Associate's Degree in Game Design

Earning an associate's degree in video game design can help you create engaging, fun and challenging video games. Read on to learn more about the program, common course topics and career prospects. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Associate's Degree in Game Design Like?

Community colleges, technical schools and for-profit institutions around the U.S. offer associate's degree programs in game design, animation, programming and related subjects. Upon completion of the program, you'll receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in game design or development.

Some programs are set up so that you may choose to pursue degree options that allow for smooth transfer to a 4-year institution. Online associate's degree programs in game design are difficult to find, but some schools - mostly for-profits - offer online bachelor's degree programs suitable for aspiring game developers.

Programs Available Associate's and bachelor's degrees available
Online Options Yes, but very rare; online bachelor's programs are more widespread
Common Courses Programming, web design, computer imaging
Career Opportunities Game tester, game artist, game producer, game designer
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What Classes Will I Take?

Depending on the program you choose, your studies may focus on computer programming, while other courses of study weigh more heavily on the artistic side of game design. Either way, you'll take classes in computers and design. Courses in Web design, multimedia and digital communication are common requirements. If your degree program concentrates on the software programming aspects of game design, you'll probably have to take some advanced math courses, too.

Some programs require courses in drawing, computer imaging and animating. You might also take photography and illustration classes. In these courses, you'll learn about bringing your game characters to life on the screen. You'll probably also learn about developing plot lines and stories. English classes on technical writing are often geared toward students in computer-based fields like game design.

What's the Industry Like?

As a game designer, you'll work with programmers, graphic artists and even musicians to create your vision, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You'll probably have to start at the bottom, working as a game tester, artist or producer ( reported in 2019 that the middle half of video game designers in their first five years of work earned a median annual salary of between $34,000 and $83,000.

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:

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