top schools for animation

The 13 Best Schools For Animation In The US

The top animation schools train students for employment in the rapidly expanding fields of art and technology. 

You can study interactive entertainment, visual arts, art direction, and game animation in animation and motion arts education courses from these animation universities. 

After graduating, you can develop animated projects and work for well-known international animation studios.

It can be challenging to select the best animation college for your interest and we have solved that problem with this article. 

This article discusses the top animation schools, sample courses, and admission requirements to assist you in selecting the ideal program for you. 

We also listed the potential careers you could pursue with an animation degree.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Animator?

The time it will take to complete a college degree plus an additional year or two of internship or freelancing work might range from 4 to 7 years.

Animators in class

What Is An Animation Degree Called?

The degrees in animation can be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program.

Students learn animation-related skills such as character creation, concept development, special effects, background design, and script writing from these degrees.

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What Education Is Needed To Be An Animator?

Most multimedia artists, including animators, have a bachelor’s degree in animation. 

Graduates with this degree could be employed as video game designers, art directors, or film and video directors. 

You can get this bachelor’s degree online, either full- or part-time from any of the animation schools listed below..

What Subjects Do You Need For Animation?

Animation is a combination of different disciplines like graphic design, video effects, computer graphics, and 3D programming. 

Additionally, you can include kinematics, sound, and video editing in your program.

What Are The Best Schools For Animation?

These schools have proven to provide you with all it takes to be a successful animator. 

Some of them include:

1. The School of Visual Arts

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation program at the School of Visual Arts in New York equips students with all the skills they need to be successful. 

You will receive training using the most recent hardware and software tools used by professional animators to produce works of visual art.

2. Florida State University

Florida State University offers a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a focus on animation and digital arts. 

The program investigates the various ways that animation is used in the filmmaking process.

In the first class of the program, students at this top animation school in Florida start using 2D animation software, and some other recent technology available in the animation industry.

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3. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science offers a major in digital media design. 

In Penn’s degree, motion graphics, computer information, and sciences are combined with expertise in 3D animation software. This gives a comprehensive review of digital media in the modern world.

4. Columbia College of Chicago

Columbia College Chicago is one of the top animation schools in the country. They offer both conventional and digital animation as BA degrees. The school employs the best drawing tools and cut-out animation. 

Their computer animation program allows students to specialize in either computer animation or visual effects so they can customize their schooling to fit their career goals. Animation training in both 2D and 3D is available for both concentrations.

In the conventional animation curriculum, students select between a stop-motion animation or a hand-drawn animation emphasis. 

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5. New York University

NYU offers a BS and a BFA in Film & Television with an animation focus through the Tisch School of the Arts. 

Tisch is notable for being one of New York’s top animation schools. This is because it covers analyses of a wide range of film and television-related topics. 

This prepares students for a profession in their sector of choice while also imparting information and abilities outside the realm of animation. Students are skilled with programs like Adobe Flash and Moho (formerly Anime Studio).

This five-year animation program includes classes intended to provide students insight into the financial side of the arts industry. 

6. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

Maryland Institute College of Art is among the top animation colleges in the United States and is located near Baltimore. 

The BFA in Animation program at MICA teaches students how to produce original works of modern art.

Students are also taught to produce artistic works in 2D, stop-motion, 3D, or a combination of these techniques.

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7. University of California, Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles offers one of the top animation programs.

Their curriculum strikes a balance between innovation and technology which includes the following:

  • Scriptwriting
  • Editing
  • Storytelling

8. Carnegie Mellon University

Students can get knowledge of the various facets of animation through Carnegie Mellon University’s emphasis on animation and special effects.

Students can pick from any of these:

  • Rendering
  • 3D
  • 2D
  • Capturing performance
  • Additional effects

The animation concentration allows students to combine their integrative design, arts, and technology courses. 

Collaborative studios that encourage hands-on learning are also available to students at Carnegie Mellon. This enables them to put what they learn in class into practice in a real-world setting.

9. University of Southern California

The BA in Animation and Digital Arts program at the University of Southern California enables students to combine a liberal arts education with a career specialty.

Students can focus on any of the following areas:

  • Animated characters
  • Innovative animation
  • Visual results
  • A 3D computer animation
  • Science representation
  • Engaging animation

10. Ringling College of Art and Design

At Ringling College of Art and Design, students can obtain a BFA in Computer Animation while learning to develop characters and tell tales with computer-generated animation. 

The course teaches you how to engage an audience intellectually, emotionally, and visually and you can concentrate on learning how to integrate technical expertise with conceptual concepts. 

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11. Massachusetts College of Art and Design

This college cannot be skipped when you mention the top schools for animation.

After completion, graduates of this animation program are well-prepared to find jobs as well-rounded animators. 

