3D Artist Education and Job Facts

Learn about education and job options for 3-D artists. Find information on specializations, program accreditation and school application requirements. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Prospective 3D artists can choose from programs in several specialties, including 3D animation, game development and new media development. Bachelor's and master's degrees are offered by public and private academic institutions. If you don't want to pursue a degree program, you may enroll in continuing education or noncredit programs that may award a certificate upon completion. Some programs allow you to complete all the requirements for a degree or certificate online. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of multimedia artists is set to grow by 8% between the years of 2016 and 2026, which is as fast as average across all occupations.

Program Options New media, visual arts, graphic design other design-related fields
Degree Options Bachelor's and master's
Median Salary (2017) $70,530 per year (all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Should I Look for in an Education Program?

The National Association of Schools of Arts and Design (NASAD) is the national accrediting agency for schools offering arts and design programs. The NASAD accredits approximately 350 schools in the U.S. that offer visual arts programs, including programs for 3D arts training. If you enroll in a program not listed with NASAD, ensure that the school is registered with the state in which it is located.

What Kinds of Degree Options Do I Have?

In order to work as a 3D artist, you'll need to have at least a bachelor's degree in an area such as graphic design, animation, fine arts or a related field. In addition to this educational credential, employers are looking for artists with a strong portfolio of work and strong technical skills. Additional skills and knowledge are available in master's degree programs in similar areas of study.

As a student in a graphic design or 3D modeling program, you might study subjects such as:

  • The history of graphic design
  • Anatomy for character modelers
  • Hard surface and prop modeling
  • Portfolio development
  • An introduction to digital video
  • Illustration and web design
  • Typography
  • Motion design
  • Web design and digital imaging

How Do I Qualify for a 3D Artist Program?

Most degree-granting programs require you to have at least a high school diploma or equivalency before enrollment. Although you must usually submit an official high school or college transcript as part of the application process, some programs do not have a minimum grade point average requirement. Check with the particular program you're interested in to determine whether you need to take standardized entrance examinations. You may also need to provide recommendations from teachers or others familiar with your background, along with an arts portfolio.

What Is My Career Outlook?

You may find work constructing models based on concept art or as an animator bringing characters to life on the big screen or in the context of a video game. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the projected job growth for all multimedia and design workers was expected to be as fast as average from 2016-2026, at 8%.

You might find stiff competition for salaried jobs and freelance assignments, since far more people aspire to enter the arts than there is available work to support them.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Universal Technical Institute

    Universal Technical Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Universal Technical Institute:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

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    • California: Long Beach, Sacramento
    • Texas: Long Beach, Sacramento, Houston
  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • CDI College

    CDI College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at CDI College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Anywhere: Anjou, Laval, Longueuil, Montreal, Point Claire
  • Penn Foster High School

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    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame