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CostHelper > Schools & Job Training  > Becoming an Animator

Becoming an Animator Cost


How Much Does Becoming an Animator Cost?

 
average costPublic University: $4,000-$18,000 Per Yearhigh costPrivate University: $30,000-$37,000+ Per Year
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Animators are employed in various industries, from video games to websites to television and movies. The work is most commonly done by computer program.

Typical costs:

  • Most animators have an art-related bachelor's degree. Important qualities necessary to perform the job include artistic ability, computer skills, creativity and ability to work with a team, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics[1] .
  • Earning a bachelor's degree from a public university costs about $4,000-$18,000 per year, depending on the location and whether the student is an in- or out-of-state resident. For example, San Jose State University[2] in California, which offers a degree in animation, costs $6,828 annually for in-state tuition.
  • Private art school tuition typically costs $30,000-$37,694 annually. Such schools may offer more detailed and rigorous coursework than that found at a public university. Private school class sizes are often smaller than those at public schools, and so they can offer more one-on-one training with instructors. For example, CalArts[3] offers a degree in either character animation or experimental animation for $37,000 a year.
  • Aspiring animators must typically put together a portfolio of their best work, preferably created with one of the field's prominent software programs. Such programs, which include Smith Micro Software's Poser Pro 2012[4] and Autodesk's Maya[5] , cost about $500-$6,500. Pricier software is more complex, offering more features, tools and professional-quality images.
Related articles: College, Community College, MFA in Graphic Design

What should be included:
  • Animation is a highly competitive field. While some people are able to break into the field of animation without a degree, animators advise that pursuing a degree can lead to an easier start[6] in the career.
  • Most of today's animated films, such as the popular Toy Story series, feature computer animation. Animation is also used extensively in the video game industry for similar effects. Websites also use animators to create moving advertisements and other online moving pictures.
  • Degree programs in animation include courses in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation. Students learn to develop characters, create storyboards and create models. Auxiliary courses include graphic design, digital arts and drawing.
  • More than 66,000 animators work in the United States, and that number is expected to grow 8% from 2010 to 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Additional costs:
  • As with any degree, there are costs in addition to tuition. These costs can reach $10,000 or more for an artistic degree such as animation. These costs cover college fees, books and materials.
  • Miscellaneous costs involved with creating an animation portfolio include compact discs and compact disc cases; 50-packs of either cost about $10. Creating a physical portfolio with printed out or hand drawn images to supplement their CD portfolio costs another $28-$165.
Discounts:
  • The federal government offers financial aid[7] to qualifying college students. Likewise, many private schools offer merit scholarships[8] to qualifying students.
Shopping for becoming an animator:
  • Animation World Network is the industry's most prominent website. AWN.com[9] features job postings, forum discussions and industry news.
  • AllArtSchools.com offers a list of questions[10] to ask before considering whether and where to attend an animation school.
  • Look for an animation school with accreditation, either from a specialized accrediting association[11] or a regional body, such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges[12] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm#tab-4
  2.  www.sjsuai.com/ai/Welcome.html
  3.  filmvideo.calarts.edu/programs/character-animation
  4.  poser.smithmicro.com/poser.html
  5.  www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-maya/overview
  6.  www.animationarena.com/animation-career.html
  7.  www.fafsa.ed.gov/
  8.  www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/acade...
  9.  www.awn.com/
  10.  www.allartschools.com/art-careers/animation/animation-school
  11.  www.arts-accredit.org
  12.  www.acswasc.org/
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