If you’re looking for the cheapest animation schools, a few options stand out from the rest. Animation is a broad subject that may include majors in motion graphics, special effects, 3D animation, game design, digital media design, graphic design, and virtual technology. There are excellent animation schools in the US, but some of them can be pretty expensive.
Our list of the most affordable animation schools can help you find not only the cheapest animation degree program, but also the right one for your career goals. If you want to pursue a career in animation but don’t want to break the bank doing so, then read on.
What Are the Most Affordable Animation Schools in the US?
The most affordable animation schools with the lowest tuition in the US include Antelope Valley College, Gulf Coast State College, and Aims Community College. More of the most affordable animation schools offering the lowest average annual cost include Indian River State College, Gulf Coast State College, and Aims Community College.
How Much Do the Cheapest Animation Schools Cost?
The cheapest animation schools cost between $1,100 and $12,000 per year in terms of tuition only. The total average annual cost for the cheapest animation schools ranges from $3,000 to $17,500. This depends on your location and the school you choose.
Cheapest Animation Schools Cost Breakdown
- Tuition and fees. Tuition and fees are the most important components of the total cost. The fees include, but are not limited to, student fees, application fees, sports and recreation fees, and student ID card fees.
- Books and other items. Books are also a major expense and can cost up to $500 per semester. Other items may include a backpack, a laptop, and notebooks.
- Accommodation. Many students choose to live in on-campus housing or apartments near their schools. The accommodation cost includes rent, any separate utility bills, and meals.
- Health insurance. Health insurance for college students is a must, which is why we’ve included it in the total cost of attendance.
- Transport. The cost of transportation can be a big factor for students who live off campus and use public or personal transport to get to school every day.
Why You Should Attend an Animation School
You should attend an animation school because animation is a field that is growing rapidly. There are many opportunities for those who have the skills to work in this field. An animation school will also allow you to network with other professionals in the field and make contacts that can help you in your career.
Best Animation School Career Options
The best animation career options include motion graphics designer, video game animator, television animator, art director, storyboard artist, special effects artist, graphic designer, and drafter.
The job outlook for animators is positive. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for animators is expected to rise by 16 percent between 2020 and 2030, with 7,800 job openings for animators anticipated each year.
The average salary for animators in the US is $57,622, according to PayScale. If you have an animation degree, this number can get even higher. A master’s degree is a great choice if you want to earn a higher salary. Getting more work experience can also help.
Can You Attend Animation School for Free?
No, you cannot attend animation school for free. However, there are many scholarships and financial aid options available that can help you offset the cost of attendance. You can also find some free courses on animation and related fields such as video graphics, game design, visual arts, digital media, and graphic design on the MIT OpenCourseWare website and others.
Cheapest Animation Schools That Won’t Break the Bank
|School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Graduation Rate|
|Antelope Valley College||$1,124||$6,980||29%|
|Gulf Coast State College||$2,370||$8,635||63%|
|Aims Community College||$2,762||$10,418||40%|
|Indian River State College||$2,764||$10,201||50%|
|New Mexico State University-Main Campus||$7,301||$23,767||50%|
|Morgan State University||$8,008||$18,479||44%|
|University of Idaho||$8,340||$27,576||59%|
|Ball State University||$10,290||$27,524||68%|
|Arizona State University||$11,348||$29,438||66%|
|Ohio State University||$11,936||$35,019||88%|
What Are the Cheapest Animation Schools? A Deep Dive
Antelope Valley College (AVC) is a community college in Lancaster, California. It is part of the 116-campus California Community Colleges system. AVC offers a wide variety of programs and services, including its famous career technical education programs. The school was founded in 1929 and currently has a total headcount of more than 18,000 students.
Antelope Valley College Overview
- Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 33%
- US News National Ranking: Unranked
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $32,684
- Animation Degrees Offered: Certificate, Associate of Arts
Top Animation Degrees at Antelope Valley College
- Computer Animation Certificate. This is a 30-credit certificate program that focuses on the basic concepts of drawing, character design, Adobe photoshop, 2D and 3D computer animation, and digital illustration.
