Courses for Theme Park Design
Theme park design degrees traditionally include many art and design classes. Writing, visual design, and even computer science may also be key components of your curriculum. Students are also often required to take all acquired knowledge on theme park design and apply it to a final project. This project tests research skills, concept design, logistical planning and many of the other skills a theme park designer will need to use daily.
Basic drawing classes teach you essential information about form, perspective and lighting. These are the foundations on which all your other classes are built and often introduce you the tools used in digital design.
Students explore art in the context of interactive or immersive media. This class can help you better understand how to create virtual reality, games, and 3D video. You'll also develop programming skills and learn to use such software as Unity3D.
Learn what it takes to build an interesting and engaging story for multimedia platforms. You'll learn about traditional narrative processes and its relation to visual experiences - such as video games - or the shared worlds found in comics. These classes can help you take stories from a rough idea to a solid concept.
Visualization and Communication
Learn what it takes to set a mood, tell a story, and create an immersive environment using 3D modeling software. You can develop visualization and spatial modelling skills while creating prototypes of your ideas.
These types of programs often include a series of entertainment design courses. You'll get a broad overview of such concepts as immersive environments and time-based interactivity. You'll also learn the skills needed to bring projects to life, such as model making and costume design.
How to Choose a Theme Park Design Degree Program
Students looking to pursue a career in theme park design will need to build connections in the field. Internships and experiential learning will play a key factor in your education. For this reason, it will be important to find schools with proven connections to theme parks. Location will also play an important role, so expect to find schools located near major amusement parks like those in Florida and California.
Career Options with a Theme Park Design Degree
Students who graduate with a theme park design degree often go on to work in major theme parks around the world. Due to the nature of the degree, the possible job opportunities for a theme park design graduate vary greatly and are dependent on individual experience. However, one possible outcome of the degree would be a career as a digital artist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a multimedia artist and animator was $70,530 per year as of May 2017. This career is expected to grow eight percent between 2016 and 2026. Here are some other possible career outcomes for graduates with a theme park design degree.