The past several months of the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine protocol has made many people take on new hobbies, many of which are digital. This of course includes gamers who always loved to game but went even deeper with their passion during a shelter-in-place. What an excellent time to think through revisions to your life path and consider returning to school for further education. If you are someone that not only loves to play video games but also loves to think through their inner workings and navigability, an associate’s degree in game design might be the perfect fit for you. The degree prepares students for a plethora of entry-level jobs for game design. This looks like offering a well-defined skillset in subjects that may include computer programming, animation, software development, web design, and even video production, testing, animation, drawing, and other art-related skills. Many people even study storytelling and the arts related to narrative games. The nice thing about entry-level game design jobs is they can be synonymous with many other related fields like computer programming, web development, and software engineering.
What to Expect with Game Design Degree Programs
One thing that is helpful to consider when choosing an academic pathway is how long the skillset that the program offers be relevant? In other words, is this career going to grow or is it more of a fad niche opportunity? Well, in this case, there is only room for growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of game design is expecting a fifteen percent growth rate by the year 2026. The nice thing about pursuing an associate’s degree program is that the commitment is fairly low. You are able to get your feet wet and try on a discipline and decide if you want to continue with it. Many graduates of associate degree programs in game design go on to achieve a bachelor’s degree in a similar discipline. You can see that many bachelor’s programs in the field are also extremely flexible. There are many bachelor offerings that are easily transferable from an associate’s program. A bachelor’s program might allow you to specialize a little bit further, as an associate in-game design generally offers an excellent foundation in many specializations that are applicable. A certificate program is also an option that works well in tandem with an associate or instead of. The reason someone might choose a certificate program instead of an associate’s, is they generally cut out all of the general education coursework, and enable students to skate right through the classes they are most beneficial for them.
Job Options for Game Designers
Entry-level jobs in game design are quite expansive. You can find many animators and artists who work within multimedia platforms that hold associates degrees. Many tech companies and video game companies look for graduates of associates programs. The good news about this is that even though they are entry-level game design jobs, they still pay a pretty penny as a result of the large studio budgets at hand. Many of the biggest employers in game design are located in California. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of new professionals in the field is $65,300.
One other thing to consider in terms of earning your associate in game design is the time frame. Most programs require students to complete 60 credit hours in order to accomplish the program. This generally takes two years, or even fewer; this is dependent on the credits the student already has and how many classes they take within a semester. Some programs are offered to utilize a cohort format, which means students will work alongside the same core group of students throughout their course of study. This is a great opportunity to have a built-in community to not only get through the program with others but also to be supported by others on this journey. The benefits of the cohort model go beyond graduation, as this is often the start of building a professional network that will support the course of your entire program.
Financial Aid for game Design Majors
Many online associates degree programs give students financial aid options. Certainly, many programs give students the opportunity to gain federal funding, by filling out the FAFSA form. Beyond that many schools offer extensive scholarship opportunities and discounts to various populations like veterans or first generation college students. There are even scholarship opportunities for single parents. It is always a great idea to make an appointment with admission or an academic advisor in a program for which you are considering and use that as an opportunity to ask a lot of questions.