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Best Game Design Associate Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Medinah Aina - May 15, 2022


If you are passionate about video games and have a talent for design, getting a job in game design could be for you. The best game design associate degrees will help you get started in the video game industry, and we’ve collated them in this article to ease your school search!

Throughout this review, you will learn more about Associate Degrees in Game Design as well as what the best game design associate degree programs are. You will also learn of some of the highest-paying game design associate degree jobs you can pursue upon completion of your game design associate degree. Check out the best Associate Degrees in Game Design below.

Where Can I Get an Associate Degree in Game Design?

Some of the best schools to get an Associate Degree in Game Design are Brookdale Community College, Central Piedmont Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, Johnson County Community College, and Manchester Community College. However, there are many colleges where you can get an Associate Degree in Game Design throughout the US.

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What Schools Offer the Best Game Design Associate Degrees?

  • Brookdale Community College
  • Delaware County Community College
  • Manchester Community College
  • Monroe County Community College
  • South Piedmont Community College

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Associate Degree in Game Design?

The admission requirements for an Associate Degree in Game Design are an online application, official high school transcripts or GED scores, placement tests, and standardized test scores. These are the standard associate in game design requirements of most schools, but there may be some additional documents required depending on the school.

Some schools may require students to submit an ID card, an immunization test result, a certificate of residency, or an affidavit of residency for those who want to apply as state residents. In addition, some schools may require a minimum 2.0 GPA. While these are the typical entry requirements, there could be more or fewer, depending on the school.

Game Design Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • Official high school transcript
  • Placement test
  • Application fee (only required by some schools)
  • SAT/ACT scores (optional)

How to Get a Associate Degree in Game Design

You can get an Associate Degree in Game Design by meeting the school’s degree requirements, such as completing 60 credits. The exact graduation requirements vary by school, but there are specific standards that are common across all schools. The sections below cover more on this.

How Many Credits Do You Need for an Associate Degree in Game Design?

You need a minimum of 60 credits for an Associate Degree in Game Design. Some schools may require up to 65 or 67 credits, but the standard is 60. Students will be required to take a minimum of 15 credits per semester. Between 15 to 20 credits are for general education courses, about 30 to 35 credits are for core courses, while 10 to 15 credits are for electives.

Game Design Degree Requirements

  • A total of 60 – 67 credit hours
  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA
  • Core courses
  • General education courses
  • Elective courses

Best Game Design Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Brookdale Community College Associate of Applied Science in Game Design Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Central Piedmont Community College Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Delaware County Community College Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology and Game Development Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Finger Lakes Community College Associate in Science in Game Programming and Design Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Johnson County Community College Associate of Applied Science in Game Development Higher Learning Commission
Kilgore College Associate of Applied Science in Software Development and Game Design Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Lamar State College-Port Arthur Associate of Applied Science in Software Developer and Game Design Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Manchester Community College Associate in Science in Computer Game Design New England Commission of Higher Education
Monroe County Community College Associate of Applied Science in Game Design And Development Higher Learning Commission
South Piedmont Community College Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Best Schools for Game Design: Top Game Design Associate Degree Programs

This section covers some of the top game design associate degree programs in the United States. Our list of the best game design associate degree programs have been selected based on the depth of their curriculum, tuition cost, and other factors. Learn more about the best schools for an Associate Degree in Game Design and the various admission requirements below.

1

Brookdale Community College

Lincroft, NJ

Brookdale Community College is a public community college that was founded in 1967. It is one of the highest-ranking two-year institutions in the nation, offering 68 academic programs, including associate degree and certificate programs. Students can also take non-degree and non-credit courses through the school’s Office of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Associate of Applied Science in Game Design

In this Associate of Applied Science program, students will learn how to create games and apps from start to finish. The program will cover core courses including 3D modeling, programming, game concept design, game level design, Unity, and drawing. Students will also take general education courses, including English composition, art appreciation, and world literature.

