Best Animation Schools In The Us (2023)

It is no more news that the animation industry is now very competitive. The industry has moved from just television show creation and creating video games, to developing great virtual reality experiences.Let us know Best Animation Schools In The Us.

Even though the number of online videos on learning animation, is increasing daily, studying animation in schools, is still a good way to sharpen specialized skills while you carry out creative intentions. When you own a degree – be it Bachelor’s or Master’s – in animation, you are distinguished from the crowd. This not only places you in a different league from others but the potential of your earnings and technical know-how also gets influenced.

At this point, you may not be certain of the best animation schools in the United States. Don’t worry, we have got this covered. The best animation schools found in the United States are the Rhode Island School of Design, University of California – Los Angeles, Full Sail University, Savannah College of Art & Design, California Institute of the Arts, School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, University of Carnegie Mellon University, Academy of Art University, Southern California, Hollywood, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, and the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Keep reading for more information on the different animation programs made available by these schools. But first, an overview of the current demand for animators.

Overview of Animation Career in the World Today

Animation is a creative branch of art. Owing to its present technical importance and aesthetics, studying animation has steadily become popular in the US. This has seen a hike in the number of interests and applications in the program, in the United States.

As earlier stated, you can take the course either as a Bachelor of Arts or Masters of Fine Arts in animation. These certificates will set you on another level from others in the field. It is no more limited to only just designing cartoons and video games, but the creation of adventures in virtual reality has found its way inside.

The average annual salary for animations and artists who specialize in special effects is $75,000. That’s about two times the salary of average jobs around. This has seen an increase of 16% in the search for jobs in animation.

Animation has been predicted to experience a growth of 15% between now and 2030. This means that they’ll be more competitive in the industry. Hence, the importance of studying the program in a good school, cannot be downplayed.

Top Animation Schools in the United States

In the US, there is no shortage of schools with animation programs. Majority of these schools are known to provide quality and practical-based education for the program. Other benefits include internships and good networking.

All these make it difficult for applicants to choose the top animation schools in the United States. The compiled list below highlights the best animation schools (in no particular order) in the United States.

University of California – Los Angeles

It is no surprise to find the University of California on this list. The school houses its School of Theater, Film, and Television, which is placed among the very best schools of arts in the United States. William Shull, who worked as an animator for Disney, contributed to the establishment of the school.

The admission rate is low as the slots are highly competitive. Only about 12 students are admitted per opening. It is tough getting admission into the school. This small class population aids the school’s personalized practical-based education.

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Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is situated at the always-vibrant Pittsburgh. The school is reputable for offering one of the best animation programs in the US. The school has an animation program known as the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe).

Often described as one of the most rigorous, intensive, and comprehensive animation programs offered in the United States, animation students of Carnegie Mellon University, are developed to become very technical in their careers. Some of their programs for undergraduate minors include:

• Game Design

• Physical Computing

• Media Design

• Intelligent Environments

• Design for Learning

• Sonic Arts

• Innovation and Entrepreneurship

• Animation and Special Effects

Seasoned and experienced lecturers handle all the programs.

Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University is situated in San Francisco, California. Widely regarded as one of the schools with top-quality animation education in the United States, the Academy of Art also offers a Master’s program in Animation, that is reputable for being one of the best in the United States.


The animation students of the school receive lectures in studio production environments, leading to proper practical-based teaching. Fruitvale Station and Beasts of the Southern Wild – a popular movie – was produced by the Academy of Art University. These illustrate the top-notch practical ability of the Academy of Art University.

Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute is located in New York, New York City. Their animation program has a ranking of 8th position by the Animation Career Review.

Pratt Institute’s Department of Digital Arts gives certification to their animation graduates with either the Digital Arts BFA or the Games Arts BFA. This department ensures that students receive the best possible attention, as they carry out their practical projects themselves.

There are options of choosing between 2-D Animation, Interactive Arts, 3-D Animation, and Animation and Motion Arts, for scholars who have an interest in studying at the school.

