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Best Game Development Associate Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Maia Estrera - June 15, 2022


Game development is a specialized skill in programming and design that involves the creation of digital games. Game developer jobs are high in demand worldwide and taking one of the best game development associate degrees can help you enter the field. Obtaining an Associate Degree in Game Development can help get you an entry-level position and launch your career in the industry.

Below you will find a comprehensive guide on the best Associate Degrees in Game Development and the jobs you can land with this degree. Discovering various programs’ tuition costs, admission requirements, and core courses, you’ll be able to find the best game development associate degree programs for you.

What Is Game Development?

Game development, video game development, or game dev is the art and process of creating a game. It involves conceptualizing the game mechanics and features as well as designing, building, testing, and preparing the product for its release in the market.

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Where Can I Get an Associate Degree in Game Development?

The best college where you can get an Associate Degree in Game Development is the New York Film Academy. Of course, it is important to consider factors such as distance, cost, admission requirements, and core course offered concerning your dream job. If you want an Associate Degree in Game Development, check out the schools below.

What Schools Offer the Best Game Development Associate Degrees?

  • New York Film Academy
  • Kent State University
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Joliet Junior College
  • Academy of Art University

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

The admission requirements for an Associate Degree in Game Development are a high school diploma, GED, or other recognized alternative to a high school diploma. Other degree requirements may include basic computer literacy and programming skills.

The required language for a game development associate degree is English for schools in the United States. Some programs may require prior knowledge of certain coding or programming languages such as Python, C++, or JavaScript.

Game Development Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Online application form
  • Placement test scores
  • Application fee
  • Additional materials such as recommendation letters or short essays

How to Get an Associate Degree in Game Development

You can get a game development associate degree by completing all of the necessary degree requirements. For the most part, associate degrees require 60 to 70 credits for completion, of which 15 to 20 are general education credits and 30 to 50 are core course credits.

The best way to get a game development associate degree is to stay up to date in all of your courses and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.

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

You need 60 to 70 credits for an Associate Degree in Game Development. These credit hours are made up of general education courses, core courses, and electives. The specific number of credits varies per program.

Game Development Degree Requirements

  • Complete 60 – 70 total credits
  • Complete 15 – 20 general education credits
  • Complete 30 – 50 core course credits
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA or a C average
  • Complete all group projects/presentations

Best Game Development Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Academy of Art University Associate of Arts in Game Development WASC Senior College and University Commission
Central Piedmont Community College Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Hillsborough Community College Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Joliet Junior College Associate of Applied Science in Game Design and Development Higher Learning Commission
Keiser University Associate of Science in Video Game Design Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Kent State University General Associate of Science for BS Game Design transfer Higher Learning Commission
Lake Washington Institute of Technology Associate of Applied Science-Transfer in Digital Gaming and Interactive Media Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
New York Film Academy Associate of Fine Arts in Game Design National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation
Northwest Vista College Associate of Applied Science, in Game Development – Specialization in Game Programming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Pratt Institute Associates of Occupational Studies in Game Design and Interactive Media Middle States Commission on Higher Education

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

The best schools for an Associate Degree in Game Development are the ones that offer the courses and specializations that will prepare you for a successful career. All the best game development associate degree programs below are registered with the US Department of Education and are recognized by at least one regional accreditor.

1

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

The Academy of Art University is a private school that offers an Associate Degree in Game Development. Founded in 1929, the academy is one of the biggest art universities in the United States and is home to 10,616 students.

Associate of Arts in Game Development

Students are equipped with valuable digital skills in game construction and game engine technology. The course focuses on hands-on training, and students work together in teams to produce their video games.

Graduates require a total of 66 credits, namely 12 major, 21 liberal arts, and 33 core credits. In these courses, students will learn visual communication, presentation skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and the comprehension of core technical concepts.

Associate of Arts in Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $1,072/unit (domestic students)
  • Required Credits: 66 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 47%

Associate of Arts in Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Academy of Art University

  1. Contact the school to receive a personal admissions representative
  2. Book an interview
  3. Complete the online application form
  4. Schedule meeting with financial aid representative
  5. Register for classes
2

Central Piedmont Community College

Charlotte, NC

Central Piedmont Community College is a public community college that offers a range of technical courses. Founded in 1963, the school is home to 18,824 students and offers more than 300 programs.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development

Central Piedmont Community College’s Associate Degree in Simulation and Game Development teaches game simulation, programming, 3D modeling, graphic design tools, animation, and game ethics. These skills prepare students for career paths such as designers, animators, and artists.

