Computer Animation Education

January 19, 2015

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Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an animator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Most employers require prospective animators to have a bachelor's degree in animation or a related field, as well as a professional portfolio, though some animators hold only a certificate or an associate's degree. Students typically take courses in drawing, 3D programming, computer graphics, video effects and graphic design. Programs may also provide training on sound and video editing, as well as kinematics.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth 6% between 2012 and 2022 (for all multimedia artists and animators)*
Median Salary (2013) $64, 470 annually ()*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Through their coursework, students may begin to build a professional portfolio of their work. They may also take specialized courses, such as design studios, to help them improve their skills in animation. Some of these courses may also cover portfolio presentation and self-marketing to help students find jobs after they graduate.

Job Opportunities

Upon graduation, students may look for employment with motion picture and video production companies, as well as advertising and public relations firms. Animators may also find work with software publishers and computer system design firms. With additional training, these professionals may also become:

  • Sketch artists
  • Graphic designers
  • Painters
  • Cartoonists
  • Illustrators
  • Computer game developers
  • Computer game programmers
  • Visual artists
  • Web designers
  • Multimedia designers

Job and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects job information for animators and multimedia artists. The BLS reported that job openings for multimedia artists and animators were projected to rise by only 6% between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations. As of May 2013, the BLS also reported that these professionals received a median annual salary of $64, 470, with most earning between $35, 010 and $118, 890 per year. Those employed in California, Washington and District of Columbia received the highest salaries of all multimedia artists and animators, earning average yearly wages of $88, 150, $76, 900 and $76, 110, respectively.

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