15 Best Online Animation Degrees
If you’re interested in pursuing an animation career, you can enroll into an online animation degree program that will give you the skills and credits required to earn a job in this profession. Many colleges and universities offer online animation degrees. Obtaining one of them gives you the opportunity to enter the graphic design, television, movie, or gaming industry. In this guide, you’ll learn about 15 of the best online animation degrees available to you.
What is an Animation Degree?
If you’re looking to start a career in animation, you’ll need to first obtain a degree related to animation from an accredited college or university. There are many institutions that offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. When you’re searching for animation degrees online, keep in mind that there are some degree specializations you should consider.
While you can enter a degree program that focuses on all types of animation, a more specialized degree program allows you to choose a career path early on. A couple of the more common animation specializations include game design and computer animation.
If you enter a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Animation or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Animation, you’ll learn about motion effects, 2D and 3D animation, and visual software applications. Once you graduate with this degree, you can apply for a position as a creative artist in the animation industry.
Who Needs an Online Animation Degree?
If you’re a creative person who enjoys drawing, painting, or working with artistic software, you can start a career in animation by earning an online degree in this field. Whether you’re looking to become an animator or special effects artist, most employers require a bachelor’s degree in animation, fine arts, or computer graphics.
Once you earn your degree, you can take your skills to many different industries. Along with video and television, animators are also regularly hired for marketing campaigns. With an animation degree, you may have the skills necessary to become a filmmaker, illustrator, or storyboard artist as well.
Salary and Job Prospects for Animation Degree Graduates
Once you’ve obtained your degree, you can start looking for a job. If you’re just out of college, you likely won’t have much experience. However, you can bolster your resume and improve your chances of landing a job by highlighting any internship experience you have while also showing your portfolio of work.
There are numerous career opportunities available to people who earn an animation degree. For example, you can become a video game designer. In this role, you might be tasked with creating and animating characters. You’ll also write code with various programming languages to ensure the characters animate properly.
Another option at your disposal involves forensic animation, which uses full-motion computer graphics to effectively display events. For example, forensic animators may be tasked with recreating automobile accidents based on different data points. The animations may be used during court proceedings.
Likely the most popular career choice for people with animation degrees is to become a storyboard artist. If you want to animate for a living but don’t wish to work in video games, you can create storyboards instead, which are visual representations that directors use when making a film. When creating a storyboard, you can recommend different forms of lighting, camera angles, color schemes, and props to the director.
The median salary for people with animation degrees is highly varied and depends on the specific job you obtain. For example, application software developers tend to make a higher annual salary than freelance graphic arts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that special effects artists and animators earn just under $99,000 per year.
Salaries with an Animation Degree
15 Best Online Animation Degrees
There are many fantastic degree programs you can enter when you’re looking to become an animator. This guide details 15 of the best online animation degrees. The curriculum for each of the following programs is 100% online, which means that you won’t need to complete any coursework on campus. You can review our methodology for ranking programs here.
1. University of Florida – BA in Digital Arts & Sciences
The BA in Digital Arts & Sciences from the University of Florida allows students to learn about animation, programming, game design, and similar fields of study. Your coursework will cover 2D and 3D computer animation. You’ll gain 120 credits by completing this degree program.
2. Southern New Hampshire University – BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts
The BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts from Southern New Hampshire University focuses on cultivating each student’s creative skills by helping them learn many different types of artistic techniques. When a student enters this program, they can select one of many concentrations, which include everything from web design to 3D modeling and animation. The curriculum in this degree program also centers around designing wireframe 3D models, interactive animation, digital sculpting, and animating character functions. You’ll receive 120 credits when you finish this course.
3. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design – BA in Animation
The BA in Animation from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a degree program that focuses entirely on animation and how it uses 2D and 3D art. Students will learn about the basic components of character design, storyboarding, and modeling. They’ll also discover how to bring their designs to life by animating them with numerous techniques. The coursework helps students understand how to collaborate with fellow artists, which is a crucial aspect of building a successful career in the animation industry.
4. Savannah College of Art and Design – BA or BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development
You can obtain a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Interactive Design and Game Development from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Both of these programs allow you to start a career in the animation industry while completing all coursework online.
Along with learning the basics of animation and design, you’ll also be able to send in and display your creative works at various showcases. This college provides students with ample resources, which include everything from digital workstations to high-end motion capture systems. You’ll learn about animated storytelling and technical animation as well. You can complete the course with 180 credit hours of study.
5. Baker College – BS in Game Software Development
The BS in Game Software Development from Baker College is an animation degree that should help you land a career in the gaming industry. You’ll learn how to create conceptual designs and how to finalize a new project. Even though this program gives you the skills needed to become an animator, it also teaches you about every stage of game development.