School of Visual Arts

You will find the School of Visual Arts in the beautiful city of New York. The very popular and reputable School of Visual Arts is found in the school. This positions it among the most exciting animation schools in the United States.

Here, students are drilled in rigorous, understandable, and intensive coursework, which ensures that students are taught what they need to learn. Digital animation is also offered by the school. This particular branch of animation is quickly gaining populace in the United States.

Some of their graduates end up working for well-respected organizations like UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Ted-ED. Being situated in New York City gives the students an easy pass to better networking and internships. New York City is home to several well-established animators, some of which have affiliations with the school.

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is viewed as one of the best animation schools in the nation. Situated in Los Angeles, California, the school runs an animation program that provides top-quality education to intending animators.

A long range of areas of specialization is being offered by the program. This helps their students to explore the program well. These areas of specialization include:

• Interactive Installations

• Motion Graphics

• Documentary Animation

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• Projection-Mapping, etc.

Both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters in Fine Arts, are being offered to their students as they complete the program. This is also accompanied by other smaller certificates, such as 3-D animation, Animation and Digital Arts, and Science Visualization.

Rhode Island School of Design

Founded in 1877, the Island School of Design is situated in Providence, Rhode Island. Presently, it is widely regarded among the top five best animation schools in the county.

In this program, students are given access to top-notch facilities, alongside being developed in digital editing, as well as a host of other specializations. Workstations and laboratories are provided to their students, to aid in their practical.

California Institute of the Arts

The city of Valencia, California houses the famous California Institute of the Arts. The Institute of Arts was established by Walt Disney.

Programs such as the 3-year MFA Experimental Animation Program, BFA Character Animation, and BFA Experimental Animation, are offered by the institute. In other to exhibit the works of their scholars, the Bijou Festival is usually hosted by the school during the Spring period.

Savannah College of Art & Design

(Savannah, Georgia).

Savannah College of Arts and Design is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, animation schools in the United States. The trio of MA, BFA, and MFA, are offered by the College. Their reputation for producing a wide variety of successful animators in the country, speaks for them.

Some of the graduates of the school, end up getting employed by various highly placed establishments, such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks. Their faculty is regarded as one of the most competent animation faculties in the United States, which provides their students with better work opportunities.

Ringling College of Art and Design

Situated in Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design offers an animation program that has 11 specialization areas in it. These include Motion Design, Computer Animation, and Virtual Reality Development.

A good number of scholars who have gone on to win several awards in the animation industry have been produced by the school.

Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood

Founded in 1997, the Gnomon School of Visual Effects is located in Hollywood, California, right inside the Television Center Studio Lot. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, is positioned as one of the top 3% of schools and colleges accredited by the commission.

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Their classrooms are molded in form of real studio production environments. Alongside its degree program, the school also offers several vocational certificate programs, for students who wish to make a name for themselves in the industry. You can also take their 10 weeks individual courses, which gives students the chance to combine the courses according to their targets.

Their programs include a BFA or Certificate in Digital Production and the one-year Foundation in Art and Design program.

In terms of employment rate, Gnomon records an impressive graduates employment rate of 97%, as their graduates end up getting employed by top studios like the Digital Domain, Electronic Arts, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, Reel FX, Industrial Light and Magic, DreamWorks, Marvel Entertainment, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Full Sail University

Full Sail University began in 1979. The school has different programs in Entertainment, Media, and Arts. These programs include BS, MS, BFA, MFA, and AS. They also offer graduate certificates to interested scholars.

Due to its closeness to Universal Studios, its students have good internship opportunities available. Currently, the school houses about 15,000 students. Intending animators have various program options such as a BS in Computer Animation. This program can be completed in either 20 months for campus study, or 32 months for online study.

Their courses include Character Rigging, Creative Presentation, Animation Production, Model Creation, Character Animation, Shading and Lighting, Psychology of Play, Visual Development, etc. As part of their practical-based teaching, their students are expected to complete two seminars on Professional Development. These seminars will be on Career Readiness – Computer Animation, and Computer Animation.