Associate of Applied Science in Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $145/credit (in district); $253.50/credit (in state); $278.50/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 29%

Associate of Applied Science in Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee : $25
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Brookdale Community College

  1. Complete an online application and pay the $25 application fee to submit it.
  2. Make an appointment with an academic advisor to help you through the remaining application steps, then complete placement testing, if you are required to.
  3. Plan and register for your classes, using the code GAMED for this degree program.
  4. Pay for the entire program or set up a payment method to pay your tuition in installments.
  5. Attend new students' orientation.

2

Central Piedmont Community College

Charlotte, NC

Central Piedmont Community College is a public two-year school founded in 1963. It is a multi-campus college that offers programs in 12 career fields and over 55 professional pathways to help students transfer to four-year schools or start a career. It has a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio and eight guaranteed admission programs to four-year universities.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development

This program offers three different areas of specialization, which are design, programming, and 3D modeling and animation. The design program teaches students the knowledge and practical skills required to become game design experts. Students take courses such as simulation and game level design, 3D modeling, virtual simulation and game environments, and programming.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $76/credit (in state); $268/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits : 65 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person; hybrid; 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 21%

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma
  • Other Requirements: Placement tests in English and math

Applying to Central Piedmont Community College

  1. Submit your Central Piedmont application and either contact a student success navigator or await contact from the college. You will be helped through the rest of the application process.
  2. Submit your official high school transcript, plus any college or military transcripts.
  3. Attend a mandatory student orientation.
  4. Check to see if you need to take math or English placement tests. Then take them, if required.
  5. Meet with your academic advisor, then register and pay for classes. Ensure you have ap

3

Delaware County Community College

Media, PA

Delaware County Community College is a public community college founded in 1967. The school offers majors, certificate programs, and career and transfer degree programs in various fields of study. It has partnered with Albright College, Delaware Valley University, Drexel University, and West Chester University to help students earn a bachelor's degree without leaving the college.

Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology and Game Development

This program offers students theoretical and practical training in game development if they choose the game development specialization. It equips them with the skills necessary to become professionals in game design, development, marketing, and testing. They’ll create an attractive portfolio by the end of the program, covering most aspects of game design.

Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology and Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $125/credit hour (residents of sponsoring school districts); $250/credit hour (in state); $375/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits : 61-63 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person; 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 21%

Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology and Game Development Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required; SAT or ACT recommended
  • Application Fee : None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Official high school transcript

Applying to Delaware County Community College

  1. Submit an online application for free.
  2. Complete your placement test, unless your SAT, ACT, or AP scores are high enough to waive the placement test requirement.
  3. Complete the mandatory orientation.
  4. Meet with an academic advisor to schedule your classes.
  5. Set up a payment plan and register for classes.

4

Finger Lakes Community College

Canandaigua, NY

Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) is a public two-year institution that was established in 1965. It is affiliated with the State University of New York and enrolls about 6,000 students annually. It offers more than 50 certificate and associate degree programs in multiple fields of study through online, in-person, and hybrid formats. It has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Associate in Science in Game Programming and Design

This game programming and design program is designed to equip students with the relevant knowledge and skills required to join the gaming industry. It offers hands-on training and the use of a gaming lab that is equipped with cutting-edge technology to ensure students gain the necessary relevant skills. Students will also work towards building an attractive portfolio in game design.

Associate in Science in Game Programming and Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $2,484/semester (in state); $2,978/semester (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 63 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person; 100% online; hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 34%

Associate in Science in Game Programming and Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Finger Lakes Community College

  1. Complete your online application and submit it for free.
  2. Provide proof of high school education, such as an official high school transcript or GED.
  3. You will be contacted by the college if you need to submit more supporting documents for your application.
  4. Wait for your acceptance decision, then set up a payment plan and register for classes.

5

Johnson County Community College

Overland Park, KS

Johnson County Community College is a public community college in Kansas that was established in 1969. It offers about 50 career degree and certificate programs in multiple fields. It has 16,643 students, a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, an average student age of 23, and more than 80 clubs and organizations that students can participate in.