Students of this program can choose to specialize in three different tracks, namely design, programming, or 3D modeling and animation. Each program requires 65 credits for completion and prepares students for entry-level jobs in 3D modeling and animation.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $76/credit hour (in state); $268/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 65 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 16-17 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 21%

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: English and math placement tests

Applying to Central Piedmont Community College

  1. Complete an online application
  2. Contact student success navigator
  3. Activate your Central Piedmont login
  4. Submit transcripts
  5. Determine your English and math placements

Hillsborough Community College | Hillsborough County, FL

Hillsborough Community College is a public community college offering more than 200 degrees in various technical and medical fields. The school was founded in 1968 and has a total enrollment of 23,183 students.

Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design

The school’s Associate Degree in Game Design is a 60-credit-hour program that teaches computer game creation using animation, graphics, and programming languages. Graduates are well equipped for software development, unity simulation programming, graphic design, and 3D animation upon graduation.

Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $104.39/credit (in state); $379.61/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 29%

Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50 (international students)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Hillsborough Community College

  1. Complete online application
  2. Submit transcript
  3. Pay the application fee (if applicable)
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Wait for acceptance letter
3

Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough County, FL

Hillsborough Community College is a public community college offering more than 200 degrees in various technical and medical fields. The school was founded in 1968 and has a total enrollment of 23,183 students.

Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design

The school’s Associate Degree in Game Design is a 60-credit-hour program that teaches computer game creation using animation, graphics, and programming languages. Graduates are well equipped for software development, unity simulation programming, graphic design, and 3D animation upon graduation.

Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $104.39/credit (in state); $379.61/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 29%

Associate of Science in Digital Media Multimedia Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50 (international students)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Hillsborough Community College

  1. Complete online application
  2. Submit transcript
  3. Pay the application fee (if applicable)
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Wait for acceptance letter
4

Joliet Junior College

Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College is a public community college offering more than 180 courses. Joliet Junior College was founded in 1901 and has an enrollment of 14,726 students.

Game Design and Development, AAS

The Associate of Applied Science in Game Design and Development teaches students skills and techniques in game creation using the Maya and Unreal engines. They learn to create animations and 3D models for their games.

Core courses include game production, game development, game design, advanced 3D modeling, and JavaScript. Students have a vast range of career options in design, animation, and programming.

Game Design and Development, AAS Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $425/credit hour (in state); $460/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 18%

Game Design and Development, AAS Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent (OR be 18 years of age)
  • Other Requirements: Math placement score (highly recommended)

Applying to Joliet Junior College

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Submit transcripts
  3. Set up JCC username
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Visit Admitted Students page
5

Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Keiser University is a private university offering an Associate Degree in Video Game Design. The school was established in 1977 and is home to over 16,000 students. Keiser University offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Associate of Science in Video Game Design

This immersive program is available on the Pembroke Pines campus and focuses on the creative process of 3D modeling, game theory, animation, and game space construction. Students must complete classes in various categories such as their major courses, communications, behavioral sciences, computers, and mathematics.

The video game design program requires 60 credits and equips students for entry-level jobs in game modeling, animation, level design, texture mapping, and story development.

Associate of Science in Video Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: Approx. $20,800 for the program
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Associate of Science in Video Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Visit the school (highly recommended)

Applying to Keiser University

  1. Contact an admissions advisor
  2. Attend an open house or plan a visit
  3. Submit an online application
  4. Submit transcript
  5. Wait for acceptance
6

Kent State University

Kent, OH

Kent State University was founded in 1910 and offers 340 programs. The school is home to 28,122 students. Six of Kent State University’s programs rank among the top 100 in the US News & World Report 2023 list of Best Graduate Schools.

General Associate of Science for BS Game Design transfer

Kent State University offers a general Associate of Science degree that you can earn to transfer to the university’s Bachelor of Science in Game Design program. This associate degree provides students with a well-rounded education in topics such as mathematics, critical reasoning, basic sciences, and social sciences.

After completing this program, Kent’s BS in Game Design is the next step, where you will learn the key principles, tools, and concepts of animation, game design, and modeling. Students will spend the program building a professional portfolio to find work in the field after graduation.

General Associate of Science for BS Game Design transfer Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): Approx. $13,300/program (in state); $14,000/program (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credit hours
  • Program Length: 2+ years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 65%

General Associate of Science for BS Game Design transfer Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: ACT/SAT (optional)
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Kent State University

  1. Complete the online application (Common Application or Kent State Application)
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Submit transcript
  4. Submit test scores (if applicable)
  5. Enroll for classes
7

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Kirkland, WA

Lake Washington Institute of Technology is a publicly operated technical institute located in Kirkland, Washington. It is the only educational facility in the Northwest area to offer an Associate Degree in Game Development. Founded in 1949, Lake Washington Institute of Technology offers associate, bachelor’s, and certificate programs to its 3,670 students.

Associate of Applied Science-Transfer in Digital Gaming and Interactive Media

Students are taught basic technical skills, including programming, animation, level design, 3D modeling, virtual reality, and building a user interface. Additionally, the school prepares students for a career in game design by covering marketing, advertising, and other key aspects of the game design industry.

