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2D Animation Courses and Certificate Programs

Learn what certificate programs include courses in 2D animation and what topics these classes cover. Research important considerations for choosing a program and the career outlook for animators.

What You Need to Know

2D animation certificates are not commonly offered on their own. Classes are more likely to be included in an animation certificate program that covers a broader range of art styles. Undergraduate degree programs in animation are also available, in addition to continuing education certificate coursework and online courses.

Certificates Animation certificates
DegreesAssociate's and bachelor's degrees
Schools Schools with facilities that keep up with the most recent hardware and software may enhance your education
Courses Drawing, illustration, painting, stop-motion animation, character design, storyboarding techniques, electronic and computer animation, Web animation, advertising design

What 2D Animation Certificate Programs are Available?

Certificate programs in animation can typically be completed in one year or less. The academic experience and credentials these programs provide could prepare you for employment in a variety of fields, including advertising, cinema and other forms of entertainment. You might be able to find certificate programs specifically in 2D animation, but these are rare. More common are animation certificate programs that encompass a broader variety of topics, including Web design and 3D animation. Some continuing education departments may offer certificate coursework in animation. Online courses are also available from some schools.

What Courses Will I Take?

Through certificate programs specifically meant for aspiring 2D animators, you may take courses in the following fundamental areas:

  • Drawing
  • Illustration
  • Painting
  • Storyboarding techniques
  • Electronic and computer animation
  • Graphic design
  • Web animation

Broader certificate programs in animation may allow you to expand your animation skills into areas like photography, 3D modeling, photo editing, lighting and typography. You can also focus in subjects that could be professionally advantageous, like advertising design and designs for presentations. A final project, demonstrating your skills in the field, may also be required.

What About Degree Programs?

Students can also enroll in an associate's degree program or a bachelor's degree program with coursework in 2D animation. Options include an Associate of Applied Science in Animation or 2D Animation or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation or Computer Animation, among other programs. The 2D animation specialization may require students to complete a portfolio of their animation work as part of the degree requirements. These courses might be covered:

  • Character design for 2D animation
  • Stop motion animation
  • Digital animation techniques
  • Digital video
  • Animation history

How Can I Choose a School?

Because a lot of modern animation work takes place on the computer, you should enroll in a program that offers up-to-date hardware and software systems for creating, editing and publishing animation projects. Even if your sole interests lie in 2D animation, you may consider programs with a wider variety of courses in Web publishing or advertising to increase your employability.

If your professional goals are primarily creative, you may prefer programs that offer more options in areas like storyboarding and character development. If you're more technical-minded, you might enroll in an animation certificate program that incorporates training in photo editing, programming and electronic media.

What Are My Career Prospects in Animation?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual wage of $70,530 as of May 2017. The median annual hourly wage for workers was reported as $33.91 for that same timeframe. The BLS also reports that most artists and animators were employed in California and in the motion-picture industry, followed by computer design fields (www.bls.gov). However, it is important to note that most multimedia artists and animators hold a bachelor's degree, which is what employers prefer, per the BLS. Those earning a certificate or associate's degree may want to use it as a jumping-off point for further education in a 4-year program.