How to Become an Animator


Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you to become an animator depends on the industry and company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions need an bachelors degree in fine art,  animation, computer animation, or graphic design. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a master’s degree along with internship experience and earning a specific certificates from companies like Adobe can help you stand out in the hiring process.

Begin your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited schools below that offer programs to help get you started as a animator.

How Much Does an Animator Make? 
$61,370 (national median salary, to view salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+4,300 additional people employed

Specialization Options:
Sketch drawing, storyboarding, color artist, graphic design, and computer animation

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Multimedia Artist and Animator page) 

The Best Places to Become an Animator

Animators hold 66,500 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And 59% of workers were self-employed. Many work from home and others work for motion picture or video game studios.

The industries employing the most animators are as follows:

  • Motion picture and video industries 11%
  • Software publishers 5%
  • Computer systems design and related services 5%
  • Advertising, public relations, and related services 5%

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top states employing animators and multimedia artists include:

  • California (10,300 employed)
  • New York (2,920 employed)
  • Washington (2,080 employed)
  • Texas (1,820 employed)
  • Illinois (1,350 employed)

Employment and Information Data for Animation

Why Become an Animator

The continued growth of the video game, movie and television industries will also spur an 8% growth of jobs for animators over the next several years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In today’s wired world, you may no longer have to wait for a pack of matches to find the best animation school for you. No, instead the proliferation of platforms to practice a career in animation has extended the ranks of the profession, as well as the places you can find a good program.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become an Animator

  • Visual design
  • Animation
  • 3D Animation
  • History of animation
  • History of cinema
  • Screenwriting
  • Illustration
  • Editing
  • Figure drawing
  • 3D Design and modeling

Degree Options for Animation Careers

Animation degree programs are offered at a variety of schools including art schools, technical schools, and many traditional colleges – and, depending on which type of school you decide on, there will be a broad range of degree levels to choose from for students interested in advancing their career in animation. These degree levels include:

Certificate Degree Programs
A certificate program provides a foundation for the beginning graphic designer. The framework of the program allows students to explore different aspects of graphic design while learning about theory and technology.

Associate’s Degree Programs
These programs offer a more in-depth course of study that generally fits students with some college background. The program typically is one to two-years and designed to prepare students for a career in animation.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Animator (and multimedia arts) programs offer students the opportunity to learn skills and production tools needed to produce professional-level products in a wide range of creative fields.