Guide to Video Game Designer Schools
While the production behind video games is in some cases massive, most programs prepare students for any of the various elements involved including level design, storyboards, sketches, and character design. Students also learn how to design for various platforms including consoles, computers, and even smartphones. Get in touch with one of the top online video game designs schools for free by using any of the link in the following list.
||DeVry University–Devry's offers degrees in Bachelor in Gaming and Simulation Programming and Bachelor in Computer information Systems. Gaming and Simulation Programming offers students education in language coding, visual design principles and software methodology pertaining to video games. The BCIS offers training in multimedia and web site design that can be used to help create online gaming.|
||International Academy of Design & Technology–The International Academy of Design and Technology offers their BFA in Game Production for those looking to become video game design experts. Enrollees will obtain education from instructors who possess real-world experience and can assist its graduates in creating a competitive successful digital portfolio. Programmers will also learn various business, communicative and teambuilding skills to thrive within the industry.|
||The Art Institute of Pittsburgh–Those enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design program and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh will hone their artistic skills in relation to game design and creation. Students are taught the importance of gameplay design, along with how create viable gaming characters and interactive virtual environments.|
||Full Sail University–Full Sail's Bachelor of Science in Game Design provides its students with the chance to cultivate the skills needed to design games and aid in interactive storytelling. Those enrolled will learn how to plan, develop and test their work to be professionally marketable and help prep for careers with design companies.|
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What Types of Video Game Design Degrees Exist and What are They Called?
Making video games your career is more a possibility now than ever. There are even video game design schools and degrees especially for the trade and we have listed a few of the options below.
- Programs in Animation
- Programs in Game Art & Design
- Programs in Game Production
- Programs in Game Software Development
- Programs in Media Design
- Programs in Illustration
And the above are just some of the degrees available for video game designers. While some of them are specifically for design, other degrees such as information technology or programming can also be useful when becoming a video game designer.
Where Can I Find Video Game Design School Rankings?
A number of factors can be used when ranking video game design schools. One of the best known ranking agencies for both undergraduate and graduate schools is “U.S. News & World Report.” Using a complex system, factors such as acceptance rate and average student GPA are used to derive rankings. They even offer a list of the top ranked graduate schools in computer science that offer specialties in programming language. There are also loads of other school rankings to choose from.
When choosing between video game design schools, the most important thing to look for is accreditation. Granted by the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation can tell students which schools offer legitimate degrees before they even apply. Simply use their database to look up a school or find schools by state.
Before turning to any video game design school rankings, students should prioritize which video game design school’s offerings are most important to them. For example, learning about available financial aid can be far more important than tuition costs, because financial aid determines how much the student spends out of pocket for an education.
Can I Transfer Video Game Design School Credits?
Even if your past college courses or degree are not in video game design, you can still be eligible for transfer credits. These allow students to bypass classes they have already taken, get credit for them, and begin their studies at a more advanced level. Because transfer credits can save both time and money, it is important to know what a school’s transfer credit policy is as soon as possible.
Most schools, including those for video game design, have some form of transfer credit policy. They usually negotiate with other area schools in advance which and how many credits they will transfer. Schools that are found nationwide also have circumstances under which they will accept transfer credits. For most schools, the courses being transferred must be at the collegiate level, be passed with a certain grade, and are subject to a maximum allowable transfer credits, which is determined by each individual school.
One of the most common issues when transferring credits for a video game design, or any other, degree is the issue of nationally accredited schools versus regionally accredited. These schools can all be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s database, but aren’t necessarily accredited by the same agencies. Because different agencies have accredited the schools, transfer credits may be limited or not allowed at all. If the schools are accredited by the same agency, transfer credits are more likely to happen.
What Sorts of Careers are Common With a Video Game Design Degree?
You don’t need a specific video game design degree to be employed in one of the careers below, but it doesn’t hurt.
- Video Game Tester: A simple love of video games is what is needed to be product testers for makers of video games. Writing concise and useful reports are also part of the job.
- Video Game Demonstrator: Show both future players of the game, buyers, and executives what the game has to offer in this career.
- Video Game Promoter: These professionals work on the business side of video games including promotional and marketing aspects.
- 3D Artist: Because the medium of video games is shifting more and more towards the three dimensional, designers with knowledge of 3D are sought for the video game industry.
- Software Designer: Often video games are also released as software to be played on computers and designers are needed.
- Associate Video Game Producer: Assist in the actual production of a video game and work with producers to create a unique video game.
- Video Game Producer: Take the lead in producing a game from design to the store shelves.
- Software Project Manager: Another leadership role, this career is also involved in every stage of developing software from its design to sales.
- Video Game Designer: Design and build games for major and up and coming video game companies in this career.
- Java Game Developer: Learning how to turn Java into a marketable video game is a career that is in demand.
