25 Cheapest Online Degrees In Animation

 

Animation is a creative field that has been around since its invention by Walt Disney in 1938. It has since become a multibillion-dollar industry, with new advancements being made every day. With such a demand for new creative content and the continued evolution of Animation, it’s no wonder that people are drawn to this career path. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for Special Effects Artists and Animators is $78,790, with a job outlook of 16%, which is significantly faster than the national average.

What is an animator?

An animator creates an image or a sequence of images that depict the movement and behavior of an object, person, or other characters in a visual medium. In most cases, animators work in two-dimensional or three-dimensional models, stop-frame Animation, or computer-generated Animation.

Although Animation is still primarily an artistic pursuit, animators are increasingly expected to have a working knowledge of technical computer programs. For those new to the industry, acquiring a degree in Animation is a great way to get started.

Animation degrees develop students’ talents while teaching them new aspects of Animation that will be useful in their future careers. These degrees help students master areas in Typography, Motion graphics, 2D and 3D Modeling and Animation, and Digital design.

Difference Between Animation and Motion Graphics.

Motion Graphics and Animation are often used interchangeably, and there is not always a clear distinction between the two. Below are a few key differences between Animation and Motion Graphics.

Motion GraphicsAnimation
In motion graphics, narrative, and storytelling, are not required.As an art form, animation focuses more on storytelling.
 Less complex designs are required for motion graphics.Animation requires an extensive skillset and ample resources.
 Mostly comprised of 2D images.Animation refers to both 2D and 3D graphics
Motion graphics generally integrate over existing animation or footage.Exist as standalone imagery over a generated background.
Heavy use of text to keep viewers engaged.Mainly use characters to engage viewers.

Can I Get An Animation Degree Online?

Getting a degree in Animation online is now possible. Animation is a subject that works well as an online offering due to the fact that most animations are done digitally. You will still gain significant hands-on experience through your computer, even though you won’t be sitting in a traditional classroom. The best part is you can complete these programs at your own pace and on your own time. Here is an overview of the available online Animation Degrees.

ProgramCreditsDurationAdmission requirement (may vary)
Associate of Arts/ Associate of Applied Arts/ Associate of Applied Sciences602 YearsHighschool transcripts, minimum GPA 2.0
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Fina ArtsUp to 1803-4 yearsACT/SAT Scores, Transcripts, Art Portfolio
Master of Arts/ Master of Fine ArtsUp to 702 YearsBachelor’s degree, portfolio, college transcripts and letters of recommendation

Choosing An Online Animation Degree Program

Below are a few key things to keep in mind when selecting an online animation program:

  • What type of Animation do you want to specialize in? There are a variety of online animation degree programs that cater to different areas of Animation, including traditional Animation, digital Animation, 3D Animation, and motion graphics.
  • School accreditation: Schools that are accredited have high educational standards.
  • Mentorship and internship opportunities
  • Accessibility to student support services and tutoring

An online degree in Animation can help you make a career move. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or advancing your career, an online degree in Animation can provide the training and education needed to get started.

Here is a list of the most affordable online Animation degrees.

10 Cheapest Online Associates Degrees in Animation

#1. Miami Dade College

Program: A.A. in Computer Arts Animation

Tuition: $82.78 per credit (resident); $331.11 per credit (non resident)

Accreditation and Ranking: Regionally accredited by SACSCOC and ranks #1 of the Most Liberal Colleges in Florida.

The Computer Arts Animation A.A. at Miami Dade is a 60-credit-hour program that prepares students for further studies by introducing them to basic knowledge of the use of design software. The program provides a foundation in digital arts and help students to identify areas to major in for further studies. Students who complete these studies can pursue a career in Animation Dynamics, 3D Modeling, and 3D Graphic Design and illustration.

#2, Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Program: A.A.S. Design and Media Production Technology 

Tuition: $100 per credit hour (resident; $400 per credit hour (non-resident) 

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by SACSCOC

The Associate’s Design and Media Production Technology Degree provides a hands-on production approach in the area of specialization. This 61-credit degree program focuses on the principles and elements of design for video, photography, 3D Animation, and/or graphic design projects.

#3. Great Basin College

Program: A.A.S.- Computer Technologies Graphic Communications Emphasis

Tuition:  $176.75 per credit 

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Great Basin College offers a 60-hour A.A.S. in Computer Technologies with an emphasis in Graphic Communications. Students who earn this degree will be able to use words and images to convey information, ideas, and feelings. Students will learn how to use software for image editing and creation, illustration, typography, and layout. Graduates of this program will be prepared to work as assistant designers or assistant animators on an entry-level basis.

