North Carolina is home to 139 Title IV degree-granting institutions. These schools grant an associate's degree or higher, the have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, they have signed a participation agreement with the Department, they have been in business for at least two years, and they offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length. By meeting these requirements (established by the U.S. Department of Education), North Carolina’s 139 Title IV schools are eligible for Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs. This makes them accessible to students that may need help meeting tuition costs.
Fortunately, most of North Carolina’s top schools for artists and designers are considered affordable. In fact, tuition for most of these schools is less than $15,000 per academic year for residents, and less than $25,000 per year for nonresidents. Continue reading to find out which North Carolina schools offer game design and development programs and what they cost.
Most Expensive to Least Expensive North Carolina Game Design & Development Schools
North Carolina State University, Raleigh - Tuition Cost: Undergraduate residents $8,551, nonresidents $24,902; Graduate residents $10,194, nonresidents $24,293 for the 2015-2016 school year.
University of North Carolina, Wilmington – Tuition Cost: Undergraduate residents $4,188 (full-time 12+ hours per semester), nonresidents $18,053 (full-time 12+ hours per semester); Graduate residents $4,329 (full-time 9+ hours per semester), nonresidents $16,420 (full-time 9+ hours per semester) for the 2015-2016 school year.
East Carolina University, Greenville – Tuition Cost: Undergraduate residents $3,959 (full-time 12+ hours per semester), nonresidents $19,156 (full-time 12+ hours per semester); Graduate residents $4,223 (full-time 9+ hours per semester), nonresidents $16,540 (full-time 9+ hours per semester) for the 2014-2015 school year.
More Game Design & Development related programs to consider:
- Winter Park, FL & Online
- Computer Animation - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Game Programs - Bachelor's & Master's - Online & Campus
- Graphic Design & Digital Arts - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Film & Digital Cinematography - Bachelor's & Master's - Online & Campus
- Mobile Development - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Simulation & Visualization - Bachelor's - Campus
North Carolina Game Design & Development Scene
North Carolina is home to 40,150 salaried workers in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations and 111,160 in Computer and Mathematical occupations. The state’s salaried artists average around $49,350 per year and salaried computer and mathematical professionals here average $80,550 per year. While game designers are certainly artists, most would agree that their advanced software development skills place them in the computer software development group as well.
North Carolina is home to 31,730 software developers averaging $94,130 to $104,950 per year. This is more than the national average for game designers. According to Gamasutra’s latest Game Developer Salary Survey (2014), game developers nationwide averaged $83,060 in 2013. It is important to note salaries for game designers may vary based on company, experience, employer, location (city), and more. Some of the top cities for North Carolina game designers are Raleigh, Durham, and Cary. Opportunities in these cities may be found at a variety of game studios such as:
- Epic Games, Cary
- Funcom, Durham
- Icarus Studios, Cary
- Imangi Studios, Raleigh
- NVIDIA, Durham
- Red Storm Entertainment - A Ubisoft Studio, Cary
- Virtual Heroes Inc., Raleigh
Other major cities such as Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Fayetteville may offer opportunities as well. Although small, Chapel Hill is worth looking into as well.
Awesome Animation Fact: According to IMDb, Wing Commander (1990) was the very first space simulation computer game to feature branching storylines. This means, the gamer’s choices could affect the plot for better or worse and wingmen could die at any point in the game instead of when the plot required them to.