What Is the Salary of a Graduate with a Video Game Design Degree?

A recent graduate with a video game design degree may work as a video game designer or programmer. Salaries for both careers depend on your experience, employer and location. Read on to find out more about how much you can expect to earn in the video game design field. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options and Salary Info

If you hold a bachelor's or master's degree in game design and development or video game programming, you're probably hoping to work as a video game designer, developer or programmer. In order to land a job as a video game designer, you usually need a bachelor's degree in video game design or video game programming. In addition, video game developers and programmers often work long hours and face inflexible deadlines. Starting salaries for these positions vary depending on your geographical location and the company that hires you.

Video Game Designer

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for an entry-level video game designer was $49,870 in February 2014. Most entry-level professionals earned between $32,236 and $79,374, which was less than the overall salary range of $35,140-$90,725 for video game designers in general.

Salary by Employer

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't report industry-specific salary data for video game designers, it does report earnings for multimedia artists and animators, including those who design content for video games (www.bls.gov). In May 2012, multimedia artists and animators working in the computer systems design and related services industry earned an average wage of $63,730, while those working for software publishers earned a higher average wage of $66,130. The motion picture and video industries offered the highest average salary overall of $84,410.

Salary by Location

In February 2014, PayScale.com reported that entry-level video game designers working in Los Angeles earned a median wage of $49,000, while those working in New York City earned a higher median wage of $56,000. The BLS also listed California and New York as states with the highest multimedia artist and animator employment levels in May 2012. In addition, these were the states with the highest average salaries of $84,590 and $71,960, respectively. Washington also employed many of these professionals but offered a lower average wage of $68,480.

Video Game Programmer

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for entry-level programmers in general was $48,559 in February 2014. The median wage for video game programmers of all experience levels was $65,183, with most earning between $39,799 and $100,247.

Salary by Employer

In May 2012, the BLS reported that the computer systems design and related services industry employed the highest number of computer programmers and offered them an average wage of $79,900. Software publishers, which offered an average wage of $83,740, had the second highest programmer employment level at that time.

Salary by Location

California and New York employed the highest number of computer programmers in May 2012, reported the BLS. These states offered high average wages of $87,160 and $80,850 (compared to the national average of $78,260, reported by the BLS), respectively. Although it only offered an average wage of $78,590, Texas had the third highest computer programmer employment level. Washington and the District of Columbia paid computer programmers the overall highest average wages of $93,380 and $90,960, respectively.

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