Sample course topics

  • Web Animation
  • Design Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics
  • Computational Design

#4. Iowa Central Community College

Program: Digital Arts, A.A.A.

Tuition:  $192.50 per credit (resident); $271.50 per credit (non-resident)

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Iowa Central’s Digital Arts program prepares students for a wide range of exciting, distinguished careers as creative, innovative leaders in emerging industries. Students will explore new media and methods of digital creation, such as audio production, photography, video, coding, interactive design, and mass media writing. This program prepares students for creating visually appealing, conceptually rich, and technically sound visual communication projects.

Sample course topics

  • Graphic Design
  • Basic Multimedia Design 
  • Video Editing
  • Computational Design

#5. Suffolk Community College (SUNY)

Program: A.A.S.- Digital Media and Animation

Tuition:  $208 per credit (resident); $386 per credit (non-resident)

Accreditation and Ranking: Regionally Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The Digital Media and Animations associate’s degree at SUNY Suffolk is a 60 – 65 credit program that focuses on traditional studio skills to help students branch into digital production. The foundation skills in drawing and design will help students understand better the concepts in 3D Modeling, 2D and 3D animation/special effects, and interactive media. Students will be able to pursue careers as Animators, Graphic Designer, Coordinator Digital Marketing, and Production Designer.

 #6. Foothill College

Program: AA in Graphic & Interactive Design

Tuition:  $221 per credit

Accreditation: Accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The A.A. in Graphic & Interactive Design at Foothill College is designed to help students understand the design process from sketching to the final product. During this program, students learn professional graphics applications as well as basic and advanced design processes.

Sample course topics

  • Digital Art & Graphics
  • Fundamentals of 3-D Animation
  • Digital Sound, Video & Animation
  • Motion Graphics

#7. Phoenix College

Program: (A.A.S.) in Animation and Time-Based Media

Tuition:  $241 per credit hour

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Animation and Time-Based Media is tailored for the student who seeks to develop practical skills in the field of digital Animation. The program provides students with an understanding of still image, video, and animation production equipment, operations, and terminology. The program allows students to explore personal interests, prepares them for employment, and upgrades the skills of those who are already employed in the field.

#8. Sessions College for Professional Design

Program: Associates Degree in Digital Media

Tuition: $510 per credit

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

The Digital Media associates degree is a two-year intensive study in visual design. The program helps students to learn how to use Adobe Premiere and Animate to create video content that is engaging and visually compelling. Students will develop their skills in video editing and audio editing. All of these skills will prepare you for creative work in the field of digital media. 

Sample course topics

  • Digital video production
  • Character animation
  • Marketing
  • Digital photography

#9. Academy of Art University

Program: Associates of Arts (A.A.) Animation & Visual Effects

Tuition:$1,041 per unit

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by WASC, Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) 

The Online A.A. Arts Degree program provides students with an in-depth introduction to the main concepts of animation production. The students will attain substantial skills to make effective designs to support the mood and narrative of a project. 

Sample course topics

  • 3D Animation and 3D Modeling
  • Storyboarding
  • Visual effects
  • 2D Animation

#10. Wisconsin Technical College System

Program: Associates in Arts, Audiovisual Technology, and Communications. 

Tuition: $4,303.5 per year

Accreditation and Ranking: Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and ranks #6 of the Best Community Colleges in Wisconsin

The Arts, Audiovisual Technology, and Communications associates’ degree is designed to educate students in the fields of commercial art, Visual communications, and Animation or multi-media production. Through coursework, students will create 3-D digital models and animate them using 3-D Softimage X.S.I. advanced software. 

10 Cheapest Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Animation

#1. Wilmington University

Program: Bachelor of Science in Animation and 3D 

Tuition: $390 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The B.A. in Science in Animation and 3D provides students with an intense study in 3D Animation, 3D: artistic side, and 2D animation. The program gives students the opportunity to practice and learn software techniques used in real-world production. Graduates of this course can pursue a career as an Animator, Graphic Designer, Web designer, and Games Developer.

Sample course topics

  • 2D and 3D Animation
  • Psychology
  • Creative writing
  • Advanced motion graphics

#2. Miami International University of Art & Design

Program: B.F.A. in Media Arts & Animation  

Tuition: $575 per credit hour 

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #1 Best Online Colleges for Degrees in Art and Design

The B.F.A. in Media Arts & Animation program gives students a chance to work in a production team for Professional level projects. The program aims to build experience as you study animations. Students can build a career as Senior Graphic Designers, Art assistants, 2D digital illustrators, and Generalist artists.

