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

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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So you’re heading into the home stretch and it’s time to gain some real-world experience before you graduate. Good news. Your degree program will likely include an internship component that could easily lead you to any number of major game design or animation studios.

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Ever wonder how the world’s most famous animators got their start? While there will always be working animators out there who consider themselves self-taught, many successful animators have at least some formal training. Some may have a degree or two in a range of areas, while others may have completed a diploma, workshop, or apprenticeship program. Its programs such as these that led many of today’s top animators to some of the most sought after internships in the world. Others went straight to positions at some of the world’s most celebrated studios. Pixar, Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Industrial Light & Magic, and Studio Ghibli are just a few.

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Animators and Multimedia Artists held about 64,400 jobs in 2014, with a projected six percent increase in employment for the 2014-2024 decade. At a six percent increase, which is as fast as average for all occupations, the industry will add close to 4,000 new jobs in the coming years.

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Mobile apps are projected to generate around $189 billion in revenue by 2020, up from an estimated $15 billion in 2011. By 2018, the number of mobile app buyers in the U.S. is expected to reach 85 million. As of January 1, 2017, Apple’s App Store had a staggering 2.2 million available apps, and Google Play had the same number as of June 2016.

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This season, we’ve been taking a closer look at Full Sail University’s offerings in our Interview Series. Readers will recall our interview with program director Pete Bandstra that kicked it off last month. Today, we turn a spotlight on Full Sail’s Game Art bachelor’s degree program spearheaded by Chad Kendall. Prospective students of both game art and animation will want to read this one closely.

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The 1960s was a breakout decade for animated series, with some already making a name for themselves in the late 1950s. Take The Huckleberry Hound Show, for example.

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Canada has a booming animation and visual effects industry that produces thousands of animated films, commercials, and television series each year. Home to one of the largest animation studios in North America (9 Story Media Group, Toronto) and the fourth largest visual effects center in the world (Montreal), our neighbor to the north even produces some of the world’s top animators.

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