Students are prepped for careers in virtual reality, marketing, advertising, educational media, and film and television. Students must complete 105 to 109 credits to graduate from this program.

Associate of Applied Science-Transfer in Digital Gaming and Interactive Media Overview

  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition (and Fees): $580.25/5-credit course (in state)
  • Required Credits: 105 - 109 credits
  • Program Length: 6 quarters at 18 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 39%

Associate of Applied Science-Transfer in Digital Gaming and Interactive Media Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent (recommended)
  • Other Requirements: Placement tests

Applying to Lake Washington Institute of Technology

  1. Connect with an admissions coach
  2. Complete online admissions application
  3. Take placement test
  4. Submit materials
  5. Enroll for classes
8

New York Film Academy

Los Angeles, CA

Founded in 1992, the New York Film Academy offers an Associate in Fine Arts in Game Design at its Los Angeles campus. This fast-paced school offers undergraduate and graduate programs to its 1,389 students. It has been named one of the top film schools for five consecutive years by Variety’s Entertainment Education Impact Report.

AFA in Game Design

This 16-month program focuses on the fundamentals of game design, playcentric design, programming, agile development, and storytelling. Students must complete 28 courses to graduate, such as 3D animation, the history of video games, level design, and storyboarding.

AFA in Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation
  • Tuition: $17,727/semester
  • Required Credits: 28 classes
  • Program Length: 16 months
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 56%

AFA in Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Narrative statement, creative portfolio, letters of recommendation, proof of English proficiency, interview (optional)

Applying to New York Film Academy

  1. Complete undergraduate AFA program application
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Submit transcript
  4. Submit additional materials
  5. Wait for admission
9

Northwest Vista College

San Antonio, TX

Northwest Vista College is a community college that offers an associate degree and certificate course in game development. After opening its doors in 1995, there are now over 18,000 students enrolled in the college across 24 different fields.

Associate of Applied Science, in Game Development - Specialization in Game Programming

In this 61-credit course, students learn software development skills using C++, Python, and Java. They also learn about game design, level scripting, and game software testing. Using these skills, graduates will be well-equipped for positions such as animator, graphic designer, game programmer, and game tester.

Associate of Applied Science, in Game Development - Specialization in Game Programming Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $1,172/semester hour (in state); $2,210/semester hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 61 credits
  • Program Length: 2+ years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 30%

Associate of Applied Science, in Game Development - Specialization in Game Programming Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: TSI or ACT/SAT, Go FAARR
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Bacterial meningitis shot for students under 22

Applying to Northwest Vista College

  1. Create an account with ApplyTexas
  2. Submit an online application
  3. Submit transcripts
  4. Log into your ACES account and activate AlamoNAVIGATE
  5. Submit shot documentation and test scores
10

Pratt Institute

Brooklyn, NY

Pratt Institute is a privately-owned university that offers an Associate Degree in Game Design and Interactive Media. Founded in 1887, the school offers 25 undergraduate programs and 26 graduate programs. There is a total enrollment of 5,015 students.

Associates of Occupational Studies in Game Design and Interactive Media

The course covers programming, prototyping, aesthetics, and interactivity. By the end of the program, students will be competent with at least one programming language and design engine and will be able to produce professional-quality design and animation.

Some of the courses students of this program take are collaborative game design, immersive sound design, mobile gaming, and worldbuilding. After the 66-credit program, students will be equipped to thrive in the gaming, film, and tv industries.

Associates of Occupational Studies in Game Design and Interactive Media Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $1,728/credit
  • Required Credits: 66 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Associates of Occupational Studies in Game Design and Interactive Media Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $60
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Portfolio

Applying to Pratt Institute

  1. Complete the Common App application
  2. Submit transcript
  3. Upload portfolio
  4. Pay application fee
  5. Wait for acceptance

Best Online Game Development Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Danville Community College Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology – Gaming & Mobile Applications Specialization Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Genesee Community College Associate of Applied Science in Digital Art Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Guilford Technical Community College Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Joliet Junior College Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming Higher Learning Commission
New England Institute of Technology Associate of Science in Video Game Design New England Commission of Higher Education
Ocean County College Associate of Science in Computer Science – Game Development and Design option Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Palomar College Associate of Science in Computer Science with Emphasis on Video Gaming Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Rasmussen College Graphic Design Associate’s Degree Higher Learning Commission
Vincennes University Associate of Science in Information Technology-Programming and Game Development Higher Learning Commission
Western Iowa Tech Community College Associate of Applied Science in Video Game Design Higher Learning Commission

Best Colleges for Game Development: Top Online Game Development Associate Degree Programs

Many prospective students prefer to study for their degrees from home. Fortunately, there is no shortage of high-quality online game development associate degrees. Below you will find a list of schools that offer online programs or hybrid degrees that can give you a start in the field of game design.