- Associate in Arts in Computer Animation. The 60-credit Associate in Arts in Computer Animation degree program provides students with a broad range of knowledge and skills in the field of computer animation. Students will be well-equipped for entry-level roles in the computer animation sector after completing this program.
- Associate in Arts in Digital Photographic Imaging. The digital photographic imaging program at Antelope Valley College can help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a career in photography. The program offers courses in Photoshop, graphic communication, digital printing and imaging, and other aspects of the field.
Antelope Valley College Animation Key Takeaway
The computer animation programs at Antelope Valley College offer diverse and unique courses.
Gulf Coast State College is one of the best community colleges in Florida. It offers more than 150 programs, and local high school graduates who enroll full time, as first-time college students, receive a $1,400-per-year scholarship from the college. Gulf Coast State College was founded in 1957 and is located in Panama City, Florida.
Gulf Coast State College Overview
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 37%
- US News National Ranking: Unranked
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $33,027
- Animation Degrees Offered: Certificate, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Applied Science
Top Animation Degrees at Gulf Coast State College
- Digital Media and Multimedia Web Production Certificate. This certificate program requires 15 credits in coursework and gives students the strong foundation they need to pursue more advanced studies in digital media production. The program focuses on web design and production and manipulation of audio, video, and animations.
- Associate of Science in Digital Media and Multimedia Technology. The digital media associate degree provides students with a fundamental education in the use of digital tools for videos, games, and animations. Through the project-based curriculum, students gain essential skills in areas such as animation, graphics, and user experience design.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Media and Web Development Specialist. If you're passionate about web development and want to learn more about how to create animations for the web, then this four-year Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Media and Web Development Specialist program could be for you.
Gulf Coast State College Animation Key Takeaway
The digital media lab at Gulf Coast State College is a cutting-edge facility where students may learn about and work with a wide range of digital media.
Aims Community College was founded in 1967 and is one of the most affordable public community colleges in Colorado. It has four campuses and offers small class sizes. Additionally, its state-of-the-art facilities make it a great choice for those looking for top-quality education. The school offers more than 200 programs in 50 subjects.
Aims Community College Overview
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 33%
- US News National Ranking: N/A
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $40,288
- Animation Degrees Offered: Certificate, Associate of Applied Science
Top Animation Degrees at Aims Community College
- Animation Certificate. The 18-credit animation certificate program at Aims Community College prepares students for a career in the field of animation. Through hands-on experience, students learn 2D and 3D digital animation skills using Maya, Photoshop, and other tools.
- Graphics, Web, and Motion Certificate. This certificate provides students with fundamental skills in motion graphics design, digital effects, and sound design. The 24 credit hours of coursework cover topics such as storyboarding, animation, and video editing. All the credits are fully transferable to the associate degree program.
- Associate of Applied Science in Animation. If you want to learn cutting-edge animation software and create amazing 2D and 3D animations, then this Associate of Applied Science program is perfect for you. You'll learn Maya, Toon Boom Harmony, ZBrush, character design, and much more to create stunning animations that will grab attention and wow your audiences.
Aims Community College Animation Key Takeaway
Aims Community College's animation programs are focused on animation software and are career oriented.
Indian River State College was founded in 1959 and has grown into one of the largest colleges in Florida. Students can pursue technical certificates, associate degrees, diplomas, and bachelor's degrees in a variety of fields. IRSC is the second most affordable college in the US, according to the US Department of Education, and a great choice for those looking for affordable, high-quality education.