6. George Mason University – BFA in Computer Game Design
The BFA in Computer Game Design from George Mason University is a comprehensive program that provides curriculum about the practical application and technical components of game design theory. This program has received accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
7. Franklin University – BS in Interactive Media Design
The BS in Interactive Media Design from Franklin University is a four-year degree program that’s 100% online and provides courses that last from six to 12 weeks. Students receive 24 hours of technical credit when completing this program. They’ll also learn how to create interactive solutions that are needed during the whole development lifecycle. The curriculum covers everything from front-end development to graphic design.
8. Academy of Art University – BFA in Animation and Visual Effects
The BFA in Animation and Visual Effects at the Academy of Art University is a program that helps students learn about 2D and 3D animation as well as visual effects and storyboarding. You can take this course at your own pace. Along with animation skills, you should also develop time management and collaboration skills.
9. Lynn University – MS in Digital Media
The MS in Digital Media from Lynn University is a master-level degree program that allows you to enhance your skills and earn a better job within the animation industry. It covers every facet of digital media, which includes animation, motion graphics, design theories, and digital photography. During your studies, you’ll also become familiar with the most advanced design software. Completing this program gives you 37 credits.
10. Los Angeles Film School – BS in Animation
The BS in Animation from the Los Angeles Film School centers around the 12 main principles of animation that are employed at Disney and other studios. Students will discover how to apply these principles to the animations they make. The three concentrations that you’ll gain access to include computer graphics, character animation, and environment and character design.
11. University of Advancing Technology – BA in Game Art and Animation
The BA in Game Art and Animation program from the University of Advancing Technology is an online degree that teaches you about all aspects of game development. The main areas of focus within the curriculum include creating animation assets and making 2D and 3D art. You’ll also learn about how to create games across many platforms, which include mobile, console, PC, and virtual reality.
12. Wilmington University – BS in Animation and 3D
The BS in Animation and 3D from Wilmington University is a program that focuses on critical skill sets, the primary of which include 3D sculpting, hand-drawn animation, and 2D and 3D digital animation. Some of the courses you’ll take during your studies include:
- Introduction to 3D
- 2D Animation
- Drawing for Animation
- History of Animation
By the end of the degree program, you should have extensive graphic design, compositing, and computer animation skills.
13. National University – BA in Digital Media Design
The BA in Digital Media Design from National University is an online program that offers the latest digital tools to students who enroll. You’ll learn how to use these tools in a wide range of fields, which include marketing, entertainment, business, and education. The coursework involves applying the primary principles of graphic design, using video and sound to improve animation, and creating interactive content with graphics and animation. Completing the course gives you 180 quarter units.
14. New Mexico State University – BFA in Animation
The BFA in Animation from New Mexico State University is a four-year program that provides two pathways that students can enter. You can take either the 2D Production Studio pathway or the 3D & VFX Production Studio pathway. The choice you make determines the type of senior project you’ll be tasked with creating. This degree program includes a comprehensive animation curriculum.
15. Biola University – BFA in Art-Animation
The BFA in Art-Animation from Biola University is a program that helps students develop conceptual, technical, and aesthetic skills. The skills you learn should prepare you for a job in the animation industry. Your coursework will cover digital tools, drawing, 2D design, 3D design, and 4D design. You’ll also learn about the culture surrounding contemporary visual arts. Completing this course gives you 72 credits.
The admission requirements to enroll into an online animation degree program differ depending on the college or university you attend. Make sure you provide the college with your application, letters of recommendation, and high school transcripts. You should also have a portfolio of animation or artwork that you’ve made in the past.
Make sure to include a personal statement with your application. This statement should cover your educational interests, career goals, and personal accomplishments. People who enter an undergraduate program must have a minimum weighted GPA of 2.0-3.0 to be approved.
Why an Online Program?
There are many reasons why you should consider entering an online animation degree program, the primary of which is that many of these degrees give you the opportunity to complete coursework on your preferred timeline.
When earning a bachelor’s degree, you could follow the standard pace that allows you to finish your coursework in four years. You could also take part in an accelerated timeline that allows you to graduate in just 2.5 years. Online programs give you more flexibility in where you live during the school year. You won’t need to stay on campus, which provides you with more freedom.
When you’re searching for the right degree program to enter, make sure you select an accredited one. Regional accreditation is necessary to show future employers that the education you received was legitimate and matched certain standards. A degree from an unaccredited university likely won’t be accepted by your potential employer.
Before you apply, make sure you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be done online. If you qualify for aid, you can effectively reduce your annual tuition. A few additional options that can help you pay for your tuition include state aid, loans, and scholarships.
Earning an online animation degree gives you the opportunity to gain new skills and start a career in this industry. Even entry-level jobs can offer reasonable salaries and the potential to receive promotions to higher-paying jobs if you display your skills. Begin your journey into the animation industry by entering one of the online programs detailed in this guide.