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How Much Does Animation School Cost?

Animation School Prices

Many people with artistic talent are unsure of how to make a living off of it. If this describes you, consider a career in animation. Becoming an animator doesn't require a degree, although postsecondary training can help you develop your artistic and creative abilities further. Once fully honed, put these abilities to use working for a motion picture or video game studio, a software publisher, a computer system design firm, an advertising firm, or a public relations firm. Or, you can do what many animators do: work for yourself.

Becoming an Animator

Animation isn't strictly limited to hand-drawn productions. Much animation work, including graphic design, animated movies, video and computer games, and visual effects, is now done with computers. Animators, however, can still find work drawing and painting by hand. Most animators specialize in a specific medium.

Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects salary and employment information jointly for multimedia artists and animators. According to BLS data, people working in these fields can expect to earn a median annual income of $61,370. Animators in the bottom income bracket earn an average of just under $35,000 per year. Those in the top ten percent have a median annual income of more than $113,000. To read a complete career profile on animators, see the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Education

Degree programs, while not strictly necessary for an animation career, are useful for building a portfolio of work and a broader skill set. Students interested in becoming multimedia artists might major in animation, computer animation, computer graphics, or a related field. A degree in fine art—encompassing drawing, painting, and sculpture—is another possibility. Schools may also offer degree specialization in particular areas such as 3D animation/programming or game design.

If a four-year degree programs seems like overkill to you, consider earning an associate's degree or a certificate. There are also training programs and workshops that provide animation instruction. Whichever type of training you choose, make sure it provides the opportunity to improve your animation résumé.

Animation School Average Costs

The following tuition information is based on national averages. Actual program costs may be higher or lower. Contact individual schools for the most accurate tuition information.

  • Not-for-profit education organization the College Board compiles comprehensive information on higher education costs. According to the 2012 Trends in College Pricing report, students can except to pay the following tuition amounts per year:
  • $3,000 - $3,500 (for a two-year school, i.e. an associate's degree)
  • $8,655 - $29,056 (four-year school)
  • Room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other costs are extra.
  • A graduate certificate in animation from a college or university might cost $6,000 - $12,000 or as much as $15,000 - $25,000. Possession of an undergraduate degree is typically a prerequisite for graduate certificate programs.
  • A 1-year animation training program might cost $15,000 - $20,000, while a 3 or 4 week workshop could run $3,000 - $6,000.
  • Unsure of how to pay for your education? Get the lowdown on student financial aid at studentaid.ed.gov.

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