Associate of Applied Science in Game Development

This program helps students start a rewarding career in the gaming industry. It equips them with the in-demand skills needed to build, design, and test video games. Students of this program will build at least one digital game during the program and develop their technical skills. This program is eligible for the Kansas Promise Scholarship, which can cover students' full tuition.

Associate of Applied Science in Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition and Fees: $94/credit (in district); $112/credit (in state); $223/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 67 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 26%

Associate of Applied Science in Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Johnson County Community College

  1. Make a Dynamic Forms account to fill out and submit a free online application form.
  2. Apply for financial aid, if necessary.
  3. Official high school transcripts are usually not required for the admissions process, but they may be requested in some cases.
  4. Meet with a counselor to help with your education plan.
  5. Enroll, register for classes, and attend new students' orientation

6

Kilgore College

Kilgore, TX

Kilgore College is a public two-year college established in 1872. The school offers 859 associate degrees and 503 certificate programs. It has a total headcount of 6,263, with 59 percent part-time students and 41 percent full-time students. It offers student services, including counseling and career services, to prepare students for the job market.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development and Game Design

This program aims to prepare students for software development and game design careers. Students will be equipped with the relevant skills to work as computer programmers, web developers, game developers, or application support specialists. The curriculum will cover business computer applications, programming, game design, and video game development.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development and Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition and Fees: $90/semester hour (in district); $169/semester hour (in state, out-of-district); $219/semester hour (out of state, international)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 32%

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development and Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: ACT/SAT (optional)
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Official high school transcript; bacterial meningitis vaccination record if you are younger than 22 years old

Applying to Kilgore College

  1. Complete your free online application at Apply Texas and select Kilgore College.
  2. Have your official high school transcript sent to the college.
  3. Apply for financial aid, if required.
  4. Submit your ACT or SAT score or take a placement test. You should also submit your bacterial meningitis vaccination record if you are under 22.
  5. Attend orientation, then meet with an advisor and register for classes.

7

Lamar State College-Port Arthur

Port Arthur, TX

Established in 1909, Lamar State College-Port Arthur is a public community college that offers more than 30 academic and technical programs that prepare students to transfer to four-year schools or start a professional career. The school offers continuing education and workforce training programs, as well as dual credit courses to undergraduate students.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Developer and Game Design

This program is designed for students interested in computer programming, database administration, and game development. It will teach them programming languages while helping them develop their skills in creating web pages, interactive software, and databases, plus integrating training in multimedia, graphics, and animation for game design.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Developer and Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $50/semester credit hour (in state); $458/semester credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 21%

Associate of Applied Science in Software Developer and Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSI) results; campus training; bacterial meningitis vaccination record if you are under 22 years old

Applying to Lamar State College-Port Arthur

  1. Contact an enrollment counselor if you would like assistance with enrollment, then complete a free online application at ApplyTexas.
  2. Submit your official high school transcript or GED scores.
  3. Complete the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) test and the "Think About It" Campus Clarity Title IX Training online after receiving a link to the training.
  4. If you are under the age of 22, get your bacterial meningitis vaccine and submit your vaccination record.
  5. Meet with an academic advisor to register for courses, then pay tuition and fees.

8

Manchester Community College

Manchester, CT

Manchester Community College is a public community college founded in 1963. It is one of the oldest community colleges in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. It has an annual enrollment of 15,000 students, an average student age of 25, and 456 teaching faculty. It also offers over 40 associate degrees in various areas of study, plus certificate programs.

Associate in Science in Computer Game Design

This program will prepare students for a career in computer game design, programming, and production. Students will gain skills in animation, sound design, character design, game level design, 3D modeling, and computer graphics. They’ll also learn how to pitch to a game company, helping them get their dream jobs.

