Best Online Associate in Animation Illustration


Find top-ranked online associate in animation illustration degree programs to for students looking to enter the workforce as multimedia artists and computer animation artists.

Key Takeaways

  • The associate degree in animation illustration is an affordable way to get started on your college education. The typical associate degree will take about two years to complete.

  • Many community colleges and two-year schools offer both traditional and online degree programs for students pursuing their associate degree in animation illustration.

  • Earning an online associate degree in animation illustration can prepare you for a variety of entry level jobs in your field. Many students also continue into a bachelor’s degree program in animation illustration or a related area.

Featured Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Animation Illustration Degrees

Students earning an associate in animation illustration will study topics such as the fundamentals of two- and three-dimensional animation, special effects, and motion graphics. Many associate animation degree programs are available both online or in-person. Students will learn essential digital arts skills such as computer animation, graphic design, and game art as well as how to use tools like Adobe Photoshop and other key applications included in the Adobe Creative Suite.

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Earning an animation degree at the associate level can be a great way to gain basic knowledge in areas like computer animation, graphic design, computer graphics and other valuable skills for high graph animation industry jobs in areas like digital media design, video game development, animation production and more.

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Most online animation degrees are around 60 credits, and will typically take two years to complete.

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Students who earn an associate degree in animation can enter the workforce as multimedia artists and computer animation artists. Animation students often find careers in television studios, advertising agencies, computer graphic design, video game development, and more. Many students will transfer into an online bachelor’s degree program in animation. Students at the bachelor’s level will often combine their studies of digital arts with a focus on fine arts. You may also be able to apply the credits from your associate animation program toward a degree at an art university.

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Best Online Associate in Animation Illustration Degree Programs
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Best Online Associate in Animation Illustration Degree Programs

  1. #1

    Academy of Art University

    San Francisco , CA

    Tuition + fees




    Student body


    Online Degrees

    AA in Animation & Visual Effects
    • Required Credits: 66
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in Illustration
    • Required Credits: 66
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online

Career Outlook for Students with Animation Illustration Degree

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Digital Arts

Degree Level: Associate's

  • Location: The U.S. (Private Schools)
  • Avg. Cost of Degree*: $5,805
  • Avg. Expenses*: $13,610
  • Avg. Starting Salary*: $17,108
  • Avg. Salary after 4 Years*: $28,446
  • Avg. Cost Recoup Time**: 8 years
  • Job Growth: 4.45%
  • Number of Jobs: 782,100
  • * denotes ‘annually’
  • ** denotes ‘at 15% of annual salary’

Career Salaries

CareerJob GrowthAvg. Salary
Art Directors6.00%$96,017
Special Effects Artists and Animators8.17%$78,763
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary3.15%$71,919
Artists and Related Workers, All Other3.57%$55,275
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators5.15%$54,845

Average Career Salaries

Bottom 10%MedianTop 10%

Promising Job Markets

StateCost of LivingAvg. Salary
#2 New York5% higher than average$86,461
#3 Georgia13% higher than average$68,085
#4 California26% higher than average$92,210
#5 Illinois7% higher than average$66,304
#6 North Carolina11% higher than average$62,189

Top Industries

IndustryAvg. Salary
Art Directors$96,017
Special Effects Artists and Animators$78,763
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary$71,919

Find more online animation and illustion at the bachelor’s degree level.

There are many amazing options for getting your online associate’s degree! You could also get your associate’s in information systems, French, or construction! Look into a variety of options and then decide which one works best for you!

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.

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