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

Written by Michelle BurtonOctober 5, 2015
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Animation Careers in Oklahoma Overview

Oklahoma is home to more than 3.8 million people and the 27th and 47th largest cities in the U.S.—Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Although the state has several cities with a population of more than 100,000, the largest two offer the liveliest arts and culture scenes. Oklahoma—the state’s largest city, is home to major art museums and centers such as the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA), the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum, and City Arts Center. Tulsa—the state’s second largest city, is home to the Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera, Cain’s Ballroom, and dozens of art museums and galleries such as Philbrook Museum of Art and Gilcrease Museum.

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Tulsa also offers a number of art walks and similar events that take place bi-weekly, monthly, or annually and the city is home to a number of galleries that showcase art of all kinds, including experimental. The Myers Gallery is one of Tulsa’s most daring. It features work by innovative artists that might not have the opportunity to display their non-traditional works. Some installations are displayed at the gallery, while others are displayed at various locations throughout the city, “in order to expand the city's exposure to contemporary art forms.” A past installation featured live works that integrated performance, animation, and video installation.

Like Myers, the artist communities in Tulsa and Oklahoma City embrace new art forms, experimentation, collaboration and more. This is good news for aspiring animators that would like to work in art, design, performance or more. Both cities as well as several others also offer the opportunity seek employment at a variety of small to mid-sized production studios, 500+ technology firms, and dozens of creative agencies. Animators interested in teaching have 60 colleges and universities to choose from as well as nearly 1,800 elementary and secondary schools. 

Employment and Salary Trends for Oklahoma Animators

Oklahoma is home to 14,120 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations. Around 80 are salaried animators and multimedia artists. They average $42,830 per year, down slightly from $44,510 in 2013 when the state was home to 60 professionals in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that overall employment growth for animators and multimedia artists will average six percent for the 2012-2022 decade. This means that the industry will add 4,300 new jobs in the coming years.

It is important to keep in mind that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” group has the second highest concentration of employment in this occupation. Further, at an average annual salary of $75,150, this group is the fourth highest paying “industry” for animators and multimedia artists.

It is also important to note that individual salaries will vary by education, experience, industry, location and more. For example, the states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas, and Georgia. The 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)

In Oklahoma and across the U.S., 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 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)

Animation Career Opportunities in Oklahoma

As mentioned, Oklahoma is home to a variety companies that hire animators and multimedia artists. Just a few options include:

  • 3Dream Studios, Tulsa
  • AcrobatAnt, Tulsa
  • Boiling Point Media, Oklahoma City
  • Creative Animation Studios, Broken Arrow (around 15 miles from Tulsa)
  • Design Tunnel, Oklahoma City
  • Forza Studios, Oklahoma City
  • Goldfire Studios, Oklahoma City
  • Insight Creative Group (ICG), Oklahoma City
  • Krush Digital, Olahoma City
  • Littlefield Brand Development, Tulsa
  • Organi Studios, Tulsa
  • Retrospec Films, Broken Arrow
  • Skyline Ink Animation Studios, Oklahoma City
  • Staplegun, Oklahoma City
  • Starbase Studios, Oklahoma City
  • Steelhouse Productions, Tulsa

In addition to Oklahoma City and Tulsa, cities such as Broken Arrow, Norman and Lawton are worth looking into.

Oklahoma Animation Training Programs

When it comes to training programs, aspiring animators in Oklahoma have a number of community colleges, technical schools, and universities to choose from. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond - BFA in Gaming and Animation and a BS in Computer Science with Gaming and Animation
  • Meridian Technology Center, Stillwater - 3D Animator and Video Game Designer Majors
  • Oklahoma State University, Okmulgee - AAS 3D Modeling & Animation
  • Rogers State University, Claremore - BFA Visual Arts (for Graphic Design, Multimedia Development and Animation industries)
  • Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, Broken Arrow - 3D Designer and 3D Gaming Designer majors

Other options worth looking into include Oklahoma City Community College (Oklahoma City), Tulsa Technology Center-Riverside Campus (Tulsa), Great Plains Technology Center (Lawton) and Chisholm Trail Technology Center (Omega).

More Animation related programs to consider:  

Awesome Animation Fact: Jackie Chan provided the voice (both speaking and singing) for the Beast in the Chinese version of Beauty and the Beast. –E! Loves