Indian River State College Overview
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 39%
- US News National Ranking: N/A
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $34,018
- Animation Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor of Applied Science
Top Animation Degrees at Indian River State College
- Associate of Science in Digital Media Technology. As digital media technology rapidly evolves, so do the career opportunities available to those with the right training. This Associate of Science in Digital Media Technology can lead to an exciting, rewarding career as an animation specialist, digital media producer, or desktop publisher.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Animation, Gaming, and Modeling. Indian River State College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Animation, Gaming, and Modeling that can be completed in four years. The curriculum covers everything from 3D modeling and animation to game development.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Graphic Design and Visual Communication. This program emphasizes the creative process, from concept development to final product, and includes comprehensive learning in typography, layout, color theory, printmaking, graphic design, special effects and animations, and photography.
Indian River State College Animation Key Takeaway
IRSC’s animation programs are among the most affordable in the nation, with many financial aid options available.
New Mexico State University is the oldest public university in the state of New Mexico. It was founded in 1888, and today it has five campuses and 14,227 students. The institution offers more than 180 degree programs and receives a significant amount of funding for science and technology initiatives.
New Mexico State University Overview
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Acceptance Rate: 63%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 52%
- US News National Ranking: 227
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $36,683
- Animation Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Creative Media
Top Animation Degrees at New Mexico State University
- Bachelor of Creative Media in Animation and Visual Effects. This bachelor's degree offers two distinct pathways: 2D production studio and 3D and VFX production studio. The 2D production studio pathway focuses on traditional hand-drawn animation, while the 3D and VFX production studio pathway focuses on computer-generated animation and visual effects.
New Mexico State University Animation Key Takeaway
The bachelor's degree is offered via two distinct pathways, and students can select the pathway of their choice.
Morgan State University is a historically Black university that was founded in 1867. The university has a focus on research and has 12 schools and colleges. Morgan State University is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and provides students with a variety of educational opportunities.
Morgan State University Overview
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Acceptance Rate: 74%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 45%
- US News National Ranking: 299-391
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $43,075
- Animation Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts
Top Animation Degrees at Morgan State University
- Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts. The Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts degree is offered in four tracks: art history, graphic design, illustration, and multimedia studio. The latter three include courses in animation, drawing, computer graphics, and typography.
- Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting and Animation. The Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting and Animation is a four-year degree that combines theory and practice. Students can choose from three tracks: computer animation, film and television writing, and integrated media writing and animation.
Morgan State University Animation Key Takeaway
Both animation bachelor's degrees are offered in different tracks that make it easy for students to select their desired pathway.
If you're looking for a great value in higher education, the University of Idaho (UI) is hard to beat. Founded in 1889, the university is located in the beautiful city of Moscow, Idaho. UI offers more than 300 degrees for undergraduates and graduate students, and many of the programs are nationally ranked.
University of Idaho Overview
- Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Acceptance Rate: 74%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 59%
- US News National Ranking: 179
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $48,272
- Animation Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Science
Top Animation Degree at the University of Idaho
- Bachelor of Science in Virtual Technology and Design. This degree program prepares students for careers in virtual technology and the gaming industry. Students learn about virtual technologies for gaming, simulations, animated films, storytelling, business, and education. The program provides a solid foundation in computer science, math, and physics.
University of Idaho Animation Key Takeaway
The school’s animation program has a high ranking, and it’s great for tech-oriented animators.
Ball State University was founded in 1918 in Indiana and is one of the best and most affordable universities in the Midwest. The school offers a variety of highly ranked undergraduate and graduate programs. About 80 percent of Ball State’s students receive financial aid.
Ball State University Overview
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Acceptance Rate: 87%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 61%
- US News National Ranking: 202
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $45,934
- Animation Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts
Top Animation Degrees at Ball State University
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and Animation. Pursuing this Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and Animation allows you to develop a broad range of knowledge and skills in 2D and 3D design, visual development, character animation, and texture. Additionally, you will gain proficiency in industry-standard animation software.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication. This Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication program emphasizes typography, motion graphics animation, illustration, digital design, and wayfinding systems. The program provides students with a solid foundation in graphic design principles and practices.
Ball State University Animation Key Takeaway
The faculty includes working professionals from the film and animation industry, which means it’s great for networking.
