Careers in Animation: Articles on Employment Trends, Salary Trends, Types of Jobs & Education/Training Requirements

Programs to consider:

Our 2016 rankings of the Top 25 Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 500 undergraduate and graduate programs, and over 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. Program offerings for aspiring game designers are offered through several colleges and schools including the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences - Interactive Media & Games Division (in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts) and the Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science.

The Interactive Media & Games Division offers a BA in Interactive Entertainment, an intensive three-year MFA in Interactive Media, and Minors in Game Design and Game Entrepreneurism. According to USC, the MFA program “draws on the strengths of the School of Cinematic Arts, including Game Design, Animation, Sound Production, Screenwriting, Producing and Critical Studies, bringing these resources together in a vibrant community of innovative digital media practice.” 

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Game Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, the University of Southern California is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. USC Games offers four degree programs and four minors for aspiring game designers. School of Cinematic Arts degrees include a BA in Interactive Entertainment and an MFA in Interactive Media. Viterbi School of Engineering degrees include a BS in Computer Science (Games) and an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development. Minors include Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Design, and Game Entrepreneurism.

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Top 100 Most Influential

After eight years of writing about video games, I wanted to take the pulse of the game industry. I organized this list with the criteria for influence being: how long since a studio’s last release, how many releases they had in 2013 and 2014 combined, how many copies were sold, how many people still play their games today, what do they have coming out in the near future, how unique are their games, and how much competition from other studios do they have?

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Japanese animation (Anime) dates back to as early as 1917 when animation historians say Jun'ichi Kouchi released Namakura Gatana. The two-minute silent film tells the story of a samurai’s purchase of a new sword that he quickly discovers is already dull.

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Gaming is a global, multibillion dollar a year industry that attracts more than 155 million Americans alone. Most of these players are adults. In fact, according to the most recent data by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the average game player is 35 years old. A whopping 27% are 50 and over.

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Did you know that film & video and advertising are not the only career options for animators? Sure, film is the most popular career for animators and yes, it can be exciting, glamorous, and fun, but animators are in high demand in a number of truly unique career fields, and the pay is often higher.

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Count to sixty. By the time you’re finished, some 600 Japanese animated videos will have been downloaded from the Internet. That’s the equivalent of six million copies a week. Anime is so popular in Japan (and around the world) that a Japan Times headline read, “Anime makes Japan superpower,” and in 2008 the Japanese government appointed an anime character, Doraemon, an “ambassador” with special responsibility for promoting Japanese culture overseas.

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Disney is one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.

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Landing an animation internship at one of the world’s best animation studios would be a dream come true for any animation student. But scoring an opportunity at one of the top animation studios in Japan? Well that’s just another layer of icing on the cake. While a local internship is an excellent resume builder, and it can even turn into a permanent position, now more than ever before employers value global experience in a potential candidate. And this is true in just about every progressive industry—including animation. 

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Connecticut is one of the nation’s oldest states, which means it is home to a number of “firsts.” The very first ‘Made in America’ cigars originated here, as well as the first color TV,  the nation’s first law school, the first telephone book, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first commercial U.S. telephone exchange. Connecticut is also one of the few states that continues to publish more than 144 different newspapers and it runs the oldest newspaper in America—the Hartford (est. 1764).

The state is a leader when it comes to innovation and accepting new ideas, so it’s not surprising that Connecticut is also home to an active film office that offers excellent incentives for digital animation production companies. This attracts productions from all over the U.S., which means opportunity for aspiring animators. Just a few Connecticut production studios include Blue Sky Studios, Greenwich; Sono Studios, Norwalk; Connecticut Film Center, Stamford; Palace Production Center, South Norwalk; P&P Studios, Inc., Stamford, and Televerse Studios, Stamford.  A 495,000+/- square feet production studio with nine soundstages (175,000 square feet) is also in the works. If all goes well, Connecticut Studios will be located at the intersection of I-291 and Route 5 in South Windsor.

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