Because the arena of video games is constantly changing, so are the careers available to video game designers. With technical knowledge from five years ago being obsolete today, the future seems to promise the same. No matter what area of video game design sought, there is a constant need to update, top the last game, and learn the latest in technology.
How do I Become a Video Game Designer?
While getting a career as a video game designer doesn’t necessarily require a degree in gaming, a formal education in computers, tech, information technology, or other related area is usually asked of. With different jobs asking for anything from an associate’s to a master’s degree, the years it can take to become a video game designer can vary.
With a high school diploma or equivalent, an associate’s degree in video game design or related area takes an average of two years to get. The most common degree offered in video games is the bachelor’s degree, which takes an average of four years to get. Those who are seeking a graduate degree in video game design or related area take two to four years to acquire one after an applicable bachelor’s degree is earned.
Those who wish to become video game designers are also required to have extensive knowledge of the medium, in addition to a love for the medium. Designers have to be familiar with photography, special effects, graphic design, 3D animation, and programming associated with video games.
Becoming a video game designer usually takes several years as a whole, and they are usually hired after gaining experience in a more entry level position. After building an appropriate portfolio, prospective video game designers can demonstrate to future employers games that have been worked on, games that have been improved, and even games that they have designed themselves.
What is the Average Salary of Someone With a Video Game Design Degree?
According to MSNBC, the average annual salary for all positions related to the video game business is $73,000. This is according to Game Developer Research, which has put out a report on the gaming industry and includes full salary, benefits, and bonuses comparisons for American, Canadian, and European video game industry salaries in 2009.
Other sites have the average for the video game industry lower. A visit to Indeed.com has the average annual salary for the video game industry at $35,000 per year. However, this figure is averaged by careers that are more entry level such as video game promoter ($17,000) and video game demonstrator ($32,000). However, the same site lists two video game design jobs that pay very well with an average salary of $100,000 per year: 1. Video game programmer and 2. Java game developer.
Where Can I Find Video Game Design Scholarships and Grants?
Although the video game design degree is still in its development stages educationally, there are still options for students seeking scholarships and/or grants.
- FAFSA: Because this form needs to be filled out for most grants and many scholarships, be sure to start on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible.
- ESA Scholarship: The Entertainment Software Association Foundation established a scholarship program to full-time undergraduate students at accredited four year colleges and universities who are pursuing degrees leading to careers in computer and video game arts.
- Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences: Named after noted professor Randy Pausch, the scholarship was established to support students who are pursuing careers specializing in the development of interactive entertainment.
- Microsoft Scholarships: These scholarships are for undergraduate studies in computer science and related technical disciplines. There are currently four to choose from.
- EA Scholarship: Electronic Arts is not only a gainful employer of video game designers, but also occasionally offers scholarships and lists more on their blog.
- WITS: The Women in Technology Scholarship is awarded to women who are enrolled at, or are accepted into, either a two or four year U.S. college and pursuing a career in information technology or related field.
- GDC Scholarships: The Game Developers Conference from the International Game Developers Association awards multiple scholarships to students studying the field of video gaming and even offer tips from past winners.
- IGDA: Visit the blog of the International Game Developers Association to learn more specifically about news in video game scholarships.
Remember that the best stop to getting scholarships or grants for a video game design degree is the financial aid office of the school you are attending or planning to attend. They can help you find funding opportunities, fill out forms, and more at no charge. If you are not yet enrolled in a video game design school, you can still ask the financial aid office of a prospective school how much financial aid you qualify for and even get an estimate for out of pocket costs before deciding.
There are differences between scholarships and grants. While both are free money that do not have to be paid back – unlike a student loan – scholarships are more competitive with only a few students winning, while grants are given to everyone who qualifies and applies for one and are usually done on a needs basis.
Video Game Design Schools is a guide to accredited video game design schools. On our website we maintain a comprehensive list of all video game design programs in addition to answering many students considering attending a video game design degree program in our FAQ section.
- California State University Chico
- California State University East Bay
- Channel Islands California State University
- Cogswell Polytechnical College
- Coleman University
- Expression College for Digital Arts
- Laguna College of Art & Design
- Mt Sierra College
- Pinnacle College
- Platt College San Diego
- Stanford University
- The Los Angeles Film School
- The Synergy of Art and Technology
- University of California Santa Cruz
- University of California Berkeley
- University of California Riverside
- University of California San Diego
- University of Southern California
- Westwood college
- Academy of Art University
- Digital Media Arts College
- Flordia Interactive Entertainment Academy
- Full Sail University
- International Academy of Design & Technology Orlando
- International Academy of Design & Technology
- ITT Technical Institute
- Keiser University
- Ringling College of Art and Design
- Tallahassee Community College
- University of Florida
- University of West Florida