Associate in Science in Computer Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition and Fees: $284/semester hour (in state); $792/semester hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 16%

Associate in Science in Computer Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $20
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Measles, mumps, and varicella immunization proof; assessment tests (exceptions apply)

Applying to Manchester Community College

  1. Complete your online application and pay the $20 application fee to submit it.
  2. Apply for financial aid, if required.
  3. Take your assessment test unless you have an SAT reading and writing score of 450 or more and a mathematics score of 500 or more.
  4. Submit an official high school transcript, alongside proof of your measles, mumps, and varicella vaccinations.
  5. Sign up for new students’ orientation, then register and pay for classes.

9

Monroe County Community College

Monroe, MI

Monroe County Community College is a public two-year institution founded in 1964. It is the only higher education school in the county and has a main campus in Monroe Charter Township and another in Temperance. The school offers an application-based tuition-free service called Michigan Reconnect to students aged 25 and above who don't have a college degree.

Associate of Applied Science in Game Design and Development

This Associate of Applied Science program will equip students with advanced skills and prepare them for entry-level roles in the game development industry. The curriculum includes general education courses like calculus, composition, and social systems competency. Some of the core courses are mobile app development, 3D animation, and Adobe Photoshop graphics.

Associate of Applied Science in Game Design and Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition and Fees: $116.75/contact hour (in district); $207.50/contact hour (in state); $231/contact hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 22%

Associate of Applied Science in Game Design and Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Official high school transcripts

Applying to Monroe County Community College

  1. Complete your online application and send it for free.
  2. Submit your official transcript and standardized test scores.
  3. Complete your Accuplacer course placement test.
  4. Meet with your advisor and register for classes.
  5. Pay your tuition, get your books, and attend a mandatory orientation event.

10

South Piedmont Community College

Polkton, NC

South Piedmont Community College is a two-year college that was founded in 1962, and it’s a part of the North Carolina Community College System. It allows students to earn certificates and two-year degrees, letting them join the workforce or transfer to a four-year college. It offers career coach services to help students choose their program.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development

This program is offered in collaboration with Central Piedmont Community College. It aims to help students pursue a career in simulation and game development by equipping them with the relevant skills for the field of game design.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition and Fees: $76/credit hour (in state); $268/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 69 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 22%

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not require
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Residency Determination Service completion

Applying to South Piedmont Community College

  1. Use the Residency Determination Service to get a Residency Certification Number (RCN) that you can use within your online application.
  2. Complete and submit your free online application.
  3. Submit your official high school and college transcripts.
  4. Complete your placement test if you are advised that you need one.
  5. Meet with an assigned advisor to complete your college registration.

What Is a Game Design Associate Degree?

A game design associate degree is a degree conferred after completing a two-year program that is designed to prepare students for a game design career or for transfer to a four-year school. An Associate Degree in Game Design will usually cover game design and development, 3D modeling, 2D modeling, game programming, design concepts, photoshop graphics, and mobile app development.

Students may get hands-on experience and work on building a game developer portfolio . They will work on designing at least one gaming app before the end of the program, typically during their capstone project. Those who complete this program will be ready to pursue entry-level jobs in the gaming industry or transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree program.

How Important Is an Associate Degree in Game Design?

An Associate Degree in Game Design is not very important, because other options are available for those who would like to start a game design career. They can take a traditional, industry-standard, four-year degree, join a game design bootcamp , or take online game design courses to get the skills required to land entry-level positions.

However, an Associate Degree in Game Design is still a good, and relatively affordable, way to join the gaming industry. One of the reasons that you may opt for an Associate Degree in Game Design is that it is shorter than a four-year degree but still allows you to gain the foundational knowledge.

What Types of Associate Degree Can You Get in Game Design?

The game design associate degree types that you can get in game include an Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science. An Associate of Applied Science degree is designed to give students the skills required to start a career in the field of game design immediately after graduation.

On the other hand, an Associate of Science degree will prepare students to transfer to universities for a bachelor’s degree in their preferred fields. However, both types of Associate Degrees in Game Design provide students with foundational knowledge in the field.