1

Danville Community College

Danville, VA

Danville Community College is a public institution in Danville, Virginia. The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology with a specialization in gaming and mobile applications. Founded in 1936, the school offers more than 100 programs to its 2,828 students.

Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology - Gaming & Mobile Applications Specialization

This four-semester course consists of a minimum of 65 credits. It focuses on creating and designing video games and apps for popular mobile devices. You will learn to write code, design levels, and build applications for Google Play.

Students are required to take classes such as software design, survey of economics, Java programming, and communication in management. During this online program, graduates will acquire the skills needed to code, debug, write, and design.

AAS in Information Systems Technology - Gaming & Mobile Applications Specialization Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $154/credit (in state); $330.60/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 65 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 42%

AAS in Information Systems Technology - Gaming & Mobile Applications Specialization  Admission Requirements

  • GPA: none
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: none

Applying to Danville Community College

  1. Complete online application form
  2. Receive student ID number and MyDCC username
  3. Apply for FAFSA
  4. Complete Direct Enrollment Survey for placement
  5. Attend DCC ROCKS orientation
2

Genesee Community College

Batavia, NY

Genesee Community College is a public community college that offers a two-year digital art program that can be taken fully online. The school has a total enrollment of 5,530 students that can choose between any of their online, hybrid, or HyFlex programs. Genesee Community College was founded in 1966.

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Art

As an online student enrolled in this program, you will acquire essential skills in animation, graphics design, digital video creation, and web design. The 62-credit program offers core courses such as computer graphics, graphic design, web publishing, and two-dimensional design.

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Art Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $4,750/year
  • Required Credits: 62 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 33%

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Art Admission Requirements

  • GPA: none
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: none

Applying to Genesee Community College

  1. Create an account with the school
  2. Complete the online application
  3. Submit transcript
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Enroll for classes
3

Guilford Technical Community College

Jamestown, NC

Guilford Technical Community College is a public institution founded in 1958. The school has a total enrollment of 27,572 students and offers more than 80 programs both in person and online. These programs include a wide range of fields, such as accounting, aerospace manufacturing, hospitality, nursing, and supply chain management.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development

This course provides essential technical skills in game development such as programming, management, modeling, digital design, and audio and video technology. Students must complete 66 credits for graduation and are equipped for jobs in art direction, graphic design, and animation.

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $76/credit hour (in state); $268/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 66 credits
  • Program Length: 5 semesters
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 27%

Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Placement test (waived if you have recent SAT/ACT scores)

Applying to Guilford Technical Community College

  1. Complete NC residency determination
  2. Complete online application
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit transcript
  5. Complete placement test

Joliet Junior College | Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Computer Programming that can be completed online. Founded in 1901, the school offers more than 180 courses to its 14,726 students.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming

Through hands-on training, this course will help you develop a solid foundation in computer programming using Java, C++, and Virtual Basic, which are all valuable skills in game development.

Students graduating from this program are prepped for careers as programmers, mobile developers, software engineers, and systems analysts. Students must complete a total of 61 semester hours, of which 36 are core requirements.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $425/credit hour (in state); $460/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 61 semester hours
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 18%

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Math placement test (highly recommended)

Applying to Joliet Community College

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Submit transcripts
  3. Set up JCC username
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Visit Admitted Students page
5

New England Institute of Technology

East Greenwich, RI

New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island is a private technical university that offers courses in health, sciences, and information technology. Students can enroll in a game design associate degree online. The New England Institute of Technology was established in 1940 and offers over 50 programs. It has a total enrollment of 2,763 students.

Associate of Science in Video Game Design

This program prepares the student to enter the exciting field of electronic entertainment and game simulation. Students learn coding basics, 2D and 3D animation, game design, and visual communication. These skills equip graduates for careers as game testers, animators, and character designers.

Associate of Science in Video Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $32,100/academic year
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 18 months
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 48%

Associate of Science in Video Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: 2 - 3 recommendation letters, a 300 - 500 word essay (not required, but highly recommended)

Applying to New England Institute of Technology

  1. Apply through Common App or the NEIT portal
  2. Submit transcripts
  3. Submit recommendation letters and a short essay
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Enroll for classes
6

Ocean County College

Toms River, NJ

Ocean County College is home to 2,763 students. Founded in 1964, the school aims to be flexible, accessible, trustworthy, and student-centered. Ocean County College offers a wide range of courses and programs to prepare its students for fulfilling careers.

Associate of Science in Computer Science - Game Development and Design option

The curriculum has been modeled after that of the Association of Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society. During this 60-credit program, students learn to build problem-solving algorithms and study the basics of game design.

Programming, calculus, computer game development, chemistry, and database management are all classes students will be required to take to graduate from the program. These skills open students up to many opportunities and jobs in the video game industry.

