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Computer Game Design Associate Degree Programs

Computer game design programs explore the multimedia techniques needed to develop gaming software. Learn more about the program in general, common coursework and career prospects.

What Is a Computer Game Design Associate's Degree Program?

A computer game design associate's degree program shows you how to create original computer games, by using graphics, animations, computer programming languages and specialized software. Some game design programs are available as options within a broader multimedia studies associate's degree program. Most programs award you with either an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Applied Arts.

Programs guide you through the steps needed to conceive and create computer games by collaborating with other game developers to create a unique story and interesting game characters. Associate's degree programs can also show you how to test your games out for errors and then market the finished product to a game company.

Programs Focus Game creation, error testing, marketing
Common Courses Animation, game testing, digital editing, algebra
Online Options Yes, but rare
Career Opportunities Video game programmer, assistant graphic designer
Median Salary (2018) $50,370 (for all graphic designers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% growth (for all graphic designers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Could I Take?

A computer game design associate's degree program requires students to take courses that combine technology and computer science with visual art and storytelling. You can expect to complete around 65-70 credit hours for this degree program. Some classes you may be required to take during your studies include:

  • Computer game graphic design
  • Algebra
  • Animation
  • Game testing
  • 3-D design concepts
  • Digital editing

While non-profit schools generally don't offer game design associate's degree programs online, you may find some computer-related classes available through distance learning. Several community colleges offer tutorial courses in Flash animation and InDesign online, for example.

What Can I Do After I Graduate?

With an associate's degree in game design, you could work as a game programmer or developer. If your program also includes multimedia studies, you might work as an assistant to a graphic designer or multimedia artist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for interactive websites and online animations has increased, which has produced a need for qualified workers in the multimedia industry (www.bls.gov). To achieve the best job opportunities, you might want to consider earning a bachelor's degree in graphic or game design.

The BLS reported that the median salary for graphic designers was $50,370 per year as of May 2018, while multimedia artists and animators earned a median wage of $72,520. According to PayScale.com, most video game designers earned yearly salaries between $39,000 and $102,000 as of July 2019.