Full Sail graduates have turned out successful, with over 130 of them working on 2020’s films nominated for the Oscars.


Maybe you are aspiring to get into the animation and visual effects industry, or you wish to become better in the industry, you will find this article very informative and useful. In this article, the top animation schools found in the United States, have been listed.

The schools include the Rhode Island School of Design, University of California – Los Angeles, Full Sail University, Savannah College of Art & Design, California Institute of the Arts, School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, University of Carnegie Mellon University, Academy of Art University, Southern California, Hollywood, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, and the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Other notable information like tuition, and impressive student practical work, have also been included.

As earlier stated, no particular order is used to list these schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Must one attend any of these animation colleges to be successful in their animation career?


While it is not true that one can’t have a successful animation career without having to attend one of these colleges, attending these schools quickens the pathway to your career.

2. What if I am just excited about animation?

If you are only excited about animation, then you can opt for different free online resources.


What school has the best animation program? ›

Best Universities & Colleges for Animation
  • Purdue University. ...
  • Pratt Institute. ...
  • Rhode Island School of Design. ...
  • Ringling College of Art and Design. ...
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. ...
  • Savannah College of Art and Design. ...
  • University of Pennsylvania. Degree: Digital Media Design Program. ...
  • Woodbury University. Degree: BFA in Animation.

What is the best college to become an animator? ›

Best Colleges for Animation
  • Florida State University.
  • Full Sail University.
  • George Mason University.
  • Loyola Marymount University.
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology.
  • North Carolina State University.
  • Ohio State University.
  • Pratt Institute.

Where do most Disney animators go to college? ›

Where did people who work as animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios go to college?
CollegeLocation% of Employee Degrees
GobelinsParis, France3%
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)Los Angeles, California2%
School of Visual Arts (SVA)New York, New York2%
New York University (NYU)New York, New York2%
29 more rows
Jul 18, 2022

Where do most Pixar animators go to school? ›

Where did people who work as animators at Pixar go to college?
School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC)Chicago, Illinois
California College of the Arts (CCOA)San Francisco, California
Columbia College ChicagoChicago, Illinois
Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD)Laguna Beach, California
22 more rows
Jul 18, 2022

What state pays animators the most? ›

We found that New Hampshire is the best state in the nation for animators, and people in Carson City earn the most in the field. 67.7% of people in the field are White, while 13.9% are Hispanic or Latino.
4. District of Columbia.
Total Animator Jobs:43
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$163,000
3 more rows
Apr 6, 2021

What is the number 1 animation school in the world? ›


What major is best for animation? ›

The most common degrees for aspiring animators are Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. Some animation schools offer Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degrees that focus on the technical side of animation.

Are animators in high demand? ›

Employment of special effects artists and animators is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Is an animation career worth it? ›

Yes, an animation degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 4% job growth for artists and animators over the next 10 years. Common animation careers include art director, animation artist, craft or fine artist, graphic designer, and web developer.

Do animators make enough money? ›

An animator in the movie and television industry can make up to $76,000 per year.
The Earning Potentials Of Animators In The Television And Films Industry In The US.
AnimatorRate Per HourAnnual Average Salary
1 more row
Apr 4, 2022

What degree do most animators have? ›

Animators and other multimedia artists typically hold a bachelor's degree in animation. This degree may qualify graduates for work as video game designers, art directors, and film and video directors. Students can earn a bachelor's degree online on a part-time or full-time basis.

Where are the most animation jobs in US? ›

Portland, OR. Portland is home to the vast majority of the state's animation professionals, and they've seen a great deal of success in recent years. Many of Portland's top studios are smaller, boutique operations, making it a great city for those who shy from the corporate lifestyle.

Is it hard to get a job at Pixar? ›

Getting a job at Pixar is notoriously difficult. The American computer animation studio, known for its critically and commercially successful computer-animated feature films such as “Lightyear” and “Coco”, only employs the best of the best.

