Types of Jobs in Animation and Related Fields

Programs to consider:

Best 100 Animation Studios thumbnail

I’ve been writing about the animation industry for nearly a decade and last year I assembled the rankings for our 2014 Top 100 Most Influential Video Game Studios and 2014 Top 100 Most Influential Animation Studios. This year, I want to create a comprehensive list of the one hundred best studios to work at across all animation industries.

To help research the constantly evolving landscape of the job market, we sent surveys to hundreds of schools asking which studios actively recruited their students as well as which studios most often employed graduates. When choosing which of the hundreds of companies to include, I also considered what projects studios were working on, and even the quality of life at those studios regardless of salary. Studios are listed in alphabetical order:

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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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Animation Careers in North Carolina Overview

North Carolina has one of the most accommodating film commissions in the nation. Before January 2015, the North Carolina Film Office offered a 25 percent film incentive to productions. Today, the commission offers a grant program that rebates productions up to 25 percent of qualified expenses/purchases caped at $9 million for video television series per season, $5 million for feature films, and $250,000 for commercials. Thanks to programs such as this, North Carolina attracts productions of all kinds—including animated productions.

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Animation Careers in Michigan Overview

The State of Michigan has its fair share of creative companies that are often on the lookout for fresh talent. Some of the world’s top advertising agencies have offices in Michigan and several noted production studios are located in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Warren. Michigan is also home to dozens of colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer top-tier animation programs. 

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Animation Careers in Georgia Overview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that Georgia is home to the nation’s fifth largest population of animators and multimedia artists. Georgia has also been listed as one of America’s top five states for film production since 2008, with nine productions to its credit in 2014 alone. Films such as Oscar-nominated Selma, The Homesman, Need for Speed, The Blind Side and Fast & the Furious were filmed entirely or partially in Georgia, and the state's largest city, Atlanta, is home to the 30-acre studio complex EUE/Screen Gems Studios. The state is number two in the nation for production tax incentives, and according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the state is home to more than 30,000 working professionals in the entertainment industry alone. 

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Animation Careers in New Jersey Overview

With Newark a mere 11.4 miles from New York, New Jersey is a great place for aspiring animators that would like the option to work locally and/or in New York. While New York has a lot to offer when it comes to job opportunities for animators, New Jersey has its fair share of attractions for aspiring animators. First, the state is home to Kean University, which offers a competitive Bachelor of Art (BA) in Media & Film. The school also houses the Robert Bush School of Design, which sponsors the Kean University Animation Festival. 

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Animation Careers in Tennessee Overview

Tennessee has a lot to offer aspiring animators. The state has an active film scene, thanks to the Tennessee Film Entertainment & Music Commission, and it is home to hundreds of creative agencies and production studios. Tennessee is also home to hundreds of technology companies (one of the top five industries for animators), with more than 300 in Nashville and Memphis alone. Tennessee is also home to a large collection of schools, which is good news for animators that may be interested in teaching. The state has 109 colleges and universities to choose from as well as more than 1,800 elementary and secondary schools.

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Animation Careers in Virginia Overview

The State of Virginia is home to a number of schools that offer programs for aspiring animators. In the third or fourth year of training, many programs offer the opportunity to work at a local design studio, production company or creative agency. These internship opportunities can lead to a salaried position as an animator, with room to grow. If you are an experienced animator and you plan to move to Virginia to take advantage of what the state has to offer, you may find senior-level positions at places such as Costa+Designs in Virginia Beach, ImageWorks in Chantilly or Studio Kinate in Fairfax. 

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Animation Careers in Colorado Overview 

The population of Colorado-based animators and multimedia artists is growing. In just the past few years, the population increased from 320 to 410. And remember, these figures are just for salaried professionals. The industry as a whole consists of more self-employed animators than salaried, so Colorado is likely home to hundreds more. 

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Pennsylvania is home to a variety of colleges and universities that offer art and design programs. Just a few include the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AI Pittsburgh), which offers BS degrees in Media Arts & Animation, Game Art & Design and more, and the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), School of Computer Science (SCS). CMU SCS offers a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) program that combines game design, computer animation, computer music, recording technologies, interactive stagecraft, robotic art, and other emerging media. The program attracts students from all over the world. Besides top schools that offer quality art and design programs, Pennsylvania is home to: 

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