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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Arizona Animation Careers: Employment & Salary Trends, Job Opportunities, & Colleges Offering Animation Programs in Arizona

Written by ACR StaffNovember 9, 2015
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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Animation Careers in Arizona Overview

The Arizona Film Office of the Arizona Department of Commerce has a number of major productions to its credit—many are classics. Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007) was filmed in parts of Bullhead City, Kingman, Page, and Yuma, and certain scenes from The Savages (2007) were filmed on location in Sun City. The Oscar winning film Little Miss Sunshine (2006) made its way through Chandler, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, and scenes from Star Wars Episodes IV and VI (1977 and 1983), Natural Born Killers (1994), Psycho (1960), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Forrest Gump (1994), Planet of the Apes (1968), Wild Wild West (1999), Wayne’s World (1992) and Casablanca (1942) were filmed here.

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The Arizona Film Office attracts major productions such as these by offering incentives, access to picturesque shooting locations, and easy access to local talent and staff. As a result, the Arizona film industry continues to thrive, attracting production companies from all over the U.S. and abroad. This includes animation studios. 

In addition to an active film and video industry, the State of Arizona is home to a variety of advertising agencies located in major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson; it is home to the Tucson Animation Screening Society (TASS), which promotes Japanese animation (anime) for the University of Arizona, and it is home to top-rated art and design schools such as the Southwest University of the Visual Arts (SUVA), which offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in animation and the University of Advancing Technology (UAT), which offers a BA in Game Art and Animation.

Besides film and video, and advertising, Arizona-based animators work in technology, public relations, information services, and education, to name a few. The state is home to around 84 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities and hundreds of other learning centers that offer art and design programs. Arizona is home to more than 1,000 computer design and information technology firms, and hundreds of creative firms that are always on the lookout for talented animators.

Arizona’s top colleges and universities offer art and animation programs accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). A large number of community colleges such as Mesa Community College and Scottsdale Community College also offer animation certificates, enrichment courses, or other non-degree animation programs.

Employment and Salary Trends for Arizona Animators

Arizona is home to 300 salaried multimedia artists and animators. They average $54,180 per year, up slightly from $53,980 in 2013 when the state was home to 230 multimedia artists and animators. Nationwide, the mean annual wage for animators and multimedia artists is $69,410 and overall employment for this group is expected to increase by six percent for the 2012-2022 decade.

The top five highest paying states for animators are:

  • California ($82,170)
  • Washington ($75,740)
  • Massachusetts ($73,470)
  • New York ($70,660)
  • Idaho ($69,450)

The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:

  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($81,760)
  • Other Information Services ($80,310)
  • Software Publishers ($76,090)
  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers ($75,150)
  • Motion Picture and Video Industries ($73,950)

The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas and Georgia.

Animation Career Opportunities in Arizona

In Arizona and across the U.S., the industries with the highest levels of employment are the Motion Picture and Video industries, Computer Systems Design and Related Services, Software Publishers, Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services, and Other Information Services. ‘Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers’ has the second highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists, along with an impressive average salary of $75,150 per year. 

Job opportunities for aspiring animators in Arizona can be found at agencies and studios such as:

  • Abbott Media Productions, Tucson
  • Allison+Partners, Phoenix
  • Arizona Virtual Studios, Phoenix
  • Avenue 25, Phoenix
  • Bernard Hodes Group, Tucson and Phoenix
  • Bliss Marketing Multimedia, Phoenix
  • Cordillera Communications, Tucson
  • diMo Digital Motion, Carefree
  • Effusion Creative Solutions, Chandler
  • Honeywell, Tempe
  • J. Walter Thompson, Scottsdale
  • McMurry/TMG, Phoenix
  • Nextiva, Scottsdale
  • Nexus Multimedia, Phoenix
  • Pearson Digital Learning, Chandler
  • Riester, Phoenix
  • The Lavidge Co., Phoenix
  • Zion & Zion, Tempe

While it is possible to find employment in many cities across the state, most opportunities for aspiring animators can be found in major cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Tempe.

Arizona Animation Training Programs

As mentioned, Arizona offers access to a number of competitive animation programs offered at top schools such as Southwest University of the Visual Arts (SUVA) and the University of Advancing Technology (UAT). Other options include Arizona State University (ASU)-Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in Tempe and The Art Center College of Design in Tucson.

More Arizona Schools with Animation related programs:  

Awesome Animation Fact: Walt Disney ultimately chose the fairytale of Snow White for his first animated feature because he recognized that the dwarfs would make great cartoon characters and that the forest setting would be a natural opportunity to animate a variety of "appealing little birds and animals." He also had vivid memories of the 1916 live-action silent version of "Snow White," one of the first movies he ever saw. –Moviefone