Arizona State University (ASU) was founded in 1885 and today has an enrollment of over 77,000 students. The university offers more than 800 undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate programs, many of which are highly ranked. ASU is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative universities in the nation.
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Arizona State University Overview
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Acceptance Rate: 88%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 64%
- US News National Ranking: 117
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $55,749
- Animation Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Science
Top Animation Degrees at Arizona State University
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation program prepares students for careers in animation, video game design, augmented and virtual reality, medical illustrations, and robotics fields. The program provides students with the technical and artistic abilities necessary to create successful animations.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Media Production. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Media Production is a four-year undergraduate degree that provides students with a comprehensive education in filmmaking. The curriculum emphasizes practical production experience that prepares students to work as a professional animator, media editor, producer, or visual effects artist.
- Master of Arts in Narrative and Emerging Media. This two-year Master of Arts in Narrative and Emerging Media is a unique program that emphasizes augmented reality, extended reality, virtual reality, 360 video, short-form digital video, animated graphics, and documentary production.
Arizona State University Animation Key Takeaway
The animation programs at Arizona State University are highly ranked in the nation, with many financial aid options available. Moreover, internships are required to complete the degree, giving students practical experience in the field.
Ohio State University is one of the largest and most respected universities in the United States. Founded in 1870 in Columbus, Ohio, it has a long history of academic excellence. The university offers a wide range of programs and degrees, and its faculty are among the best in the country.
Ohio State University Overview
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Acceptance Rate: 68%
- Overall Graduation Rate: 77%
- US News National Ranking: 49
- Post-Grad Median Salary: $55,332
- Animation Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Fine Arts
Top Animation Degrees at Ohio State University
- Bachelor of Arts in Moving-Image Production. This Bachelor of Arts in Moving-Image Production program provides a broad knowledge of media production in animation, storytelling, documentary, and visual literacy. The skills include video editing, motion graphics, and sound design.
- Master of Fine Arts in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. The MFA in Digital Animation and Interactive Media is a creative degree that emphasizes gaining the technical skills and artistic vision needed to create professional-level work in the area of performance animations, real-time graphics and virtual environments, interactive animations, and game art.
- Master of Fine Arts in Design Research and Development. This is a multidisciplinary degree that focuses on design research and development, design problems, and design practices. The program emphasizes research methods, critical thinking, and creative problem solving within the context of design. Careers include but are not limited to design researcher, motion graphic designer, and design strategist.
Ohio State University Animation Key Takeaway
Internships are part of OSU’s animation degree programs to expose students to the work environment of an animation studio.
Paying for Animation School With Financial Aid
Many animation schools offer financial assistance in the form of grants and scholarships. There are also a number of scholarships open to students interested in working in the animation field. In addition, the federal government helps reduce the financial burden for students through grants, loans, and other aid.
Federal grants are need-based scholarships given to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. Some examples of federal grants include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants.
Federal loans are low-interest student loans that can be used to pay for tuition costs and other education-related expenses. A loan is a type of grant that you must repay after completing your education and getting a job. The most common federal loans include Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.
Private loans are non-federal loans that are provided by private lenders, such as banks and credit unions. Private loans typically have higher interest rates than federal loans, but they may offer flexible repayment options. Private lenders include but are not limited to Earnest, College Ave, Credible, Sallie Mae, and Citizens.
Work study is a federally funded program that provides part-time jobs (jobs in civic education or in work related to your course of study) for undergraduate and graduate students with financial needs. The earnings from a Work Study job can be used to help pay for education-related expenses.
There are several scholarships available to students interested in a career in animation. Some of the private scholarships for animation students include the Future Designer Scholarship, AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships, Society of Illustrators Scholarships, and Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Foundation Scholarship (AIAS), which are explored in the sections below.
Best Schools For Your Area of Study
How to Apply for Federal Aid to Finance Your Animation School Program
To apply for federal aid, you will need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA online form is used to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid. To complete the form, you will need to provide information about your household income and assets, as well as your school’s cost of attendance.
