Animators are storytellers. A Studio Animator is tasked with designing storyboards that will be developed into animated film and TV content. A Special Effect Animator or Gaming Animator generates the visual effects and characters in movies, Television shows, or video games. Some Animators may choose to work with background design, the technical side of Animation, or even prop creation.
Animators utilize hand-drawing techniques, electronic applications, as well 3D modeling programs to help bring their characters and stories to life. An on-campus or online animation degree provides students with the academic backdrop for them to develop their creative skills
According to the BLS – the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators for 2020 was is $77,700. The projected job growth for professional animators is anticipated to be 4% through 2029, which is about average compared to all occupations in the United States. If you are interested, now is a great time to think about earning a degree in Animation. Below is our list of Top 10 Online Degrees in Animation.
|#1. New Mexico State University||A.S. in Creative Media|
|#2. University of Florida||B.A. in Digital Arts and Sciences (BADAS)|
|#3. Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design||B.F.A. in 2D – 3D Animation|
|#4. Academy of Art University (AAU)||A.A. in Animation & Visual Effect|
|#5. Savannah College of Art and Design||B.F.A. in Animation|
|#6. Miami International University of Art & Design||B.F.A. in Media Arts and Animation|
|#7. University of Advancing Technology (UAT)||B.A. in Game Art & Animation|
|#8. Rasmussen’s University||B.A. in Graphic Design with Animation special.|
|#9. The Los Angeles Film School||B.S. in Animation|
|#10. University of Hawaii West O’ahu||B.A. in Creative Media|
1. New Mexico State University
|Out-of-State per Credit: $366.90||Accreditation: HLC|
The New Mexico State University Associate of Applied Science in Creative Media online degree prepares students for entry-level work in the media industry. During the two year degree, students will build communication skills, project management, and computer skills to transfer to other media-related jobs, including digital and Graphic Design, Animation, and Gaming.
New Mexico State University Online offers over sixty fully online Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees for students who need flexibility in an online program. NMSU also offers over 500 courses and certificates from the five NMSU system campuses in Carlsbad, Alamogordo, Grants, Grants, and Las Cruces. NMSU Online classes and programs offer the same curriculum as the campus-based programs and meet the same institutional requirements. NMSU online programs are fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Individual programs often hold additional program accreditation from a professional accrediting
2. University of Florida
|Out-of-State per Credit: $552.62||Accreditation: SCAS COC|
The University of Florida Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences (BADAS) online degree program prepares students for careers in Animation. The BADAS degree teaches students the technical and critical thinking skills coveted by employers in the entertainment, communications, and technology sectors.
BADAS students learn design basics, production, game design, programming, and Animation. Students also gain experience working in project-based classes on teams. The FSU Digital Arts degree is well suited for students who want to work as 2D/3DAnimators, Motion Graphics Animators, or Game Designers. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design
|Out-of-State per Credit: $544.00||Accreditation: HLC|
The Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMcaD) Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in 2D Animation, 3D Animation can be earned entirely online. The Online Animation program emphasizes 2D or 3D Animation and focuses on helping students develop their artistic voice. Students learn essential animation tools and techniques and collaborate with other animators and students.
The Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) is an art and design school founded in 1963 by Philip Steele. The for-profit school’s 23-acre campus is located in Lakewood, Colorado, and has a National Historic District designation. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1 for on-campus classes and 14:1 for online courses. Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It is a North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) member. RMCAD is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
4. Academy of Art University (AAU)
|Out-of-State per Credit: $928.53||Accreditation: WSCUC|
The Academy of Art University Associate of Arts (AA) Degree in Animation & Visual Effects is offered online. The School of Animation & Visual Effects AA program offers students a strong introduction to the core principles of animation production. Course offerings include visual effects, 3D animation, 3D modeling, 2D animation and stop motion, and storyboarding.
Located in San Francisco, California, the Academy of Art University (AAU) is a private for-profit art school. It was founded in 1929 as the Academy of Advertising Art and presently claims to be the largest privately-owned art and design school in the United States. The Academy of Art University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), one of the seven regional associations that accredit public and private colleges and schools in the United States.
5. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
|Out-of-State per Credit: $835.00||Accreditation: SACS COC|
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Animation online degree is offered through SCAD’ s School of Digital Media. Minors in Animation are also offered to students and require twenty-five credits. The Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (BFA) in Animation teaches students to master 2-D, 3-D, Stop-motion, Digital Modeling, Rigging, Lighting, and Look Development. Students in the program will collaborate with students in other majors and can take electives classes from different majors. The same faculty teach online courses as SCAD’s on-campus classes. Courses are offered on a ten-week schedule and fully enrolled eLearning students have access to various free tools and software to use.
SCAD was founded in 1978 and has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France. The school is home to nearly 13,000 students from almost 50 states and 115 countries. The school offers more than 40 majors and 60-plus minors, including Animation, one of the school’s top majors. Graduates of SCAD’s animation programs have taken jobs at Disney Animation Studios and Digital Domain.
6. Miami International University of Art & Design
|Out-of-State per Credit: $535.00||Accreditation: HLC|
Students can earn the Miami International University Global Campus Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Media Arts and Animation online degree in 12 quarters. MIU Global Campus is a fully online learning modality offered through Miami International University of Art & Design. Students must complete with 180 quarter credit in subjects like the principles of Animation, perspective drawing, character development, and human anatomy.
The online program teaches students the skills needed to secure employment in the industry. Students are mentored by faculty and instructed to create a standout portfolio. MIU is located in downtown Miami encompasses a diverse population representing all walks of life and cultures from over 60 countries. The school is part of the Art Institutes, a school system dedicated to preparing students to pursue creative careers.
