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

Programs to consider:

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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Sowing the seeds of a new online animation school is not exactly an easy or quick endeavor. It takes commitment, time and guts. It also takes patience while you build a curriculum, attract students, and graduate them. None of that deterred veteran animator Garth Drake who took the leap to teach character animation the way he knew worked best.

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Just an hour’s drive north of Edinburgh, Scotland, sits the seaside city of Dundee- a major player in the UK’s digital entertainment industry and birthplace of Grand Theft Auto. It’s also home to Abertay University which offered the world’s very first computer games degree and is recognized as a global leader in the field.

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Animation Careers in Idaho Overview

Idaho is home to a small film office that attracts a fair number of filmmakers looking stunning scenery, nice incentives, and hassle-free access to sites. According to the Idaho Film Office, most cities in the state do not require film permits. This saves filmmakers time and money. Crews are available too and “they’ve got a broad range of production skills and friendly, can-do attitudes,” says the Office. What all of this means is, the state just might be a good place for aspiring directors and producers of all kinds—including those that specialize in animation. 

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Animation Careers in Vermont Overview 

Vermont is home to a population of 5,250 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. The ADESM group consists of animators and multimedia artists, art directors, illustrators, commercial designers, public relations directors, film and video, interior designers, or photographers and more. Aspiring animators may find Vermont appealing thanks to film festivals such as the Sevincer/Brattleboro Animation Festival, the Green Mountain Film Festival, and the Vermont International Film Festival. The state is also home to a very active arts council—the Vermont Arts Council, and a variety of creative agencies and studios such as Dreamlike Pictures, FUSE and Shadow Productions. 

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Animation Careers in Hawaii Overview 

Hawaii is famous for stunning scenery, breathtaking sunsets, historic sites and natural wonders you just won’t find anywhere else. These are just a few reasons why filmmakers have flocked to Hawaii to shoot blockbuster films such as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, The Descendants, Tropic Thunder, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Survivor, Hawaii Five-0, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Because Hollywood makes frequent trips to Hawaii and the Hawaii Film Office welcomes it with open arms, the film scene here is a healthy one. This means there are opportunities for people that work in all areas of film and video, this includes animation.

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Animation Careers in Missouri Overview

Missouri is home to the Missouri Film Office, which is dedicated to the promotion and development of film production and facilities. So far so good. Through incentives, easy access to more than 1,100 locations, and help hiring talent and crew, the Film Office has attracted more than 122 productions since 2000 and the industry is growing. In fact, just 43 films were shot in Missouri in the 1990s.

Other promising developments over the years include a six Missouri cities that now hold a total of 26 film festivals annually, around 30 colleges and universities that offer degree specialties in film studies and/or production skills, with more than 75 teaching professionals involved in the instruction, and more than 36 production and post-production companies throughout the state, one-fourth of which are full-service facilities offering animation, special effects and sound effects.

Further, 11 percent of the state’s motion media industry is made up of occupations that are high-tech—this includes digital animation and other types of Computer Graphic Images (CGI) creation. 

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ACR’s new interview series Women in Animation spotlights the work of women in the fields of animation, multimedia and game design. For over a century, women have influenced generations of animators and audiences, bringing their own perspectives and dedication to the craft. This series follows the work of this generation’s women animators and brings you their voices.

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Animation Careers in Minnesota Overview

The folks at the Minnesota Film and Television Board are always busy. This bustling film office has its hands full managing more than 10,000 filming locations, the “Snowbate” program, which allows filmmakers to apply for reimbursement of 20 to 25 percent cash back on production expenditures, a hotline for cast and crew, and a large production directory. Thanks to all of its hard work, the Board attracts productions of all kinds to the state—including animated productions. 

In addition to the film industry, aspiring animators in Minnesota will find ample opportunities to work at literally hundreds of creative agencies, design companies, PR firms, and more. Technology is another active industry here, Minnesota is home to more than 1,000 computer design and information technology firms), as well as game design and development. Interested in teaching part-time? Minnesota is home to around 113 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities (including several dozen community colleges) and nearly 2,500 elementary and secondary institutions.

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