Is It Better to Get an Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Science in Game Design?

It is better to get an Associate of Applied Science in Game Design if you want to start a career immediately. Meanwhile, an Associate of Science prepares you for a bachelor’s degree by equipping you with more game theory, technical skills, and knowledge. This makes it easier to transfer to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree .

As such, to identify which is better, an Associate of Applied Science or an Associate of Science in Game Design, you need to first consider your own educational and career goals. An Associate of Applied Science is the better choice for those looking to start on a career path immediately and an Associate of Science program is better for those looking to transfer to a four-year college.

What Is the Difference Between a Game Design Associate Degree and a Game Design Certificate?

The difference between an associate degree and a certificate in game design is that an associate degree program is a two-year program that equips students with technical and broader skills to become professionals in the industry. Meanwhile, a game design certificate is a shorter program used by professionals in the game industry for career growth.

A game design associate degree is for those without any prior knowledge or experience in the game design industry. However, a game design certificate is best for a game developer or designer with at least one year of work experience, as it will focus on equipping students with specific industry skills. When considering a game design certificate vs an associate degree , think about your current skills and what you would like to gain.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Associate Degree in Game Design?

It costs around $3,621 per year to get an Associate Degree in Game Design , according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This amount is based on the average cost of attending all two-year institutions, including private and public.

The typical Associate Degree in Game Design cost from a non-profit private school is $16,898, and the cost of attending a for-profit private school is $15,333. These amounts are the average tuition and fees for all schools and cover the entire program. However, the actual game design associate degree cost may be lower or higher depending on whether the program you choose is an in-state or out-of-state program.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Game Design Associate Degree?

It takes two years to get a game design associate degree. However, you can choose to get it faster. To get an Associate Degree in Game Design in less than two years, you can opt for an accelerated program , which may take about one and a half years to complete, instead. Conversely, if you can’t complete the program in two years and need more time, you can choose to do that as well.

To stretch out your Associate Degree in Game Design program length, you can reduce the number of credits you complete per semester. However, there may be a maximum number of years in which you must earn your degree, as decided by the school. This is typically five years. To complete your program in two years, you will have to take a minimum of 15 units per semester for a 60-credit program.

How Hard Is It to Get an Associate Degree in Game Design?

It is not very hard to get an Associate Degree in Game Design. The program will include introductory courses in its curriculum to set a solid foundation for its students leading up to graduation. It is also a two-year program which is shorter than other game design programs that offer advanced degrees.

Why Should You Get a Game Design Associate Degree?

You should get a game design associate degree because the program will prepare you for a career in the field. One of the benefits of an Associate Degree in Game Design is that the program’s curriculum will include the relevant knowledge and essential skills required to become a game design professional. This degree will open graduates up to career opportunities in the IT field and gaming industry.

What Courses Do You Need to Take in an Associate Degree Program in Game Design?

The Associate Degree in Game Design courses you need to take may include 3D modeling, 2D modeling, computer programming, design concepts, computer science, game design, game development, algebra, calculus, general education courses, and electives. Courses in an Associate Degree in Game Design program cover a variety of technical topics. To learn more about the required subjects, check out the Associate Degree in Game Design course list below.

3D Modeling

This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts, principles, and practices of 3D modeling. Students will learn about the tools used to create 3D animations and models. They will learn to develop polygonal 3D models and explore the basics of materials, lighting, texture mapping, and rendering.

Game Design

This course will teach students the theoretical and practical aspects of the game development and design process. They will learn the fundamentals of game design, current trends and practices in the field, and how to use mechanics to create and control feedback systems, emergent gameplay, and establish game balance.

Programming

This course will teach students the concepts of object oriented programming languages for game development and game development tools. Programming languages are essential for the design and development of games, and this program will introduce students to the different relevant programming languages that can be used for this purpose.

