Animation plays an essential role in our daily lives – more than we realize.

Besides entertainment and television, animation is also utilized in science, healthcare, advertising, travel, and video games, making it an essential part of our everyday lives.

With the significant technological advancements in recent decades, future animation career options will also grow with time.

Good animators can bring images to life, whether using After Effects to create website graphics or iPhone photos to recreate a crime scene.

Animators must be resilient, paying keen attention to detail. They also must master the art of movement, using their observations to animate.

Before exploring the best animation programs in the US, let us first understand what you must look for when selecting an animation career path university for yourself.

A 3D rendered model of a house
One of the many animation career paths includes 3D and 2D animation design renderings. Due to advancements in technology, computer animation careers have found their way into almost every field in the world. (Source: Pixabay)
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What To Look For Before Enrolling In An Animation Program

It does not matter which art school you choose to enroll in. Whichever it may be, first identify the following factors so that you know you have made the right choice:

Faculty

Sure, what you learn is important. But who you learn from also carries equal weight. The world of animation is constantly changing with the development of new techniques and technologies.

Your instructors must be experienced professionals if you want to learn according to current industry demands and trends.

Curriculum

Just like the faculty must be up-to-date on trends, the curriculum itself must be current as well.

It not only teaches you up-to-date skills, but it also helps you understand what employers are searching for in graduates.

Class Size

It does not matter how good the curriculum and faculty are at any institute. Their effectiveness will decrease as the class size increases. The bigger the class, the less individual attention you receive.

Career Focus

Animation is a technical profession. Hence, employers search for candidates who possess the right skills and display professionalism to ensure the company's success.

Therefore an animation institute or school, along with teaching you all the tools, processes, and techniques, must also prepare you for the commitment, discipline, and passion required for your success.

A 2D Japanese Manga animation
An animation career path is not merely limited to careers in the US. In addition, you will have various options overseas as well. For instance, animation is a big industry in Japan. So if you are thinking is animation a good career, then there is no better time than the present for it. (Source: Pixabay)

Animation Career Information – Choosing The Top School

Selecting the right institution to study computer animation is very important for any student.

It does not matter whether you reside in the US or if you are an international student.

With multiple highly respected animation degree programs in the US, selecting a university that will be the perfect fit for you will rest on more than any program's ranking.

There are multiple distinct and unique roles you can go for in the professional world after getting an animation degree, with specific programs offering specialization in particular skills.

That is why it is advised before searching for the best school in the US for computer animation, give some thought to what you would like to go for after choosing an animation career path.

You can work as a concept artist, motion capture artist, lighting artist, object modeler, or 3d architect. Whatever you want to achieve, first narrow down potential institutions that provide specialization in your desired area of expertise.

Top Universities In The USA For Animation

Listed below are the top universities you can choose from to start your computer animation career. An animation degree will go a long way in our current age of digitalization and automation.

So if you are wondering, 'is animation a good career,' the answer is yes. Without further ado, let us look at the top universities in the US for animation:

Rhode Island School Of Design

According to multiple organizations and publications, The Rhode Island School of Design is the top art institute in the country.

School of Design provides a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in animation, video, and film.

Students work with animation, live-action, or a combination of both, helping them create films in various genres.

Facilities at RISD include technologically advanced sound mixing, puppet animation technology, and digital editing – in-demand specializations used all over the industry.

The students at RISD are trained to use tools standard in the industry. Moreover, they learn how to conceptualize utilizing critical thinking and content development in their work.

The university is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Some of its famous alumni include the creator of 'American Dad,' 'The Cleveland Show,' and 'Family Guy,' – Seth MacFarlane; animator of 'Family Guy,' and 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' – Michael Dante DiMartino; and animator of 'The Critic' and 'The Simpsons' – Lance Wilder.

California Institute of the Arts

CalArts provides both Experimental Animation and Character Animation programs via their School of Film and Video.

Character Animation programs offer students a basic understanding of character performance and the art of storytelling in animation. This program only provides a BFA degree.

In sharp contrast, Experimental Animation provides both BFA and MFA degrees. It is designed for students who want to develop their personal style in an ever-changing animation environment and parameters.

Roy and Walt Disney established the school. At the time, it was the only higher education platform in the country to provide graduate and undergraduate degrees in performing and visual arts.

