Individuals who want to build a computer arts careers can first earn an Associate of Arts in Computer Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Arts. Bachelor's degrees may be specialized in digital animation, website design, special effects or sound creation. Both two-year associates and four-year bachelor's degree programs may require the completion of a senior project, thesis, portfolio and/or internships.
Both types of programs require incoming students to already have a high school diploma or GED and basic computer skills. Some bachelor's degree programs may require students to have an associate's degree, adequate ACT or SAT scores, sample work and a personal essay.
Associate's Degree in Computer Arts
Besides learning practical concepts, students explore the historical relevance of art. They also develop manual and digital artistic skills and learn problem-solving techniques. Computer arts undergraduates learn through hands-on studio time and lectures. Elective options can range from Photoshop to filmmaking. Core computer arts topics include:
- 2-dimensional creations
- Art design and production for multiple mediums
- Digitized visual art
- Developing animation models
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Arts
A computer arts major is generally conferred as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Arts. Programs encourage the development of art and drawing skills and include education in graphic design and visual communications. Classes cover the following topics:
- Art history
- Digital principles
- Sound file creation
- Graphics and animation
- Trends in computer arts
Popular Career Options
Individuals with an undergraduate degree in computer arts often work in media and entertainment industries, and are employed for positions such as:
- Graphic artist
- Video game developer
- Commercial artist
- Video and audio producer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, the highest-paid multimedia artists and graphic designers worked in California and the District of Columbia, respectively, noted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Multimedia artists and animators had a median salary of $63,970 annually, while graphic designers earned a median salary of $46,900. Additionally, the BLS indicated that from 2014-2024, multimedia artists and animators were expected to experience a 6% climb in employment; in contrast, graphic designers were expected to have a 1% rise throughout that decade.
Aspiring multimedia artists, animators and graphics designers may get the training they need from an associate's or bachelor's degree program in computer arts. These programs offer both hands-on and in-class training in computer and design skills.