Associate of Science in Computer Science - Game Development and Design option Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $193/semester hour (in state); $270/semester hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 38%

Associate of Science in Computer Science - Game Development and Design option Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Ocean County College

  1. Create an account with the school
  2. Fill out the online application
  3. Submit transcript
  4. Apply for scholarships or financial aid
  5. Enroll for classes
7

Palomar College

San Marcos, CA

Palomar College is a public community college that offers a fully online Associate in Science in Computer Science with an emphasis on video gaming. The school has an enrollment of 23,917 students and offers over 200 programs. Palomar College was founded in 1946.

Associate of Science in Computer Science with Emphasis on Video Gaming

Students learn video game design and programming. The course also covers software and hardware computer systems and problem-solving skills. Students will become familiar with the design of algorithms, programming languages, and object-oriented programming.

Associate of Science in Computer Science with Emphasis on Video Gaming Overview

  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $674/unit
  • Required Credits: 31 units
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 31%

Associate of Science in Computer Science with Emphasis on Video Gaming Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: 18 years old or more, passed CHSPE or GED

Applying to Palomar College

  1. Create an OpenCCC account
  2. Submit an online application
  3. Activate your student email
  4. Submit materials
  5. Apply for financial aid
8

Rasmussen College

Eagan, MN

Rasmussen College is a private university with various campuses across the US. Founded in 1900, the school is home to 4,124 students and offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees across its 23 campuses.

Graphic Design Associate’s Degree

This 18-month fully online graphic design associate degree not only focuses on game development but also on essential skills students need for a career as a game developer. Adobe Creative Cloud, digital imaging, and web design are all part of the curriculum.

Graphic Design Associate’s Degree Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $28,785 for the full program
  • Required Credits: 91 credits
  • Program Length: 18 months
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 44%

Graphic Design Associate’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Letters of recommendation, interview, short essay (all recommended)

Applying to Rasmussen College

  1. Contact admissions advisor
  2. Complete online application
  3. Complete entrance placement exam
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Submit materials
9

Vincennes University

Vincennes, IN

Vincennes University is a public university in Vincennes, Indiana. Its Associate of Science in Programming and Game Development is fully online. Founded in 1801, the school offers 65 majors. Vincennes University has a total enrollment of 17,481 students.

Associate of Science in Information Technology-Programming and Game Development

This course teaches students to build and troubleshoot video game programs on different platforms. Students work with industry-standard tools such as Blender, 3ds Max, and GameMaker. Graduates will excel in job positions such as game developer, computer programmer, software developer, and mobile app developer.

Associate of Science in Information Technology-Programming and Game Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $6,450/semester (in state); $15,254/semester (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 hours
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 28%

Associate of Science in Information Technology-Programming and Game Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.5
  • Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT
  • Application Fee: $50 (international students)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Next Generation Accuplacer (if you do not have ACT or SAT scores), immunization and medical information

Applying to Vincennes University

  1. Complete online application
  2. Submit transcript
  3. Submit test scores
  4. Pay the application fee (if applicable)
  5. Enroll for classes
10

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Sioux City, IA

Western Iowa Tech Community College is a public institution in the northwestern part of Iowa, with its main campus located in Sioux City. It has an Associate of Applied Science in Video Game Design. The school was established in 1966 and offers more than 170 programs. Western Iowa Tech Community College is home to 5,674 students.

Associate of Applied Science in Video Game Design

This program is delivered entirely online and consists of 67 credits. It covers game design as well as the entire game development life cycle. Students acquire skills in game engine development, artificial intelligence, physics for game design, animation for games, and scripting basics.

Associate of Applied Science in Video Game Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $168/credit hour (in state); $169/credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 67 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 39%

Associate of Applied Science in Video Game Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Western Tech Community College

  1. Create an account username and password
  2. Complete the online application
  3. Submit transcripts
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Wait for acceptance

What Is a Game Development Associate Degree?

A game development associate degree is a two-year course on game programming and design offered by a community college or university. The program will introduce you to the basics of computer science and programming languages such as JavaScript and C++. The goal is to learn how to apply programming skills to video game creation.

An Associate Degree in Game Development is math and programming-heavy. You will need to be comfortable with subjects such as calculus and physics. You will learn about data science, algorithms, graphics, and artificial intelligence. Toward the end of your degree, you will likely get hands-on experiences beta testing 2D and 3D games.

How Important Is an Associate Degree in Game Development?

It is very important to have a game development associate degree because it gives you a strong foundation of the core skills needed for most entry-level jobs in the industry. Not only does it boost your resume, but it also enhances your technical, conceptual, communication, and cooperation skills.

A program like this dives deep into programming and tech languages which are essential aspects of almost every information technology or video game industry. The script, storyboarding, and design classes expand a student’s creative mind and open them to different techniques. All of these are reasons why a game development associate degree is important.

What Types of Associate Degrees Can You Get in Game Development?

You can get the following types of Associate Degrees in Game Development.

