What degree do I need to be an Animator?

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Are you a doodler? A notebook-carrying sketcher of everyday things? Did you make it to adult hood but never got over the joy cartooning gives you? Well, you don’t have to! Why don’t you look into becoming an Animator?

Animators sketch and draw by hand as well as with computers. Ultimately they set them up sequentially and arrange them in such a way as to bring them to life with movement.

To learn these skills, you will need to find a degree program at the associate or bachelor level, depending on your final goals.


Your post-secondary training will be made up of a variety of course such as the following:

  • 3D and 2D programming
  • computer graphics
  • digital animation
  • story structure
  • modeling
  • sound and video editing
  • drawing
  • kinematics
  • gaming design
  • storyboard design
  • sequential art
  • scripting

After the proper coursework, you will will have to start building up your portfolio. Your portfolio is a key component in finding work after your training. A class in marketing might also be helpful as you will essentially be trying to sell your talent to design studios and any business skills you acquire along the way will only be more beneficial for your career.

Job Expectations

After graduation, students of Animation programs can apply for jobs in a variety of places. These are the most common:

  • advertising firms
  • public relation firms
  • motion picture and video production companies
  • software publishers
  • computer design companies

This is a creative position; you will also need to stay on the cutting edge of technology as the computer may be an Animator’s most important tool. Animators can expect to work in offices or studios, usually Monday through Friday business hours unless you choose to freelance. Freelancing gives you the opportunity to work from home and make your own hours. Either way, you should know you may be faced with hard deadlines and your normal office hours will be compromised if that is the case. Most often that will be if you chose to work for a production house and a project deal needs to close based on your needed work.


According to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), Multimedia Artist and Animators held about 69k jobs in 2012. 57% of them were self-employed. About 13% work for motion picture and video industries, the rest work at a mix of advertising, design or computer software firms.

BLS, states the median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was over $62k in May of 2012. Motion picture and video industries paying on average the highest of all possible industries. BLS also projects this field to grow by about 6% from 2012 to 2022. Job growth may be slow as companies try to save money on animation by hiring workers overseas and paying lower wages outside the United States.

This is still a field to watch as an increased demand for high quality graphics will be needed for mobile devices. Mobile devices are at a boom, and that may not have been figured in growth projection statistics. Multimedia Artists and Animators will have these needed skills to create this animation.