The school has a specific program to help students find employment once they graduate, called 'Curating Your Own Life: Transitioning to a Career after CalArts.' It allows them to partake in courses and internships related to their career.

CalArts is accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

A view of the Walt Disney Animation studios castle
When you get a reputable degree in animation, your animation career path could lead you to the most prestigious animation studios; DreamWorks Studios, Walt Disney, Pixar, Warner Bros, and more. (Source: Unsplash)

Savannah College of Art and Design

With their BFA, MFA, and MA degrees in animation, Savannah College of Art and Design is among the leading art colleges in the US.

They instruct their students in the art of stop-motion, rigging, look development, 2D, 3D, lighting, and digital modeling.

You will also learn some vital animation skills, such as SVG animation and onion skinning. Creating graphics for Windows, macOS, and Android is also a central aspect of the course.

Animation students can also collaborate on various projects to learn the importance and benefits of teamwork in the animation industry.

Today, SCAD graduates are working in Pixar Studios, Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and 20th Century Fox.

Their students have mastered the industry's technologies, which helps them in their animation career due to easy access to professional-grade technology.

The college is accredited by SACSCOC, and around 98% of their graduates reported employment within ten months of graduation. The average salary of animators is also quite high depending on their skillset.

University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA offers one of the highest-ranked animation programs in the US.

It strives for a balance between creativity and technology, with its courses designed to provide training in storytelling, scriptwriting, and editing.

Their students are employed by the likes of Walter Lantz Digital Animation Studio, giving them real-time experience in a constantly evolving industry.

After completing the program, you will be provided with the opportunity for a whole year's worth of animation studies and internships.

The only stipulation you need to be mindful of is that you must be pursuing a BA in Film and Television when you apply for an Animation Workshop.

Notable alumni include Erick Oh, a Pixar animator who has worked on several animated features like 'Brave,' 'Inside Out,' 'Cars,' and 'Monsters University.'

Another graduate, Shane Acker, created '9' – an Academy Award-winning short film by famous producer Tim Burton.

Lastly, UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

MICA in Baltimore provides BFA in Animation, wherein you will create original and modern artwork.

Students at MICA are provided an in-depth understanding of narrative, vector graphic animations, character design, animation software technology, and keyframes.

Students will produce creative works via stop motion, 3D and 2D animation, or a combination of various approaches.

All these courses are art-related, including courses related to literature, science, and history.

MICA also has a partnership with the Johns Hopkins Medical School, which allows its students to enroll in courses at both institutions.

Furthermore, it is among the top 10 visual arts college programs in the US.

Some notable alumni include Walt Disney Animation Studios production coordinator – Kit Turley, the youngest cinematographer ever to shoot an Oscar-winning movie – Errol Webber, and DreamWorks Animation production manager Sarah Kujubu.

It is accredited by the notable National Association of Schools of Art & Design and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education.

Pratt Institute, New York

The Pratt Institute offers a Digital Arts and Animation BFA. Students are provided 3D and 2D animation instructions, learning new media history and developing relevant skills.

Pratt has nine advanced studio classrooms for animation, as well as a fiber channel high-speed network. Facilities also include a green screen facility and audio recording studios.

Their top animation bachelor program graduates have both the expertise and skills required to contribute to the field of animation.

Some famous alumni of this institute include co-creator and animator of 'Tom and Jerry' – Joseph Barbera; and Warner Brothers and Walt Disney animator – Eric Goldberg.

The Pratt Institute is also accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Start Your Animation Career In The United States

Even though a degree in animation will prepare you to work in illustrious animation houses like DreamWorks and Pixar, your options are more versatile and broad.

An animation program will teach you how to implement advanced technology and support the artistic vision you carry by covering storylines, coursework, craft development, and characters.

That is why, when you graduate, you will be fully prepared to enter multiple industries, ranging from technology to education.

Furthermore, you will be qualified to work in various settings, regardless of whether you aim to become a production designer, art director, multimedia specialist, film editor, or character artist.

But if you are still unsure which animation program in the US will be right for you, why not get advice from one of the hundreds of student advisors at Superprof.

Certified, qualified, and experienced counselors and tutors are available just a click away. Just search for animation tutors near me at Superprof and gain all the animation career information you need.

So why the wait? Head on to Superprof and connect with experienced animation tutors near you!

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