Find a school near you....

Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Illinois Animation Schools

Written by ACR StaffJanuary 22, 2016
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.
view counter

Illinois is home to the nation’s third largest city—Chicago. While artists may live in just about any city or town in Illinois, the largest population of artists lives and works in the Chicago metropolitan area where you’ll find most of the state’s art museums, theaters, performance venues, television and film studios, animation studios, advertising agencies, technology companies, PR firms and other creative agencies.

Aspiring artists in the state, nation and abroad also come to Chicago to attend some of the world’s top art and design schools. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), American Academy of Art, and Columbia College are just a few. 

view counter

Illinois Animation Schools

Illinois is home to 181 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities, which is more than double the national average. The state’s post-secondary institutions consist of traditional colleges and universities, art and design schools, technical schools, and more. A significant number of these schools offer programs that lead to a degree in animation or they offer related programs that feature animation coursework.  

Students can choose from a variety of programs from animation, film and fine art to instructional simulation, gaming and visual effects. Scroll through the list below to review some of the state’s best options for aspiring animators and what they have to offer.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale - Degrees Offered: BFA Radio, Television, and Digital Media with a Specialization in Digital Media Arts and Animation; MFA Media Arts

University of Illinois at Urbana - Degrees Offered: BFA New Media with Optional Computer Animation Electives; MFA Studio with a Concentration in New Media 

Eastern Illinois University - Degrees Offered: BA, BFA Art - 2D Studio; MA Art with Interactive/ Motion Graphics III Coursework

American Academy of Art - Degrees Offered: BFA 3-D Modeling and Animation

Columbia College - Degrees Offered: BA Cinema Art + Science with an Animation focus, BFA Traditional Animation, BFA Computer Animation, Animation Minor

DePaul University - Degrees Offered: BA, BFA, MA, MFA, Minor Animation

School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Degrees Offered: BFA, MFA Studio with a Concentration Animation

Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy - Degrees Offered:AAS Animation + Visual Effects, AAS Digital Media, BS Digital Media with a Major in Digital Art, BS Digital Media with a Major in Post-Production, AAS Film

University of Illinois at Chicago - Degrees Offered: BFA Art with a Concentration in Moving Image, BFA Electronic Visualization, MFA New Media Arts, MS Biomedical Visualization

Northern Illinois University - Degrees Offered: BFA, MFA Time Arts (Animation, Video Art, Audio Art, and Interactive Art)

Western Illinois University - Degrees Offered: BA, BFA Graphic Design – Animation and Motion Graphics, Minor Graphic Design; BS Instructional Simulation and Gaming

Illinois State University - Degrees Offered: BA, BS, MS Arts Technology

Bradley University - Degrees Offered: BA/BS in Interactive Media with a Concentration in Animation and Visual Effects, Minor Interactive Media

Illinois Institute of Art - Degrees Offered: BFA Media Arts and Animation

University of Illinois, Springfield  - Degrees Offered: BA Visual Arts with Digital Media: Animation courseworka

More Illinois Schools with Animation related programs:  

Employment and Salary Trends for Illinois Animators

Illinois is home to 66,830 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. Of this group, 1,330 are multimedia artists and animators averaging $68,830 per year. In 2009, the state was home to 910 animators and multimedia artists averaging $60,120 per year. 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.

It is important to note that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” has the second highest concentration of employment (not highest employment level) in the nation for animators and multimedia artists. This means, it’s safe to assume that the population of animators and multimedia artists in Illinois is much higher. These individuals typically earn more as well. According to the BLS, “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” is the fourth highest paying industry for animators and multimedia artists. As of 2015, the average salary for this group was $75,150.

The industries with the highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists are:

  • Motion Picture and Video industries
  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
  • Software Publishers
  • Specialized Design Services
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services

The industries with the highest levels of employment are:

  • Motion Picture and Video industries
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Software Publishers
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Other Information Services

The top five highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists 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) 

While the states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas, and Georgia, the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL metro area has the sixth highest employment level in this occupation of the nation’s top 10 metro areas for animators and multimedia artists. Further, animators in this metro area average $69,210 per year, which is just $240 less than the average salary for Idaho-based animators—the fifth highest paying state for animators.

Awesome Animation Fact: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, which ran from October 5, 2006 to July 28, 2007 on Japan MBS and from April 6, 2008 to September 28, 2008 as a simulcast on JNN stations (MBS and TBS), was sponsored by the Japanese branch of Pizza Hut. Despite the fact that the series is set in an alternate reality, Pizza Hut is seen ordered many times. –