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

Written by AnonymousMarch 6, 2011
Did you know.... In 2013 every movie nominated for an Oscar Award in the Best Visual Effects category had graduates from The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School at Universal Studios Orlando) in the credits. This year (2014), four of the five nominated films - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, and Star Trek Into Darkness- included DAVE School graduates. Those 4 films alone employed nearly 70 DAVE School graduates last year.
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Animation Careers in Iowa

Overview - Although the state of Iowa has a small film office, the state still attracts a fair number of animators interested in production, advertising, education, and computer design and technology. Animators interested in computer design and technology may find employment at the more than 800 technology firms located throughout the state. Animators interested in teaching can choose from 65 colleges and universities throughout the state and 1,525 elementary and secondary institutions.

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Film and video animators have a handful of production studios to choose from such as Effective Digital Presentations in Davenport, and Right Purdy Pictures in Cedar Rapids. Although animation jobs can be found all over the state of Iowa, most can be found in principle cities such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, and Waterloo.

Employment and Salary Trends for Iowa Animators

As of 2009, approximately 100 animators worked in production studios, ad agencies, academic institutions, and computer design firms throughout the state of Iowa. Across the nation, employment in the animation (and multi-media) industry is expected to grow by 14 percent for the 2008-2018 decade. This is higher than all occupations in the “artists and related workers” industry. At 12 percent, art directors are second in employment growth, followed by fine artists at 9 percent.

As of May 2009, the mean annual wage for animators overall was $62,810 per year. The lowest paid animators earned $32,360 per year and the highest paid animators earned $99,130 per year. As of May 2009, animators in the state of Iowa earned a mean salary of $50,360 per year.

The highest paying states for animators are:

  • California ($76,010 per year)
  • Maryland ($66,850 per year)
  • Washington  ($64,840 per year)
  • New York ($62,150 per year)

Animation Career Opportunities in Iowa

Aspiring animators interested in working in the film and video industries may find employment at the following Iowa animation studios:

  • ChromaVantage, Cedar Falls
  • Effective Digital Presentations (EDP), Davenport
  • Right Purdy Pictures, Cedar Rapids
  • Yung Design Group, Clive

Aspiring animators interested in working in the advertising and marketing may find employment at:

  • Flynn Wright, Des Moines
  • Hellman Associates, Inc., Waterloo
  • Mathis, Earnest & Vandeventer, Cedar Falls
  • McCormick Advertising, Des Moines
  • The Meyocks Group, Des Moines

If you would like to teach animation courses, there are many Iowa community colleges to choose from that have courses, certificate programs, or associate degree programs. Community colleges such as Eastern Iowa Community College in Davenport, and Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville are just a few options.

Iowa Animation Training Programs

Iowa has a number of schools that offer animation programs or a concentration in animation. These include:

  • Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
  • Ashford University, Clinton (Computer Graphic Design, Animation Track)
  • Loras College, Dubuque (Integrated Visual Arts with Animation Studies)
  • Eastern Iowa Community College, Davenport
  • Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville

More Animation related programs to consider:  

To get started on a career in animation, you can begin by choosing one of the following degree programs:

  • Animation
  • Multi-media art
  • Computer science with a focus in animation or multi-media art
  • Fine art with a focus in animation
  • Advertising with a focus in animation

In addition to offering a degree in animation or multi-media art, some of the schools listed in this article offer degrees in the related fields mentioned above.

SOURCE: May 2009 BLS State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,

2008-18. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm