Careers in Media Arts and Animation

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in media arts and animation. Read on to learn more about career options along with degree requirements, responsibilities, and career growth. Schools offering Multimedia Design & Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Available For Media Arts and Animation Majors?

Some people have a natural talent with a pencil and sketch pad. They also enjoy working on computers. Combined with proper training, these individuals can create original media animation for commercials, TV, or films. Media arts and animation degree holders can find jobs in animation, web design and advertising among many other fields. Animation today is typically digitally enhanced or 3D designed. Standard analog animation is a longer and slower process and a few studios still work this way and need animators. With digital animation most animators will work within a studio factory creating their artwork and rendering the animation. Sometimes animators can work from home if they have the proper software programs and computer setups.

Some animators design for video gaming companies. If you work for a big studio you could be animating full length movies. This career requires a bachelor's degree and many hours of experience working with different animation programs and software. The chart below provides information regarding education, career outlook, and job duties for this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Animation, graphic design, art, advertising, character design, computer graphics programming, creative writing
Key Responsibilities Create advertisements, work on films or TV shows, design web pages, create graphics
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $63,970 for multimedia artists and animators*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Media Arts and Animation?

Media arts and animation utilize a creative set of skills that are required in a variety of industries. In fields as diverse as entertainment, advertising and police work, there is a need for media artists and animators. The primary components of media arts and animation are 3-D computer modeling, illustration, compositing and design.

What Education Do I Need?

If you have a high school diploma or a GED, the first step to becoming a media arts professional or an animator is to enroll in a 4-year bachelor's degree program. Although there are a few programs in media arts and animation, you might also consider majoring specifically in animation or even graphic design. Upon graduation, you will have built a portfolio of your work that potential employers will use to gauge if you are what they are looking for.

In addition to hands-on experience, there are a wide variety of courses you can expect to take in a bachelor's degree program in media arts and animation. A few examples are drawing, color theory, character design, creating special effects, computer graphic programming, cell animation, storyboards and script development, video editing and background painting. In addition to the core curriculum, you will usually choose a few elective classes allowing you to focus on your primary interests.

What Skills Do I Need For a Career?

The most important skill you need to be a media arts and animation professional is the ability to draw. This is the first thing that the majority of potential employers will look at. You will also need to be proficient with a number of computer software programs including but not limited to Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Combustion, Maya and 3-D Studio Max. The more versatile your animation and multimedia skills are, the bigger the pool of potential employers you will have to draw from. Depending upon your expertise, you may look forward to career in industries as diverse as film, television, architecture, television, advertising, education, architecture, advertising, Web design and even forensics.

What Is the Job Market Like?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2014 and 2024, multimedia art and animation jobs will increase by 6% ( The BLS also stated that as of May 2015, the median annual salary of animators and multimedia artists was $63,970. Animators in the 25th to 75th percentile ranges made from $47,660 to $88,190.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related career fields needing a bachelor's degree include art directors, graphic designers and computer programmers. Art directors might work in a variety of media including newspapers, magazines, television, film, or digital video. They lead design projects for artwork in a managerial capacity. Graphic designers use computer programs to create digital designs or artwork for a variety of multimedia. Computer programmers study coding and work to create new programs or improve existing software. Each of these careers involves the use of creativity and computer software to fill the needs of widespread industries.

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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