Animation is one of the most exciting career fields in the art and design industry. It also offers one of the highest salaries. Animators earned a median annual wage of $63,970 in 2015, with top earners averaging more than $113,600. Certain industries, specialized areas or high-level positions could pay even more than the median. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists software publishers and other information services among the top five highest paying industries for animators. Average earnings are $76,920 and $82,940, respectively.
The size of the global animation industry was $244 billion in 2015. Major contributors are the U.S., UK, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, and Korea. Besides being home so some of the world’s largest animation studios, these countries are known for their exceptional art and design schools.
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.
Just about every degree program available offers the opportunity to enhance the degree by adding a minor, concentration or electives to match students’ career goals. For example, students interested in cinema and computer animation rather than traditional animation might choose a degree in Cinema Art and Science with a Concentration in Animation.
Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Washington. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
University of Washington (UW) offers several programs for aspiring animators through the school’s Computer Science & Engineering Department (UW CSE). Options include BS degrees in Computer Science or Engineering, and a PhD or Professional Master’s Program (PMP) in Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). All programs offer heavy animation coursework and access to the department’s three main labs (The Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), the Center for Game Science, and the Animation Research Labs) dedicated to research in the areas of Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Science, Vision, and Visualization.
Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Texas. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University is home to the College of Architecture, which offers programs for animators at all degree levels. Options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. According to the school, “Animation studies at Texas A&M are part of a broader curriculum offered at the Department of Visualization that produces graduates who prepare for success in a wide range of visualization-related fields by developing artistic and technical expertise.” These interdisciplinary programs focus on the processes of “creation, design and development of the visual experience,” and prepare students to work in animation, technical animation, illustration, and many other areas.
Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Tennessee. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) College of Media and Entertainment, Department of Electronic Media Communication, offers a BS in Animation and Mass Communication with Concentrations in Electronic Media Communication, which includes two Specialties: Electronic Media Production (video and film production) and Electronic Media Management (media management). An MS In Media and Communication is also available, and it allows students to choose six hours of approved Animation Electives.
Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Pennsylvania. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home to the College of Fine Art, School of Art, which offer a BFA in Electronic and Time-Based Media with a Focus in Animation and a Bachelor’s in Integrative Design, Arts & Technology (IDeATe) with a Concentration in Animation & Special Effects. According to CMU, “the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network connects students and faculty from across the university through coursework and collaborative studio experiences.” It allows students from every college to take minors or concentrations in Animation, Special Effects, Game Design, and more.
Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Ohio. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University (OSU) is home to the College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Department of Art. The Department offers interdisciplinary three-year MFA and four-year BFA programs in Art with an Emphasis Art and Technology. The Art and Technology emphasis allows students to study 3D Modeling and Animation, Art Games, Digital Imaging, Internet Art, and more. Because courses are interdisciplinary in nature, students come from many areas ranging from Art, Design, and Film Studies to Biosciences, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Computer Information Sciences.