Does Disney hire animators? ›

Walt Disney Animation Studios is located in Burbank, CA and it is home to more than 600 employees from animators to storyboard artists to software engineers. The company's artists and tech talent spend their days creating some of the world's most elaborate animated features in a festive environment.

What do Disney animators major in? ›

You need a bachelor's degree to be a Disney animator. Walt Disney Animators Studios (WDAS) looks for animators with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Animation or related field or equivalent work experience. It is also important to have at least 2 years computer animation experience with Maya or a similar program.

Do Pixar animators get paid well? ›

The estimated total pay for a Animator at Pixar Animation Studios is $90,968 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $73,239 per year.

Where is the best place to live for animators? ›

Home of Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, is the premiere city to find work for virtually all creative professionals, including 2D Animators. Home to MGM, Disney, Sony Pictures, and Dreamworks, among many other small studios, LA houses most of the world's major animation studios.

Are animators underpaid in America? ›

In America, becoming an animator is a pretty decent job. According to Payscale, the median salary for an animator is around $50,000. For more prestigious jobs like at Disney, they can make $116,000-$125,000 a year, according to their official job site.

Do animators get paid well in America? ›

Animator Salaries

The national average salary for a Animator is $71,649 in United States. Filter by location to see Animator salaries in your area.

How old are most animators? ›

The average age of an employed animator is 40 years old. The most common ethnicity of animators is White (67.7%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (13.9%), Asian (7.5%) and Unknown (5.8%). Animators are most in-demand in Austin, TX.
Animator Gender By Year.
9 more rows
Sep 9, 2022

Which country is number 1 in animation? ›

The country fosters incredible creativity and uniqueness with its myriad of international animation-industry events and associations, like the Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation.
Top 20 Cities Worldwide for Animation Careers.
4SeoulSouth Korea
16 more rows
Jan 26, 2023

Is animation a hard career? ›

10. Pick another career - Working in the field of animation is very hard. Everyone wants to be a character animator, rather than do all of the other nitty gritty work necessary to make an animation.

What are three careers in animation? ›

Some jobs animation graduates can expect, for instance, include graphic designers, animators, production artists, and art directors. This article explains what the animation career path is all about.

How to get a job at Pixar? ›

Many people grew up watching endearing family films made by talented artists, and for many animators, working at Pixar is a career goal.
How to Apply for a Job at Pixar
  1. Check out the Pixar website for job openings. ...
  2. Prepare a cover letter. ...
  3. Submit your art portfolio or demo reel. ...
  4. Attend interviews.
Apr 16, 2022

Where do I start my career in animation? ›

How to Become a Successful Animator
  • Take animation courses or a degree program. For most people, going to school is the first step for how to become an animator. ...
  • Dedicate yourself to developing your skills. ...
  • Create a stellar portfolio and demo reel. ...
  • Get a variety of work experience. ...
  • Explore Animation Programs & Courses.
Apr 16, 2018

Does college matter for animation? ›

In short, going to college isn't a golden ticket to an animation job, just be a good animator. Even though, like I said before, a college degree doesn't necessarily matter as much, you'll still need high-quality training to get better, and you'll usually find that training at college.

Can animators make 6 figures? ›

Glassdoor has the national average a bit higher at $74,000. Like many other fields, compensation for animators also depends on experience: it's not uncommon for senior-level animators or art directors to earn well into six figures.

Is animation a stressful job? ›

High-pressure work environment

The work environment for multimedia artists and animators can be stressful. They might work under tight deadlines and significant pressure to get their designs completed as quickly as possible.

Do animators have future? ›

Animation with time has got a good hold over movies, television and advertising industries due to the excessive use of special effects. Full length animation movies are in great demand. A single animation film requires as many as 500 animators, which means huge employment opportunities.

What are the negatives of being an animator? ›


Animation work is time-consuming and super precise. It can take days or even weeks to animate a single minute of action. You will spend many hours staring intently at a screen while assessing motions that take a fraction of a second.

Do animators have to be good at drawing? ›

In fact, you don't even need to know how to draw to create 3D animation. The majority of your work will consist of using a computer to manipulate and control characters in the same way you would move a puppet. Drawing is only one of a few ways to “animate” or “bring to life” an object or character.