Algebra

This course is an introductory course for students in math and science programs. It will prepare them for the major courses to be taken in the rest of their program. It will cover topics such as solving equations, solving inequalities, basic function operations, and functions. It may also cover sequences, series, probability, and conics.

General Education Courses

Students must complete a specific number of general education courses during their associate program. The courses include English composition, business calculus, public speaking, technical and business writing, interpersonal communication, psychology, and sociology. These courses are a requirement, especially for those who want to transfer to four-year schools.

Continuing Education Paths for Game Design Associate Degree Graduates

Associate Degree in Game Design graduates can choose to continue their education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university. They can also choose to get game design certificates for career growth after a few years of work experience.

Neither of these options is compulsory, but they are recommended for career advancement. The best path to take with a game design associate degree is to move on to a four-year university.

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What to Look For in the Best Game Design Associate Degree Programs

The things to look for in the best game design associate degree programs are the cost of the program, accreditation, flexibility, admission requirements, and opportunities for continuing education. You can find more details on these five important attributes of an Associate Degree in Game Design program, below.

Cost

A good game design associate degree program should be affordable, compared to four-year degree programs. The tuition and fees should be such that low-income students can also afford to pay with the backup of financial aid to avoid excessive student debt.

Flexibility

The program should be flexible by offering different learning formats like online, in-person, hybrid, part-time, and full-time formats. This makes it easy for working professionals who want to transition or change careers to join the program without hassle.

Accreditation

Accreditation is used to determine the quality of a program. An accredited program means that the curriculum and facilities meet or exceed the program standards and will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills required for the field of game design. Accredited schools can be regionally accredited or nationally accredited.

Continuing Education

A good associate degree program should offer students a chance to continue their education. This means that they should be able to transfer the credits earned towards a higher degree. It also means that the skills learned during the program will enable students to join the workforce and pursue professional certifications later in their careers.

Admission Barriers

The program should be void of admission barriers or have few compared to other higher institutions. Admission barriers may include standardized tests, a minimum GPA requirement, admissions interviews, letters of recommendation, an official resume, high tuition, or a personal essay. These are options that could get in the way of students being accepted into the program.

What Is the Most Affordable Game Design Associate Degree?

The most affordable Associate Degree in Game Design is Lamar State College-Port Arthur’s Associate of Applied Science in Software Developer and Game Design program. The program’s tuition for full-time, in-state students works out at $3,000 for the full program, excluding additional fees.

Salary and Job Outlook for Game Design Associate Degree Graduates

 A woman playing a video game on a gaming PC Best Game Design Associate Degrees
After developing an attractive portfolio during your associate degree program, you can approach game development companies as a professional game designer.

There are several employment opportunities for graduates with an Associate Degree in Game Design. They can work in the education, business, video game, and technology industries. Some popular game design associate degree jobs include working as a computer programmer, game designer, game developer, or special effects artist. These roles all offer a lucrative Associate in Game Design salary.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Game Design Associate Degree?

It is not very hard to get a job with a game design associate degree. Schools that offer these programs also prepare their students for the labor market by providing career services and helping them to build an interactive design portfolio. Career services may include career coaching, interview prep, resume writing, internship opportunities, and industry partnerships.

What’s the Average Game Design Associate Degree Salary?

The average salary for an Associate Degree in Game Design is $52,000, according to PayScale. The specific game design associate degree salary may differ depending on the job, level of expertise, experience, industry, and company. For instance, 3D character artists earn an average of $46,426 per year, while game producers earn an annual average of $58,143.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Game Design Associate Degree?

The types of jobs you can get with a game design degree are jobs with video game companies, business organizations, software companies, healthcare companies, education companies, and media companies. The available jobs with a game design associate degree all naturally revolve around technology. As such, they typically all pay well.

Game Design Degree Jobs

  • Game Developer
  • Graphic Designer
  • 3D Animator
  • Game Programmer
  • Audio Engineer

Potential Careers With a Game Design Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Associate Degree in Game Design?

