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.
New Jersey has an active arts and culture scene as well. You will find major museums such as the New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art (NJMoCA) and Princeton University Art Museum here as well as unique art venues such as WheatonArts—a 65-acre arts center featuring a glass museum, artist’s studios, and a picnic grove. Besides this, New Jersey offers:
- A number of small to mid-sized studios that welcome recent graduates
- A much lower cost of living than New York offers
- Competitive salaries for animators
In addition to the film and video industries, New Jersey animators work in advertising and public relations, education, technology, and more. Animators with an interest in teaching may find work at one of New Jersey’s 65+ colleges and universities or at one of the state's many community or county colleges.
Employment and Salary Trends for New Jersey Animators
New Jersey is home to 42,600 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations. Around 440 are salaried animators and multimedia artists. They average $64,100 per year, up from $57,780 in 2013 when the state was home to 520 multimedia artists and animators. 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 see 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 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, while 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)
Among the top ten highest paying Metropolitan Divisions for animators, the Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division has the seventh highest average salary at $76,120 per year, and the Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division offers the 10th highest average salary at $75,370 per year. The Metropolitan Division with second highest employment level for animators and multimedia artists is New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ.
In New Jersey 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 New Jersey
As mentioned, New Jersey is home to a variety of small to mid-sized production studios. The state is also home to a variety of creative agencies, 100+ technology companies, and more. Just a few employment options include:
- Burkewood Communications Corporation, Princeton
- Core Studios, Red Bank
- Drive80 Studios, Morristown
- DSM Group, Franklin Lakes
- Funline Animation and Scientific Animations, Montclair
- JK Design, Hillsborough
- Looney Advertising, Montclair
- Moore Studios, Port Norris
- Pixel Light Digital Media, Inc., Lyndhurst
- Rienzi & Rienzi Communications, Montville
- Tres 3D, Farmingdale
- Words & Pictures Creative Services, Park Ridge
In addition to the cities listed above, consider searching for opportunities in major cities such as Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and Edison.
New Jersey Animation Training Programs
Many New Jersey schools offer animation programs that have been accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Others may be regionally accredited. Degree options range from a Diploma in Cartooning to an MFA in Computer Arts. Just a few options include:
- Bloomfield College, Bloomfield - BA Creative Arts and Technology (CAT) with a Concentration in Animation, Digital Video
- The Kubert School, Dover - Diploma. This three-year accredited program prepares students for a career in cartooning and illustration
- New Jersey City University, Jersey City - MA/MFA Computer Arts
- Farleigh Dickinson University, Madison - BA Film and Animation with a Concentration in Animation or Video Game Animation, Minor in Animation
- Montclair State University , Montclair - BFA Animation/Illustration
- Kean University, Union - BFA Studio Art with Concentration in Computer/Video Art, Illustration
- William Patterson University, Wayne - BFA Art with Concentration in Computer Art and Animation
More Animation related programs to consider:
- School of the Arts - Florham Campus - Madison, NJ
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
If you are interested in earning a degree or certificate at a community college, consider Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. The school offers a 3D Animation program, an AAS in Computer Graphics (prepares students for a career in 3D Graphics and Animation), and an AAS in Digital Media Arts with a 3D Animation Concentration. Union County College in Cranford offers 3D Animation courses as well as AAS degrees in Game Design Creation and Game Design Development. According to the school, “programs introduce students to a variety of animation, programming and gaming concepts.
Awesome Animation Fact: According to IMDb, at $341.8 million, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) was the most expensive film ever made. A few animated and "kinda sorta" animated films re not too far behind. Tangled (2010) cost $281.7 million to make and Avatar (2009) (around 60% CG and 40% live action), cost $237 million to make. -IMDb