- Step 1. Create an FSA ID. The FSA ID is used to electronically sign the FAFSA form. You may need to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and contact information.
- Step 2. Next, you will need to complete the FAFSA form, which requires information about your household income and assets, as well as your school’s cost of attendance. You may also need to submit some documents required by FAFSA.
- Step 3. Once you have completed the FAFSA form, the Department of Education will then determine your eligibility for federal financial aid. Once the Department of Education has processed your FAFSA form, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is a document that summarizes the information you provided on the FAFSA form.
- Step 4. Once you have received your SAR, you should review it to ensure that the information is accurate. If you need to make any corrections to the SAR, you can do so by logging in to your FSA ID account.
- Step 5. After that, you will receive different scholarship offers from your school based on your eligibility. Select the type of financial aid that suits your needs. Your school will then release funds for your financial aid.
Best Animation Scholarships
- Future Designer Scholarship | Amount: $2,000. The Future Designer Scholarship is available to high school seniors and current college students who are interested in pursuing a career in animation, graphic design, or web design. One scholarship is awarded every year.
- AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships | Amount: $2,000-$3,000. The AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships assist financially needy students pursuing illustration, photography, or design degrees at US colleges and universities. The scholarships range from $2,000 to $3,000.
- Society of Illustrators Scholarships | Amount: Varies by Applicant. The Society of Illustrators offers 25 scholarships to talented students every year who plan to pursue a career in illustration. The scholarships are awarded based on the merits of the applicant’s portfolio, as well as their academic record and demonstrated financial need.
- Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Foundation Scholarship (AIAS) | Amount: $2,500. If you’re passionate about video games and want to pursue a career in animation, engineering, game direction, sound design, or game design, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Foundation Scholarship could be a great opportunity for you.
Cheapest Undergraduate Animation Schools
The cheapest undergraduate animation schools that offer the most affordable animation degree programs include Indian River State College, New Mexico State University, Morgan State University, and Ball State University. You can also read about the cheapest animation bachelor’s degrees below.
Most Affordable Animation Associate Degree Programs
- Antelope Valley College | Associate of Arts in Computer Animation | Program Tuition: $2,248. The Associate of Arts in Computer Animation degree offers students a comprehensive education and set of abilities in computer animation. Students will be well-versed in computer animation and technical fundamentals at the end of this program.
- Gulf Coast State College | Associate of Science in Digital Media and Multimedia Technology | Program Tuition: $4,740. This 60-credit Associate of Science in Digital Media and Multimedia Technology degree program provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue entry-level positions in the digital media and animation industry.
- Aims Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Animation | Program Tuition: $5,524. This degree program requires 60 credit hours and typically takes two years to complete. Major coursework includes digital effects, digital animatics, motion graphics design, and animation production.
- Indian River State College | Associate of Science in Digital Media Technology | Program Tuition: $5,528. Credits from this two-year Associate of Science in Digital Media Technology program can be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program in animation or a related field.
- Miami Dade College | Associate in Arts in Computer Arts Animation | Program Tuition: $7,093. This degree program is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the computer animation field. The coursework covers everything from 3D modeling and graphic design to animation and animation dynamics.
Most Affordable Animation Bachelor’s Degree Programs
- Indian River State College | Bachelor of Applied Science in Animation, Gaming, and Modeling | Program Tuition: $11,056. This Bachelor of Applied Science with a concentration in Animation, Gaming, and Modeling focuses on the design and creation of 3D computer graphics, character animation, and level design. Students will also learn about game programming and game engines.
- New Mexico State University | Bachelor of Creative Media in Animation and Visual Effects | Program Tuition: $29,204. The Bachelor of Creative Media in Animation and Visual Effects is a four-year, 120-credit-hour program that trains students in the latest animation and visual development techniques. The program emphasizes both theory and practice, giving students a well-rounded education in the field.
- Morgan State University | Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting and Animation | Program Tuition: $32,032. At Morgan State University, the Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting and Animation program focuses on animation, screenwriting, editing, hybrid media, game design, graphic novels, and comics. Students are taught technical proficiency in all aspects of the animation and screenwriting field.