Do animators get underpaid? ›

In America, working as an animator is a relatively decent job and offers a number of benefits. The median salary is around $50,000, and for more prestigious jobs, animators can make up to $125,000 a year. On the other side of the Pacific, however, the middle-tier key animator in Japan earns around $26,000.

Is it hard to become a successful animator? ›

It's a career path that takes a great deal of love and dedication to the art form, but if you love it then it's going to be completely worth it. You'll find out very quickly if character animation is something you want to pursue; it's at times frustrating, confusing and, above all, difficult.

How many hours do animators work? ›

How many hours do animators work? Most animators work a regular schedule, typically a minimum of 40 hours a week. However, when deadlines are approaching, they may work overtime—including nights and weekends.

Do you need talent to animate? ›

Animating well is HARD. It takes a lot of practice and studying to understand. Whether you have a knack for it or not you will put in many hours trying to master it. However, talent is definitely not a requirement.

Which is the No 1 animation in the world? ›

All Time Worldwide Animated Box Office
12019Frozen II
32018Incredibles 2
67 more rows

Who is the number 1 animator in the world? ›

The Japanese animator and director, Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most revered and respected figures in the world of animation for good reason.

Who is the number 1 animator? ›

Walt Disney is no doubt the best known animator worldwide. His name is practically synonymous with animation.

What majors are best for animators? ›

Animators and special effects artists typically have a bachelor's degree in fine art, computer graphics, animation, or a related field. Programs in computer graphics often include courses in computer science in addition to art courses.

Are animation schools worth it? ›

Yes, an animation degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 4% job growth for artists and animators over the next 10 years. Common animation careers include art director, animation artist, craft or fine artist, graphic designer, and web developer.

What is the most popular animation right now? ›

Best Animated Movies 2021
  • #1. Raya and the Last Dragon. 94% #1. ...
  • #2. The Mitchells vs. the Machines. 97% ...
  • #3. Luca. 91% #3. ...
  • #4. Flee. 98% #4. ...
  • #5. Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train. 98% #5. ...
  • #6. Encanto. 91% #6. ...
  • #7. Vivo. 86% #7. ...
  • #8. Ron's Gone Wrong. 80% #8.

What animation made the most money? ›

The Lion King (remake)

What are top 5 animations? ›

Top 10 Animated Movies of All Time
  • Shrek (2001) ...
  • the Toy Story series (1995-2019) ...
  • Fantasia (1940) ...
  • Finding Nemo (2003) ...
  • Bambi (1942) ...
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991) ...
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959) ...
  • Spirited Away (2001)
Jan 10, 2023

Who is the youngest animator? ›

She is reported to hold a Guinness World Record for becoming the youngest CEO in India of a Chennai-based animation company called Seppan, which was founded in 2010 and had ten employees in 2014.
Sindhuja Rajaraman.
Sindhuja Rajamaran
Occupation(s)Animator, Artist
Parent(s)Rajamaran Sumathi Rani
2 more rows

Who is the most youngest animator? ›

Aman Rehman (born on 26th July 2000) from Uttarakhand, India is working on Animations from the tender age of 3 years.

Which country is best for animators? ›

Best countries to study animation
  • Animation in USA.
  • Animation in UK.
  • Animation in Canada.
  • Animation in Australia.
  • Animation in Cyprus.
  • Animation in Netherlands.

Who is the most famous female animator? ›

1. Lotte Reiniger. Credited with directing the first feature-length animated film, Reiniger was born in 1899 in Berlin. Fascinated as a child by acting and movies, she worked on an animated sequence in The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1918) and other films.

Who is the God of animator? ›

Why Akira Creator Katsuhiro Otomo Is the God of Animation - LA Weekly.

How much do top animators make? ›

Animators make $76,853 per year on average, or $36.95 per hour, in the United States. Animators on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $52,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $112,000.


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(Texas A&M School of Architecture)
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(World Scholarship Forum)
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