What You Should Know About This Degree
Though there are various roles in the field of game design, it’s important to consider that most of them require some sort of artistry background. Many people working in game development also have firsthand experience with games and illustration or drawing. One similar career path is a degree in craft and fine arts. This program focuses on physical materials and techniques for art. In contrast, a degree in a game design field, such as simulation or multimedia animation, adds a 3-D element to artistry.
The technical element of a degree in graphic design can slightly bridge the gap between fine arts and animation degrees. The median pay for a graphic designer in 2019 was $52,110 — $23,160 less than graduates of a multimedia arts program such as game design. Computer programming is another related degree. Though the median pay in 2019 was $86,550, job prospects are expected to drop 9% by 2029.
For many positions in this career, an associate or bachelor’s degree is sufficient, with only top-level developers and directors choosing to pursue a master’s degree. Experience and a robust portfolio are much more valuable than a graduate degree. Internships and entry-level jobs might help. Additional skill sets, such as computer programming or drawing, can also give applicants an edge.
The following are some questions to ask when researching game design degree programs:
- Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? All programs on this list are offered on campus for individuals who prefer face-to-face instructions. Some institutions, however, such as Full Sail University, offer degrees entirely online. The online format allows students to submit assignments on a deadline instead of having to attend class at a specific time. That option might be ideal for students with other responsibilities, such as families or full-time jobs.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? Programs on this list range from 30 to 180 credit hours. The majority hover around 120 credit hours. This typically equates to about four academic years for a bachelor’s degree.
When researching programs, make sure to ask about which application materials you need to submit, such as proof of high school completion. Also ask about relevant deadlines for your chosen start date and potential tests or assessments that some art-based degrees may require.
Securing funding for your degree might seem daunting, but most schools offer financial aid to those who qualify. Look into state or federal grants, as well as private or public scholarships, to help offset costs.