- University of Idaho | Bachelor of Science in Virtual Technology and Design | Program Tuition: $33,360. The Bachelor of Science in Virtual Technology and Design is a four-year degree accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The program provides students with hands-on experience in design labs and studios, allowing them to develop the skills necessary to create immersive virtual environments.
- Ball State University | Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and Animation | Program Tuition: $41,160. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and Animation is a nationally ranked program that can prepare you for a career in gaming, medical animation, product visualization, and architectural rendering. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Cheapest Graduate Schools for Animation
The cheapest graduate schools offering master’s degree programs in animation are SUNY College at Oswego, Arizona State University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. These schools offer affordable, top-notch master’s degree programs in animation. We’ve also included four reputable, affordable schools offering PhDs in Animation.
Most Affordable Schools for Master’s Degrees in Animation
- SUNY College at Oswego | Master of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media | Program Tuition: $14,130. This Master of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media program requires 30 credits with a curriculum focused on motion design, interaction design, and graphic design. Check it out if you’re looking for a cheap college in New York.
- Arizona State University | Master of Arts in Narrative and Emerging Media | Program Tuition: $23,440. The MA in Narrative and Emerging Media is a 30-credit degree that equips students for jobs in augmented reality, virtual reality, and immersive storytelling. The program emphasizes the use of new media technologies to create and communicate narratives across multiple platforms.
- Virginia Commonwealth University | Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts: Kinetic Imaging | Program Tuition: $25,236. The Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts with a concentration in Kinetic Imaging provides students with a broad range of knowledge in topics such as video art, animated arts, sound art, emerging media, augmented and virtual reality, and motion capture.
- Ohio State University | Master of Fine Arts in Digital Animation and Interactive Media | Program Tuition: $34,680. This Master of Fine Arts in Digital Animation and Interactive Media is a three-year program. The program includes 60 credits of animation courses, thesis projects, and writing development, which helps students enter the ever-changing field of digital media.
Most Affordable PhDs in Animation Universities
- University of California-Santa Cruz | PhD in Film & Digital Media | Program Tuition: $35,000-$52,000. The University of California-Santa Cruz’s PhD program in Film & Digital Media is one of the most highly respected programs in the US, and its faculty are some of the most experienced animation professionals in the industry. If you’re looking to get a top-notch education in video and digital media production, this is the place to be.
- Georgia Institute of Technology | PhD in Digital Media | Program Tuition: $44,000-$66,000. The Georgia Institute of Technology has a PhD in Digital Media that provides both theoretical and hands-on experience in the field. The program prepares students for careers as digital media researchers in academia and industry.
- University of Washington | PhD in Digital Arts and Experimental Media | Program Tuition: $50,000-$75,000. The University of Washington’s PhD in Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DAEM) is a three-phase program consisting of coursework and qualifying exams, a general exam, and a final project. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary research and creativity.
- Temple University | PhD in Documentary Arts and Visual Research | Program Tuition: $52,164. If you’re looking to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking or want to engage in visual research at the highest level, then this PhD in Documentary Arts and Visual Research is a great option for you. The total time allowed to complete the degree is three years.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Online PhD Programs
How to Choose a Good and Affordable Animation School
When it comes to choosing an affordable animation school, there are a few things you should keep in mind, including accreditation, tuition and fees, the reputation of the school, financial aid options, and career outcomes.
Accreditated colleges have proof that the program meets certain standards set by the accrediting agency. Cheapest schools may not always have proper accreditation. When choosing the cheapest school for animation, make sure that it is an accredited institution.
Tuition and Fees
Of course, you would want to choose a school with the lowest tuition possible. But sometimes schools with higher tuition offer more financial aid options. It is important to consider both factors when making your decision.
The Reputation of the School
The reputation of the school can affect your career outcome after graduation. Cheaper schools may not have the same kind of reputation as more expensive schools. Although reputation isn’t everything, a school with a good reputation can make your job search easier and more successful.
