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Animation College and Career Resources

Animation requires a diversity of skills in illustration, story telling, 2D, 3D and motion graphics applications. While a feature-length animated film can employ as many as 300 people, smaller animated productions include television, video games, commercials, mobile and online medias. As projects progress from the pre-production planning phase through modeling, texturing, lighting, animating, rendering, and editing, a range of talent is required to see the work to fruition.

There are 80 accredited programs of animation in California granting degrees from a two-year AS degrees in game programming through a PhDs in film and digital media. And the career world has job titles as varied as art director, concept artist, character designer, environment designer, storyboard supervisor, systems administrator, set dresser, and effects animator.

Bridge to College Tip:
Many College Animation programs are actually housed in the Film or Visual Arts departments.

12 Questions to Consider as you select a program in Animation:

  1. How many animation or digital arts majors attend the program?
  2. What is the teacher to student ratio?
  3. Is the technology (hardware and software) at students’ disposal state-of-theart?
  4. How many work stations are there?--enough to accommodate all students at once, or is scheduling required?
  5. What is the art philosophy/ course sequence of the program? (Some schools require a “foundation year” in basics of hand design, others are more software focused.)
  6. What are the career-building opportunities (internships, mentorships, senior shows, etc.) offered?
  7. Are there community relationships established with animation/ game design studios?
  8. What is the reputation, training and background of the faculty?
  9. What skill set is the school looking for (what do they seek in an entry portfolio)?
  10. What do administrators/ instructors feel distinguishes their school from competitors?
  11. What have noted alumni accomplished?
  12. Are there options to take an animation minor?

Bridge to College Tip:
Today’s most successful animators can use any tool to
create work; from pencil and ink to computer graphics programs.

Degrees and Majors: Animation
AS Degree at the Community College level
BA or a BFA in Animation or Digital Media at the 4-year Undergraduate Level MFA

Looking at a BFA or BA? See this PDF from the National Association for College Admission Counseling
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2014 National Association for College Admission Counseling

Highlights of college level training in California
Searching for the Right College Fit: Do they have my major?
Based on the seven disciplines offered at CSSSA, here is a pocket guide to see at-a-glance what arts majors are offered at four-year state colleges/universities:
The California State University system
The University of California system

Colleges that participate in Bridge to College or the CSSSA College Fair:
Independent Colleges – In California
Independent Colleges – Outside of California

In addition, here is a pocket guide to the California Community Colleges also based on the seven CSSSA disciplines: Click Here.

Educational Institutions: If you would like to see your college or university listed here, please contact the CSSSA Foundation.

Listing here does not constitute an endorsement, but is intended for educational purposes only. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this page.


The Illusion of Life by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas
The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams

Career information (and job boards)

Animation Magazine
Computer Graphics World
Animation Career Review
Cartoon Brew
Animation Resources
Careers and College Programs in Animation

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to endorse, guarantee, warrant, or recommend any particular program or course of study. Parents and students are encouraged to consult their school’s guidance counselor or other educational professionals before making any decision about investment in higher education. CSSSA Foundation 2015.

Highlighting Careers in the Arts: Jennifer Cardon Klein discusses her life in Animation. Brought to you by Gigniks.