Sample course topics

  • Character development
  • Perspective drawing
  • Concept art
  • Principles of Animation

#3. Rocky Mountain College of Art

Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation 

Tuition: $664 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The B.A. in Fine Arts Animation provides students with a chance to advance their creativity with the use of digital media. As a 2D and 3D animation student, you’ll hone your skills as an animator with online training that prepares you for the real world of professional Animation. The program provides students with enough support to advance their skills as artists. Upon completion of the program, students can work as 3D artists, New Media designers, Character Developers, Digital videographers, and Flash Developers. 

Sample Course topics

  • 2D and 3D drawing
  • Stop motion
  • Character design
  • Storyboarding

#4. Grand Canyon University

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design – Animation

Tuition: $687.50 per credit hour

Accreditation: Regionally accredited by Higher Learning Commission.

The B.A. in Arts in Digital Design – Animation program provides a comprehensive framework in digital design and focuses on Animation. Students get to understand how to use light, texture, and color when creating visual arts. The program covers 3D and 2D Modeling, motion graphics, and typography. Students can pursue a career in Graphic Design, Web Design, Creative Director, and Conceptual design. 

#5. Full Sail University

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Animation 

Tuition: $767 Per Credit Hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Institutionally accredited by ACCSC Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

The BS in Computer Animation is a 120-credit-hour program that helps students to learn how to apply their knowledge of computer science principles to create compelling digital content that appeals to audiences worldwide. The program develops skills in programming, design, and production to prepare students for careers in both traditional and digital media production. These careers include Animators, 3D artists, Video Game designers, and Concept artists.

#6. The Savannah College of Art and Design

Program: B.F.A. in Animation

Tuition: $869 per credit

Accreditation: Accredited by SACSCOC

The B.F.A. in Animation at SCAD is a 180-credit program that allows students to develop their own unique academic style by choosing several paths for study within the course. The program provides a foundation of general education to develop critical thinking and communication skills. Graduates can pursue a career as Game developers, Concept artists, and Animator.

#7. Berkeley College

Program: Bachelor of 3D Digital Visualization 

Tuition: $890 per credit

Accreditation: Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

The B.A. in 3D Digital Visualization Program is designed to give students an understanding of the basic principles of digital art and design, making it an ideal choice for those who want to gain experience in a field that is growing at a rapid pace. Graduates can pursue a career in architecture, graphic design, Animation, and gaming as skilled professionals.

Sample course topics

  • Graphic Design
  • Architectural construction
  • Game Design
  • Animation 

#8. Academy of Art University

Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Animation & Visual Effects

Tuition:  $1,041 per unit

 Accreditation: Accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The B.F.A. degree in Animation & Visual Effects gives students the opportunity to focus on one core principle of Animation and visual effects. This core principle could either be 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Modeling, stop motion or storyboarding. The degree will help students to attain advanced skills from the chosen area of emphasis. These skills will enable students to secure a career as an Art Director, Animator, Video Game Designer, Architect, Music Director, and Curator. 

Sample course topics

  • 3D realistic animations
  • Urban sociology
  • Game engines
  • Power of Myth and Symbol 

#9. The Los Angeles Film School

Program: B.S. Character Animation

Tuition: $6,135 per semester

Accreditation: Accredited by ACCSC Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

The BS in Character Animation program focuses on helping students to incorporate their artistic designs into video games and movies. The curriculum looks into the principles of Animation, blending technical proficiency with creative development. Graduates can pursue a career as a 3D Character Animator, Cinematic animator, Games Developer, and VFX Artist. 

#10. University of Advancing Technology

Program: B.F.A. Game Art and Animation  

Tuition: $6,500 (9 credits) per semester

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The B.A. in Game Art and Animation at UARTS is a 120-credit program that focuses on the principles of game development. Students will be able to create 2D and 3D art assets for multiple video game platforms. Graduates can pursue jobs such as Digital Modeler, Character artist, gameplay animator and Environment texture artist. 

Sample course topics

  • 2D and 3D character models
  • Game design
  • Motion graphics 

5 Cheapest Online Master’s Degrees in Animation

#1. Kennesaw State University

Program: Master of Arts in Art and Design – Digital Animation Concentration

Tuition: $296 per credit (in-state); $1,066 per credit (out of state)

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranks #7 of Top Public Universities in Georgia

In the M.A. in Arts and Design with a concentration in Digital Animation program, students learn frame-to-frame Animation, storyboarding, rigged Animation, and visual development for game and film media. Students will also have the opportunity to conduct professional-level research and communicate their ideas to an audience of professionals. After completing the digital animation degree concentration, graduates will be prepared to pursue a career in digital Animation.