Financial Aid Options
When you are looking for an affordable school, it is important to consider the available financial aid options. Some schools offer more scholarships and grants than others. Be sure to research the financial aid options before making your final decision.
The goal of going to school is to get a job after graduation or to pursue further education. When you are looking for an affordable school, be sure to look into the placement rates of recent graduates.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending Animation School
- Pursue scholarships. One of the great ways to save money is to apply for scholarships. There are many scholarships available for animation students.
- Work part-time. Another way to save money is to get a part-time job. This can help you cover some of your expenses while attending school.
- Consider distance education. You may choose to attend an online animation program if available. Online degree programs are typically cheaper than traditional on-campus programs.
- Travel wisely. Use public transportation or carpool with some peers. This can help you save money on gas and parking fees.
- Buy used. Buy used textbooks and other supplies. This can help you save a lot of money on your textbook costs.
Cheapest Online Schools for Animation
The cheapest online schools for animation include the University of Florida, Rasmussen University, Southern New Hampshire University, Franklin University, and Baker College.
|University of Florida||$129.18/credit (resident); $552.62/credit (non-resident)||91%|
|Southern New Hampshire University||$320/credit||39%|
Most Affordable Online Animation Bachelor’s Programs
- University of Florida | Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences | Program Tuition: $129.18/credit (resident); $552.62/credit (non-resident). This online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences is one of the most affordable online degrees in the nation. Graduates with this degree can find work as 2D and 3D animators, motion graphics animators, technical animators, game designers, character modelers, visual effects artists, or character artists.
- Rasmussen University | Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design | Program Tuition: $229/credit. This online program focuses on the latest software and tools used in the industry, as well as design theory and principles. Students learn how to effectively communicate ideas through visual media and how to create designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
- Southern New Hampshire University | Bachelor of Arts in Game Design | Program Tuition: $320/credit. Southern New Hampshire University offers this game design program with 120 credits that will give you the abilities and knowledge you need to thrive in the field. You’ll learn how to use 2D and 3D software to create 3D models and illustrations, lighting and shading, character animation, and more.
- Franklin University | Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media Design | Program Tuition: $398/credit. Franklin University’s online Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media Design is a 120-credit program with a project-based curriculum. The curriculum focuses on using industry-standard software and tools, and students are given the opportunity to work on real-world projects with customers.
- Baker College | Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development | Program Tuition: $435/credit. The online Bachelor’s in Game Software Development at Baker College will give you the skills and knowledge you need to develop video games for a variety of platforms. You’ll learn about game programming, game design, virtual and extended reality, and other animation techniques.
Most Affordable Online Animation Master’s Programs
- Liberty University | Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design | Program Tuition: $565/credit. Liberty University’s online Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design is a 60-credit-hour program that allows students to transfer up to 50 percent of the degree total. The program is designed to help students prepare for jobs as graphic designers, advertising specialists, animators, and web designers.
- Ball State University | Master of Arts in Emerging Media Design and Development | Program Tuition: $573/credit. This hybrid program is perfect for students with a background in graphic design, animation, photography, programming, and videography. The 18 credit hours of lab experience is a great way to get hands-on experience with the latest media technologies.
- George Mason University | Master of Fine Arts in Visual and Performing Arts | Program Tuition: $709.70/credit. The Master of Fine Arts in Visual and Performing Arts from George Mason University is a professional degree for artists that prepares them for careers in the arts. The program provides intensive study in the visual and performing arts, with an emphasis on creative research and practice.
- Full Sail University | Master of Science in Game Design | Program Tuition: $780/credit. Full Sail University’s Master of Science in Game Design degree program is all about game design, production, and user experience research. The 12-month program teaches students the skills and knowledge to succeed in the gaming industry.
- Lynn University | Master of Science in Communication: Digital Media | Program Tuition: $950/credit. In this online master’s program, you’ll learn how to use the latest design software, create animations and motion graphics, and tell stories that capture your audience’s attention. With a focus on creativity and innovation, you’ll be prepared to take your career to the next level.