  • Associate of Arts
  • Associate of Applied Science
  • Associate of Science
  • Associate of Occupational Studies

Is It Better to Get an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science in Game Development?

It is better to get an Associate of Science in Game Development because it’s usually more narrowly focused on math and science aspects such as coding and programming. Not only are these skills necessary for game development, but they are also extremely useful tools for a variety of computer and information technology fields.

The difference between an Associate of Science and an Associate of Arts is that an Associate of Arts tends to be slightly more flexible and focuses on the creative side of game development, with a large emphasis on game narrative, storyboarding, and design. Although these are important aspects of the job, they are more difficult to translate to other careers and skillsets.

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

The main difference between a game development associate degree and a game development certificate is that a certificate only takes a year to complete. Most courses only require 15 to 18 credits compared to an associate degree’s standard of 60. Although certificates in game development can be taken in person, the majority have been moving towards an online format.

You should get a game development associate degree instead of a certificate because you will receive more in-depth training over two years. Even though there’s no academic standard for game development, you’re more likely to get better higher-paying jobs if you have a more fine-tuned skillset. In-person associate degrees allow students to network and make use of the high-tech labs.

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

An Associate Degree in Game Development’s cost is $11,391 , based on 2019-2020 data by the National Center for Education Statistics. This figure includes tuition, room and board, and other school fees.

Game Development Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Game Development Degree

Financial aid options for Associate Degrees in Game Development include student loans, federal grants, local grants, and institutional grants. Some colleges and educational institutions offer affordable education through deferred payment options. You may also qualify for a scholarship so check to see whether the school you are interested in offers any.

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

It takes two years to get an Associate Degree in Game Development. These programs are typically broken down by credit, of which there are usually 60. A student can complete their game development associate degree in two years by taking at least 15 credits for four semesters. An Associate Degree in Game Development length varies by program.

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

An Associate Degree in Game Development is fairly easy to get as the admission requirements are simple. The program is a relatively short length and students are often put together for group projects. If you are an attentive dedicated student, your studies should not be a problem.

Getting a game development associate degree can be difficult if you do not have an innate understanding of how computer languages and programming works. Along the same vein, game development is not just programming the game, but designing and creating it. If you lack a strong creative vision you will find it difficult to succeed in your classes.

Why Should You Get a Game Development Associate Degree?

The benefits of getting an Associate Degree in Game Development include:

  • Enhancing your creative skills
  • Receiving technical training
  • Obtaining skills and knowledge for entry-level jobs in the gaming industry
  • Preparing you for a long-term career

The reasons for getting a second game development associate degree are so you can specialize in a different subject. You could take an Associate of Science for your first degree and an Associate of Arts for your second degree. Specializations differ from program to program, so a second degree could allow you to specialize in two subjects.

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

You need to take a variety of programming, animation, and design courses for an Associate Degree in Game Development. The Associate Degree in Game Development course list varies from program to program, but here is an overview of typically required courses you may encounter.

Game Software Testing

Using the skills acquired in other classes of the program, students learn how to apply their knowledge to an already designed game. They use their technical and creative knowledge to improve the design and programming aspects of a game. They will also learn about quality assurance methods.

Graphics Design

Students in this class learn the foundational design and drawing techniques used in game development. They will familiarize themselves with popular software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as creative techniques.

Programming

In this course students learn all the core skills needed to thrive in computer programming and information technology. The curriculum reviews the most used coding languages such as Python, JavaScript, and HTM. Students learn to create, debug, and improve code.

Storyboarding and Narrative Development

This course aims to teach students the basic principles of storytelling and narrative structure. Graduates leave having an in-depth comprehension of cinematic drawing techniques, transitions, and film language, as well as having developed their own specific narrative style. Through camera angles, lighting elements, and plot devices, students learn to create dynamic stories.

2D and 3D Animation

Students learn to animate people, items, and environments in both 2D and 3D styles. By learning traditional techniques and using new high-tech software, students can animate characters for a variety of mediums, including video games.

Continuing Education Paths for Game Development Associate Degree Graduates

A continuing education path to take as a game development associate degree graduate is to pursue a bachelor’s degree . A Bachelor’s Degree in Game Development expands on the knowledge learned in your associate degree and dives a little deeper into the material. For very high-paying jobs and positions, you can also pursue a master’s degree .

Related Game Development Degrees

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

When looking for the best game development associate degree programs, there are a few aspects that you should consider to ensure you will receive a quality education. It’s also important to consider how a program aligns with your personal circumstances. Below is a summary of the most important aspects to consider when choosing your Associate Degree in Game Development.

Accreditation

If your program is accredited, it means it passes the standard qualification for a good education. Attending a school or program that isn’t accredited can not only affect your chances of getting hired after school but also affects the general quality of the information you’re learning.

Cost

Attending college or university is already a costly process, and you want to choose a program that will alleviate your financial burden. Student loans and scholarships are also options if you think you might need extra help and are important to consider during your school search.