7. University of Advancing Technology (UAT)
|Out-of-State per Credit: $831.66||Accreditation: HLC|
The University of Advancing Technology Bachelors in Arts in Game Art & Animation Online Degree is one of the best online animation degrees. The program teaches students to create 2D and 3D art for video game platforms and master all levels of video game development. Each student has a UAT-Online Team for dedicated support through graduation.
The UAT BA in Animation degree can be earned in less than three years. Online students take five-week modules that you take one at a time. They take 3 classes per semester for a total of 15 weeks per semester. Each class lasts 5 weeks, and they are taken one at a time. Standard degree credit completion pace in 2.67 years compared to a four-year bachelor’s degree. The degree requires a total of 120 credit hours for graduation. UAT charges a flat rate for tuition, with no difference for in-state or out-of-state students.
8. Rasmussen University
|Out-of-State per Credit: $831.66||Accreditation: HLC|
The Rasmussen University Bachelor’s in Graphic Design with a specialization in Animation and Motion Graphics is degree designed to be completed in 36 months. The program combines hands-on experience with technical industry knowledge to prepare students for the rapidly changing field. Students can take this program entirely online. They can also enroll in Rasmussen’s Flex Choice program, which combines online and traditional courses.
Rasmussen College was founded in 1900 by Walter Rasmussen to meet the needs of the growing business class. Its first campus was located in St. Paul, Minnesota, starting as the Rasmussen Practical School of Business. Ever since its founding, the college has focused on providing higher education to prepare students to thrive in their future careers. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
9. The Los Angeles Film School (LAFS)
|Out-of-State per Credit: $320.00||Accreditation: HLC, BPPE|
The Los Angeles Film School Bachelor of Science in Animation online degree has concentrations students can choose from. These concentrations build on the 12 principles of animation and focus on a student’s specific interests in Visual Effects or Game Art.
Located in Los Angels, California, The Los Angeles Film School (LAFS) is a for-profit college. The school opened in May 1999 with an inauguration ceremony led by Oliver Stone. LAFS offers associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in majors relating to the entertainment industry and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
10. University of Hawaii – West O’ahu
|Out-of-State per Credit: $441.00||Accreditation: ACBSP|
The University of Hawaii West O’ahu Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media degree with a concentration in General Creative Media is offered online via distance education. The program is a degree completion program for students who have completed coursework in the UH system and reside on the islands.
The program focuses on producing and distributing content across all major media platforms, including audio recordings and on-location video. Graduates learn interviewing techniques, communicate concepts and ideas, collaborate on media projects, and produce a professional portfolio. University of Hawaii West O’ahu is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
What are Career Options with an Online Animation Degree?
Skilled animators will find diverse animator career path options across sectors and industries. Graduates of online animation degree programs will find rewarding animator career path opportunities from small privately-owned design firms to large-scale production companies. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the BLS, notes that more than 65,000 special effects artists & animators were working in the United States during 2019.
With an online animation degree, you may decide to remain within the animation field by vying for a position that would include Design, storyboarding, or 2D/3D animation. Still, other online animation degree holders may choose careers in visual effects or dive deep into advertising or Graphic Design. Holding an undergraduate online animation degree prepares students for these animator career path options.
- Graphic Design
- Movie Making
- Video Game Illustration
- Website Development
With further, more specialized training or professional certifications, animators can also choose somewhat more unconventional business marketing or forensic science careers, for example. Suppose you are hoping to earn an online animation degree. In that case, the good news is that most animation work is done digitally, which offers a seamless fit for online coursework. And while an online animation student will not be in a traditional classroom, they will receive the critical hands-on training required – all online and in a convenient and flexible format. Other career paths available for animation graduates include the following areas:
- Advertising & Marketing – animators working in these industries will create and produce animated ads.
- Graphic Design & Illustration – animators working in these industries will create comic books, comic strips, brand designs, and end-consumer products, among many other items.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators for 2020 was is $77,700, which translates to $37.36 per hour. The projected job growth for professional animators is anticipated to be 4% through 2019, which is about average compared to all occupations in the United States. The following represents the percentile of salaries for special effects artists & animators for May 2020
|Percentile of Salary (%)||Online Animation Degree Salary|
|10%||$ 42,390 per year|
|25%||$ 56,890 per year|
|Median – 50%||$ 77,700 per year|
|75%||$ 108,640 per year|
|90%||$ 142,750 per year|
The majority of available animation-related jobs require job applicants to hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Animation. The following offers a list of similar occupations to animating professionals and their relative salaries.
|Animator Occupation Alternative||Median 2020 Salary|
|Art Directors||$ 97,270 per year|
|Craft/Fine Artists||$ 49,120 per year|
|Film & Video Editors/Camera Ops||$ 61,900 per year|
|Graphic Designers||$ 53,380 per year|
|Producers/Directors||$ 76,400 per year|
|Digital Designers & Web Developer||$ 77,200 per year|
What will I learn in an Online Animation Degree program?
Online animation degree candidates are taught by animation industry professionals and cover a wide variety of classes that will include:
- The Principles of Basic Animation
- Background & Character Design
- Camera Direction
- Story Boarding
- Time Management
- Computer Literacy
- Managing a Pre & Post Production Pipeline
- Industry Standard Software classes on Adobe Creative Cloud, Toon Boom, or Autodesk Maya.
In addition to exploring the basics of theoretical knowledge & practical skills, an on-campus or online animation degree program will also offer degree candidates varying networking opportunities. Students enrolled in an online animation degree program will also have the opportunity to attend industry conferences and networking events.
Because Animation is a growing career and it also pays well, now is a a great time to think about earning an Online Degree in Animation! Check out this article on How Do I Become an Animator?