Throughout their studies, students can use both traditional and experimental methods thanks to the program.

12. Laguna College of Art and Design, California

This is among California’s top animation schools. It provides a degree program in animation geared toward developing exceptional storytellers.

They expose students to animating and other open-source animation programs with cutting-edge capabilities.

13. The Ohio State University

Ohio State University is among the universities with a major in animation. Both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in arts and technology are offered in this school with a focus on animation. 

The animation program in this school offers students knowledge and abilities in the various facets of animation.

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What Is A Career In Animation Like?

A career in animation requires you to use animations, special effects, and other visual pictures to give objects and characters life for commercials, crime scene recreations, movies, innovations, website graphics, website tours, and other uses.

What GPA Do You Need To Be An Animator?

A high school diploma or a GED with a GPA of at least 2.0 is required to be accepted.

Can You Become An Animator Without Art School?

Yes, you can work as an animator without a degree.

Although a college degree is not compulsory, you will need it if you want to work in the profession for a respectable salary. 

This is because most firms prefer to work with applicants who have some type of formal industry training.

How Do I Prepare For An Animation Career?

These steps will get you on your animation career path

  1. Take animation courses or a degree program. For most people, going to school is the first to become an animator
  2. Dedicate yourself to developing your skills
  3. Create a stellar portfolio
  4. Get a variety of work experience
  5. Explore Animation Programs and Courses
  6. Apply for a lot of jobs and projects

Where Do Animators Work?

An animator can work in a publishing house, an advertising agency, or a software firm.

2D Or 3D Animators, who Make More Money?

3D animators make the most money. This is because 3D animation often takes longer and costs more money than 2D animation.

Do Animators Get Paid Well?

Yes, the average salary for animators in the US is $74,250, with wages ranging from $30,000 to $350,550. The top 80% of 3D animators earn $350,550, with the middle 60% earning between $60,000 and $73,500.

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What Skills Does An Animator Need?

Attending the best schools for animation is not enough, you need to have the needed skills to keep you on top of your game.

Here are some of the skills required of an animator:

  • A strong sense of vision and creative intellect.
  • A keen sense of color and detail.
  • The ability to use computer graphics software, model, or draw.
  • The discipline to work long hours.

What Are The Types Of Animation?

Here are the types of animation you can go into:

1. Whiteboard animation

This involves creating hand-drawn images and pictures on a white background. You can convey many complicated subjects, even medical lectures, with a great narrator voice and good visuals.

2. Motion graphics animation

Motion graphics entail producing visuals and moving them in time and space to accomplish a purpose or convey a story. The motion graphic elements are arranged in a series of frames. 

Animated motion graphics, in contrast to other types of animation, primarily make use of visuals and typography.

3. Hand-drawn animation

This kind of animation is similar to the traditional cartoons you’ve seen on Cartoon Network. 

Hand-drawn animation is referred to as “high-quality and luxury animation” because animators are required to sketch every frame of the scene and painstakingly create the movement for each frame.

4. Stop-motion animation

Stop motion is an animation technique in which objects are physically changed in minute amounts between separately captured frames.

They appear to demonstrate independent motion or change when the series of frames is played back.

5. 3D Animation

3D animation refers to the process of taking digital objects and making them come to life by creating the illusion that they’re moving through three-dimensional space. 

These computer-generated objects appear on a two-dimensional screen, but they’re crafted to mimic the principles of a 3D world. They appear to move, turn, and rotate like a real-world objects, allowing for a 360-degree view of all sides.

Are Animators In Demand?

Yes, the job opportunities for animators and special effects artists are anticipated to expand by 5% between 2021 and 2031, which is approximately average for all occupations. 

Also, there will be 6,700 new jobs for animators and special effects artists over the next ten years.

Can I Animate If I Can’t Draw?

Yes, you can animate without drawing.

A lot of skilled 3D animators produce stunning animations without drawing. 

Once you master the art of animation, knowing how to draw comes second.


The animation industry is growing and very much in demand. Attending the animation best schools is not enough, you have to put in the work to succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Schools For Animation

What college has the best animation?

One of the top animation schools in the country is Columbia College of Chicago. It grants a BA in both conventional and digital animation. They also offer computer animation or visual effects as options for students in the program.

Is animation a high-paying job?

Yes, animation is one of the most lucrative professional paths with a median yearly salary of $63,970, with top earners taking home more than $113,600 on average.

Is animation a good career?

Yes, a lot of young people are gravitating toward animation since it is a rewarding and lucrative career.

Where do Pixar animators go to school?

Pixar animators attend the Academy of Art University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, and California College of the Arts.

Where do most animators live?

The majority of the state’s animators are based in Portland, where they’ve seen remarkable success in recent years.


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