Employment Outcomes

It’s important to choose a program that will increase your chances of getting hired after graduation. Although your skills adequately prepare you, it can be very beneficial to attend a program that offers career services or is known for producing top-quality students. Some programs may even have partnerships with video game companies.

Reputation of the Program

It’s very helpful to communicate with alumni or current students of the program you’re thinking of attending. They can inform you about how your teachers, classes, and learning experiences will be. If your school has a bad reputation, it could tarnish your career.

Specializations/Concentrations

Many programs offer specializations or concentrations within the degree itself. These can be a great way to learn detailed and vital information about certain career paths or jobs. It’s a good idea to consider your long-term goals and review the various options offered.

What Is the Most Affordable Game Development Associate Degree?

The most affordable Associate Degree in Game Development is the Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development at Guilford Technical Community College. It costs $76 per credit hour for in-state students and $268 per credit hour for out-of-state students. The AAS in Simulation and Game Development program at Central Piedmont Community College also costs the same.

Salary and Job Outlook for Game Development Associate Degree Graduates

A young professional testing a video game on a smartphone. Game Development Associate Degrees
If you learn game development, you will be able to work in careers as a video game designer, digital designer, or tester.

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a game developer is $71,295 . When it comes to your earnings, your experience level matters a great deal. An entry-level game developer makes, on average, $67,738 a year, while a senior professional with 10 years of experience has a median salary of $96,760.

Your Associate Degree in Game Development Salary will vary significantly depending on your employer. For example, big companies like Amazon pay their game developers around $105,000 on average. Keep reading below to discover the best game development associate degree jobs.

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

It is very easy to get a job with a game development associate degree. The knowledge and technical skills earned prepare students for most entry-level jobs in the field, in which they can work their way up the ladder. As long as you did well in your program, it is not difficult to get a job with an Associate Degree in Game Development.

What’s the Average Game Development Associate Degree Salary?

According to PayScale, the average salary for someone with a game development associate degree is $65,000 a year. The typical annual salary varies depending on the state, company, and position.

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

The jobs you can get with a game development associate degree are in the video game, film, and TV industries, specifically in programming, design, and animation. Below is a list of possible jobs you can get with an Associate Degree in Game Development.

Game Development Degree Jobs

  • Storyboard artist
  • Programmer
  • Texture artist
  • Audio engineer
  • Story writer

Potential Careers With a Game Development Degree

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

You can make between $50,000 and $115,000 with an Associate Degree in Game Development. These numbers vary depending on many factors. Graduates emerging straight out of college will most likely land on the lower end of this scale in their first entry-level jobs.

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

Game Development Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Software Developer $110,140
Quality Assurance Analyst and Tester $110,140
Computer Programmer $93,000
Special Effects Artist and Animator $78,790
Digital Designer $77,200
Video Game Writer $69,510
Video Editor $62,680
Graphic Designer $50,710
Game Level Designer $50,710
Sound Engineering Technician $49,050

Best Jobs for Game Development Associate Degree Grads

The best jobs for game development associate degree grads are in the computer programming and information technology fields. Any job that involves designing, programming, or animating tends to head high salaries. Keep reading below for a breakdown of the best paying game development associate degree jobs.

1

Software Developer

Average Salary: $110,140

Software developers can work on games for mobile devices, gaming consoles, and PC. They write a game’s code based on the plans of a video game designer and work closely with programmers, who help them execute the game design. Software developers design the various elements of an application and also complete software maintenance, testing, and upgrades.

2

Quality Assurance Analyst and Tester

Average Salary: $110,140

Quality assurance analysts and testers create test plans, identify project risks, and implement software testing. The role of a game tester is to play games to test for bugs before the games are released to the market. A game tester will have to go through every stage and level to check every feature, document errors in the code, and report glitches to make sure that the game will run smoothly.

3

Computer Programmer

Average Salary: $93,000

Programmers take the designs made by software developers and write code to execute the program. In game development, these professionals are responsible for writing the code needed to bring the game to life.

4

Special Effects Artist and Animator

Average Salary: $78,790

Special effects artists and animators create 2D and 3D images and visual effects for video games and other forms of media. Animators often work in teams, each having their own assignments concerning different aspects of game design, such as background, animated objects, or characters.

5

Digital Designer

Average Salary: $77,200

Digital designers are responsible for the usability, navigation, and functions of an interface, such as that of a website or video game. These professionals work closely with graphic designers to determine the layout, integrate graphics, and polish the overall look and usability of elements that will appear on different devices.

6

Video Game Writer

Average Salary: $69,510

Video game writers do the creative job of writing scripts for video games. They give life to a storyline and pitch ideas to the design team. Video game writing is typically a freelancing job because they are only necessary during pre-production.

