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.
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
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pursue game design apprenticeships and then, after a few years of experience, get game design certificates for career growth.
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.
Related Game Design Degrees
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
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|
|Special Effects Artist and Animator||$78,790|
|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.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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