Will Attending an Online Animation School Save Me Money?
Yes, attending an online animation school will save you money. One of the reasons for this is that online programs don’t have the same overhead costs as on-campus programs. Additionally, online students don’t have to pay for things like room and board, transportation, and other associated costs.
Benefits of Online Animation Programs
- Flexibility. One of the great benefits of online animation programs is the flexibility that they offer. Students can typically complete classes at their own speed and on their own schedule.
- Affordability. Online animation programs typically cost less than traditional on-campus programs. This is one of the major advantages of online programs.
- Ability to keep working. Online programs are also a great option for students who need to work while attending school. Students can typically work around their course schedule.
- Ability to meet family obligations. Additionally, online programs are a great option for students who have family obligations. Students can typically take courses at times that work around their family schedules.
- Variety. Many online animation programs offer a variety of courses. This provides students with the ability to personalize their education to their own particular interests and requirements.
Highest-Paying Animation Careers
|Animation Job||Animation Degree||Average Salary|
|Art Director||Bachelor’s Degree||$100,890|
|Special Effects Artists and Animator||Bachelor’s Degree||$78,790|
|Film and Video Editor||Bachelor’s Degree||$62,680|
|Graphic Designer||Bachelor’s Degree||$50,710|
Best Animation Jobs Explained
The best animation jobs are typically those that offer the most creative freedom and good salaries. Some of the best animation jobs include special effects artist and animator, art director, graphic designer, drafter, and film and video editor.
Overall Job Growth: 11%
Highest-paying States: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Oregon
Art directors are responsible for the overall visual style and appearance of a publication, product, or project. They work closely with photographers, animators, editors, publishers, producers, and graphic designers to ensure that the final product meets the desired objectives.
Overall Job Growth: 16%
Highest-paying States: Connecticut, California, Washington, New York, and District of Columbia
Special effects artists and animators create realistic or stylized images of characters, objects, backgrounds, and events for animation films, television shows, commercials, video games, or other products. They create two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) images using computer animation or modeling programs.
Overall Job Growth: 29%
Highest-paying States: New York, New Hampshire, California, District of Columbia, and Connecticut
As a film and video editor, you will be responsible for assembling recorded raw material into a finished product that tells a story or communicates a message in a compelling way. Editors work with video footage, audio recordings, animations, and photographs to create a finished product.
Overall Job Growth: -2%
Highest-paying States: Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and Georgia
Drafters use computer-aided design (CAD) software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. They create 2D and 3D models of different structures. Even though the job outlook is declining, there are still many jobs in this field.
Overall Job Growth: 3%
Highest-paying States: District of Columbia, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, and California
Graphic designers are responsible for the illustration, visual style, images in magazines and product packaging, motion graphics, and movie and television productions. They define the project's overall design and guide individuals who create artwork or layouts.
Animation Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Most Affordable Animation Schools
We chose the most affordable animation colleges based on tuition and general costs information from the schools’ official websites, the US Department of Education’s database of accredited schools, and the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard tool.
Additional Reading About Animation
[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/animation/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/best-schools-for-animation/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/animation-projects/
Cheapest Animation Schools FAQ
Yes. Animation is a good career for those who are creative and have a passion for art. There are many different types of animation jobs available, so there is sure to be a good fit for everyone.
Yes, you can be an animator without a degree, but it will be harder to find a job without a degree in animation or a related field. The majority of animation studios require their animators to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Animation or a related field.
There are a variety of jobs available in the animation field, ranging from traditional 2D animators to 3D modelers and everything in between. Some animators may specialize in a particular type of animation, such as character or environmental design, graphic design, and motion graphics, while others may work on a more general team creating animated films or video games.
2D animation is created by drawing characters and objects on paper or digitally and then bringing them to life through movement. 3D animation is created by creating three-dimensional models of characters and objects and then animating them on a computer.
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.