7

Video Editor

Average Salary: $62,680

Video editors use editing software to manipulate images and video content. Video editors usually specialize in one or two specific video editing software such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro. They work closely with a director and follow a script to string together video sequences and images.

8

Graphic Designer

Average Salary: $50,710

Graphic designers come up with a visual concept and present it through hand-drawn or digital mockups. They design layouts, suggest color palettes, and choose text fonts. These are highly creative professionals that need to come up with designs that captivate and inspire.

9

Game Level Designer

Average Salary: $50,710

Game level designers create the architecture and landscape for the different levels of a video game. They work with the game designer to determine the look of each level. They may also use their coding skills to insert different elements into the game.

10

Sound Engineering Technician

Average Salary: $49,050

Sound engineering technicians or sound designers add audio elements to a video game, including background music and sound effects. They play a big role in making the player feel immersed in the game. With the right selection of sound effects and music, these professionals can make the player feel exactly what the game designer and director intended.

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Game Development Bootcamp vs. Game Development Associate Degree: Which Is Better?

An Associate Degree in Game Development is better than a game development bootcamp because it covers a broader curriculum and prepares you for a stable high-paying job. To become a game developer , you can also join a coding bootcamp. A coding bootcamp is a short but fast-paced training program that prepares the student for a specific career in tech.

Coding bootcamps have intensive curricula that focus on the technical and soft skills students will need in the workplace. The best game development bootcamps offer career services like one-on-one coaching and resume writing workshops to help students land a job as fast as possible.

Each option has its advantages, and your choice will ultimately depend on your career goals. Below we explore the benefits of associate degrees and coding bootcamps. Read on to learn what’s the best learning path for you.

Benefits of a Game Development Associate Degree

  • It prepares you for a bachelor’s degree. Once you finish your associate degree, it is easy to transfer credits to a four-year institution. This will allow you to finish your undergraduate studies faster.
  • It can land you a stable job. For many entry-level positions, an associate degree is enough. In the game development industry, you can land a stable and well-paying position with just an associate degree.
  • Broader curriculum. An associate degree will expose you to a wide range of subjects and areas of study. The curriculum is broader, so you will learn about animation, design, programming, and other key concepts.
  • Reputable credential. Earning an associate degree will give you a leg up over candidates that only have a high school diploma or a certificate.
  • Different payment options. You can finance your associate degree through different methods, including loans and deferred tuition schemes. You could even land a job with a game company that offers to pay for your education as part of a professional development program.

Benefits of a Game Development Bootcamp

  • Intensive learning. A game development bootcamp is ideal for those who want an intensive learning environment with hands-on training and mentorship.
  • Faster results. A bootcamp is the right option if you want to acquire the skills you need without sacrificing the quality of your learning. Most bootcamp programs last three to nine months.
  • Flexible learning. Bootcamp programs come in a variety of formats to fit everyone. You can find online, in-person, hybrid, part-time, full-time, self-paced, and instructor-led options.
  • Targeted curriculum. In a bootcamp program, you will learn only the skills you need to enter the game development industry.
  • High job placement rate. Between 74 and 90 percent of coding bootcamp students land a programming job within six months of graduation, according to a report from Career Karma.

Is an Associate Degree in Game Development Worth It?

Yes, an Associate Degree in Game Development is worth it if you want to have a long-term career and a stable job in the gaming industry. With an associate degree, you can land your first job in the video game industry. From there, you can build your skills and vie for more senior positions.

Moreover, an associate degree is ideal if you want to further your education and pursue a bachelor’s, a master’s, or even a PhD program in Game Development. This will give you access to more career opportunities and higher income. All in all, if you are considering a career in game development, a game development associate degree is an excellent option.

Additional Reading About Game Development

[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/best-programming-languages-for-game-development/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/game-development-bootcamp/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/best-game-development-bootcamps/

Game Development Degree FAQ

What is the best degree for game development?

To become a game developer, consider an associate or bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, such as game design, game engineering, or interactive media. You can also consider degrees in computer science, computer animation, or digital production.

What jobs can you get with a game development degree?

With a game development degree, you can be part of a game development team and work as a game programmer, concept artist, animator, level designer, sound engineer, or game tester. As you can see, if you study game development you will have access to many career options.

Do you need a degree to work as a game developer?

Most companies hiring for game developer require that candidates have at least an associate degree in a related field. However, you can also be hired as a game developer after completing a game development bootcamp.

What skills do you need to be a game developer?

A good game developer needs to have both technical and soft skill as well as certain personal characteristics. For technical skills, you need to be proficient with at least one programming language and master at least one game engine. Common soft skills include creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.

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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Maia Estrera

About the author: Maia is a content writer who has experience in graphic design and web design with WordPress and Adobe Suite. She holds an Associate Degree in Computer System Design and Programming from the AMA Computer Learning Center in Nueva Ecija. She has also completed multiple content writing certificate courses on Udemy.

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