Animation Job Outlook

Learn more about careers in animation. Find information on animation careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular schools that prepare students for careers as animators.


Have you ever watched a movie or television show with such amazing special effects and wondered “How did they do that?” The answer to the question is more than likely “through the expertise and knowledge of an animator or multimedia artist”. Animators use various artistic tools and computer technologies to bring unique concepts to life. Through their work, animators are able to tell stories, enhance stories and provide an unlimited amount of entertainment for viewers. Animators are most commonly employed in the film, television and video game industries. Additionally, animators may be employed in advertising agencies and publishing companies.

What is perhaps most fascinating about the work completed by animators is that their craft requires the synthesis of traditional art techniques, technology and media to create something special and unique. Animators typically begin their tasks with the development of storyboards that outline the vision sought. Once the storyboards have been developed by the animator, various computer and media techniques needed to bring the vision to life are employed. In order to create the right effect, animators may spend countless hours working on several seconds of a movie clip or television show. The work they produce may be both entertaining and breathtaking.


In general the term “animator” is not widely used as a descriptor for jobs in this field. Rather, animators hold various job titles depending on their specific area of specialization. For instance, animators may hold positions as multimedia artists, art directors, cartoonists, video game designers or motion graphics technicians. Although professionals working in this occupation can choose from a wide range of occupations, each will require specific education and training that includes both art and technology instruction. Some four-year degree programs at colleges and universities can provide the student with access to needed supports for entering the field. However, in most instances, students seeking to become animators will need to attend a animation, design or technical art school in order to acquire the needed skills for employment. Technical schools typically have access to the needed technologies to help students understand how to combine their artistic capabilities with technology to create multimedia art.


Earnings for animators will vary based on the specific industry in which the professional is employed. In general most professionals with education in multimedia art hold jobs in the film and video game industries. Overall, salaries for individuals in these positions range from $31,570 to $100,390. The median annual salary for this position is $58,250. Professionals working in the film industry will command the highest salaries compared with all other specializations in multimedia art. In addition, those working in multimedia art instruction will also command generous salaries. Although many positions in the animation field are full-time, as many as 60 percent of professionals working in the field are self-employed. Individuals that are self-employed are able to choose from a wide range of projects across a number of different industries. Flexibility and the opportunity to learn new skills in different areas of multimedia art can make self-employment in animation can expand the professional’s earning potential.

Job Outlook

Job growth in the field of animation and multimedia art is projected to be quite robust through 2016. Growth in the industry is expected to be 26 percent with a total of 23,000 new jobs being added over this time period. Even though job growth in animation is expected to be higher than for most other occupations, competition for positions in the field will be quite intense. A large number of artistically talented individuals are entering into the field in order to obtain steady lucrative work. Professionals with post-secondary education will be more likely to find jobs in the field as will those with extensive experience in multimedia art projects. Specific areas of specialization will be in higher demand than others. In particular, demand for professionals working in film, specifically in 3-D, will increase in the coming years. Significant growth in video game design is also expected to increase demand for animators.

Recommended Schools

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