You can make between $50,000 and $130,000 per year with an Associate Degree in Game Design. However, the average money that game design majors make out of college may differ based on different factors, including the industry, company, job role, skill level, and experience level.

The following section covers a list of some of the highest-paying game design associate degree jobs and salaries for degree holders. This list can help you decide on the best area to focus on after earning your degree.

Highest-Paying Game Design Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Game Design Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Software Developer $110,140
Special Effects Artist and Animator $78,790
Digital Designer $77,200
Mobile App Developer $75,866
Video Game Designer $67,604

Best Jobs for Game Design Associate Degree Grads

Below is more detailed information on the best jobs for a game design associate degree holder. This section covers the average salaries, job outlook, number of jobs, and highest-paying states for each job. It will also help you understand the job description for each of the best jobs for an Associate Degree in Game Design program graduate.

1

Software Developer

Average Salary: $110,140

Software developers design, build, install, and test software applications for computer systems. They develop clean and efficient code based on client specifications and user expectations. They also conduct research before designing the application and work to maintain it after installation.

2

Special Effects Artist and Animator

Average Salary: $78,790

Special effects artists and animators are professionals who create 2D and 3D models and animations. They develop models, moving images, and visual effects for the media industry, such as those found in television, music, and video games.

3

Digital Designer

Average Salary: $77,200

Digital designers design, create, test, and manage digital assets for multimedia and graphics projects. They ensure that the products delivered are effective, aesthetically pleasing, and fit the requirements for the project. They typically work on websites, web pages, product graphics, mobile apps, animation, social media, and other online content.

4

Mobile App Developer

Average Salary: $75,866

A mobile app developer works to design, develop, install, test, and maintain applications for mobile devices. They write the code using app development and programming skills to ensure that the applications are user-friendly, functional, and aesthetically pleasing, based on the client’s requirements and specifications.

5

Video Game Designer

Average Salary: $67,604

More commonly known as game designers , these professionals are in charge of originating the ideas and concepts of video games. They will develop the stories, characters, settings, environment, rules, and props of the video game. They will then write the code required to bring these ideas to life alongside game developers.

Best Jobs According to Your Major

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Is an Associate Degree in Game Design Worth It?

Yes, an Associate Degree in Game Design is worth it if you want to quickly join the video game design industry and start a rewarding career in the field. However, the typical and traditional educational path for this career is to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science and related fields.

With an associate degree, you can gain the knowledge and skills needed to become a professional and join the workforce. You will also get career services that will prepare you for the labor market, make your job hunting easier, and give you a competitive advantage. Further, you can also choose to transfer the credits earned in the program to a bachelor’s degree program.

Additional Reading About Game Design

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Game Design Associate Degree FAQ

Can you be a game designer with an associate degree?

Yes, you can be a game designer with an associate degree. An associate degree is designed to prepare you for a career by equipping you with the relevant technical skills needed to join the field of game design. With this degree, you can choose to get a job immediately after completion or transfer to a university.

What degree should you get for game design?

For game design, you can get either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. The option you choose will depend on how much time you’re willing to put into getting an education and how much you can afford to spend on it. This is because Associate Degrees in Game Design are shorter and more affordable than bachelor’s degrees from four-year colleges.

How do I start a career in game design?

You can start a career in game design by getting a game design certificate, earning an Associate Degree in Game Design and Development, or earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design, Computer Science , or related fields. You can also choose to join a coding bootcamp or take online classes.

Do video game designers get paid well?

Yes, video game designers get paid well. According to PayScale, the average annual salary of video game designers is $67,604. However, the specific amount will vary based on different factors such as industry, company, skill level, and years of professional experiences.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Medinah Aina

About the author: Medinah is an expert copywriter and web designer, helping people learn more about education and careers in technology. She values in-depth research and providing accurate, helpful information. Medinah holds a BSc in Social Work from the University of Lagos and an Eduonix Certification in copywriting.

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