#2. The Savannah College of Art and Design

Program: M.A. in Animation

Tuition: $890 per credit hour

Accreditation: Accredited by SACSCOC

The MA in Animation program allows students to narrow down to a specific major in Animation. The program It teaches students how to balance copywriting, typography, illustration, photography, sound, Animation, and visual effects for effective message communication. Students can attain a career as an Educational Video Editor, 3D architectural artist, and Director of Photography.

#3. Fairleigh Dickinson University

Program: Masters of Arts in Animation

Tuition: $987 per credit

Accreditation: Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The M.F.A. in Animation program is designed for artists who want to advance their animation skills. The program also accepts people who desire a career change. Graduates from this course can pursue a degree as a concept artist, a 3D artist, or Director of Innovation. 

Sample course topics 

  • Character design
  • Digital Sculpting
  • Advanced game creation
  • 3D character modeling

#4. Academy of Art University

Program: Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Animation & Visual Effects

Tuition:  $1, 276/Unit

 Accreditation: Regionally accredited by WASC, Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

The M.F.A. degree in Animation & Visual Effects program focuses on advancing the skills of students in Animation and visual effects. The program prepares students to deliver exceptionally well in their careers. Students will be able to secure a career as Commercial artists, Art professors, Animator, Graphic Designers, and Museum managers.

Sample Course Topics 

  • Advanced character animation
  • Storyboarding 
  • 3D character animation
  • Traditional Animation

#5. Northeastern University

Program: Masters in Digital Media

Tuition: $1,804 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and ranks #7 Best Colleges in Massachusetts

In the Master of Professional Studies in Digital Media program, students have the opportunity to explore core creative concepts and innovative ideas in a hands-on, collaborative manner as they explore a variety of digital media fields. As part of the program, students will receive a solid grounding in the three core knowledge areas of digital media: design thinking, technical competency, and creative expression.

What Can You Do With An Animation Degree?

A Degree in animation allows you to develop valuable hard skills and soft skills to meet the standard requirements for employment in several industries.

Degree holders in animation can pursue long and rewarding careers in the film, television, and video game industries. Animation professionals often work in roles related to 2D and 3D animation, storyboarding, or design. Some graduates may pursue careers in visual effects or motion design. Others may enter the advertising and graphic design fields, where they can demonstrate their artistic skills and technical expertise.

The following chart highlights the most common degree types held by the working population in Animation. Source: Zippia

Animation Jobs and Salaries

Animation graduates have a variety of career options available to them after completing their degree, as highlighted in the following chart.

Job Outlook For Animation Degrees

Animation is a growing industry, and the demand for skilled animators will continue to grow. According to BLS, there will be a 16 percent increase in employment for special effects artists and animators between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average.

This projected growth is driven by increased demand for visual effects and animation in movies, video games, and television. Consumers will continue to demand more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and three-dimensional movies. To meet this increased demand, additional animators and special effects artists will be needed.

There will also be an increase in job opportunities as mobile devices, such as smartphones demand more computer graphics. Creating animation for games and mobile applications will require the skills of special effects artists.

The following chart highlights the comparison of the projected percent change in employment growth for animation and special effects artists against other occupations in the next decade.

Source: BLS

Professional Resources for Animators

There are many great professional organizations for animators. Several well-known professional organizations offer networking opportunities and provide a place for animators to look for mentors in their specialization. There are also several well-known professional animation organizations at the national and international levels.

These include:

  • Women in Animation (WIA)
  • International Animated Film Association (ASIFA)
  • Society for Animation Studies (SAS)
  • Animation World Network (AWN)
  • CG Society
  • The Animation Guild (TAG)
  • Quickdraw Animation Society

Is A Degree In Animation Worth it?

When considering a career in animation, the benefits are endless. A degree in animation will give you the knowledge and skills necessary to learn how to create animated content for any platform or medium—from television shows and commercials to virtual reality experiences or interactive web content.

Animation Degrees provide you with the opportunity to work with artists across multiple disciplines, perfect your creative efforts and receive guidance from industry professionals. Additionally, animation degrees provide students with a unique perspective on the industry and how it works. You’ll also have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented artists in the field.

In short: Animation degrees are worth the investment because they can help you reach your full potential as an artist and help you perfect your creative efforts.

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