Can You Have a Successful Career as an Animator Without a Degree?

Are you worried that you might not be able to have a promising career as an animator without a college degree? You are not alone as many other budding animators have the same concerns.

The reasons for not getting a degree are numerous. Some people are simply either not interested in continuing education or cannot afford to go to a reputable university. These factors have led to a large number of people without a college degree.

Amongst these are people like you who are interested in animating. However, as you must have experienced it yourself, people struggle to find the right moment to initiate their career because of uncertainty about whether they would succeed in this field without a degree. This article explores your options.

Can You Learn Animation Without a Degree?

If you had inquired about this some 20 years ago, our answer would have been a big NO. However, the way education is imparted and how skills are learned has changed dramatically since the internet became widespread. Today, if you want to learn any skill, just Google it, and there you go, thousands of ways to learn it.

Animation is no different than any other skill. If you Google it now, you will see tons of online courses on Coursera, Udemy, Edx, and other similar sites. These courses range from being free to those that require a small fee. We suggest that you try the free ones first to learn the basics. Once you realize you have mastered them, polish your skills by going for the premium ones.

The question arises whether you will be able to learn it as well as a student with a degree in animation? Our answer is yes. If you remain consistent with practicing and start working as a freelancer, your skills will develop with time to enable you to be on par with a degree holder in this field.

Will Companies Hire You Without a Degree?

The is the most fundamental question when thinking about a successful career – will companies hire me? And if you are without a degree, you will be worried because you see all the top companies recruiting students from campuses every year. However, the animation sector is way different.

Just to give you a perspective, out of the total 12 million animators working across the globe, 68% are without a degree. Isn’t that fascinating to know? It will have given you relief and motivation because it is proof that this skill is something that can be successfully self-taught. You do not need a degree to land a job at a good company.

Being an animator is a skill. The more you practice, the better you get. Even if the degree holders fail to practice what they learn, they would be useless to a company.

Will You Face Difficulties Without a Degree?

Having a degree has its perks. While studying in a university, you will attend lectures that will provide opportunities for you to excel. If you are studying animation and related studies, you can join various societies in the university. There, you can work on animation projects to build your portfolio.

It also helps you expand your network. After many years, your friends from the business school might become an executive of a gaming company. If they know how good you are at animation, they might contact you instead of someone they do not know. Or they might inform you of a job vacancy at their firm. This way, landing a job becomes much easier.

Another edge that people with degrees get is that the universities help them find internships. Moreover, the administration arranges job fairs where recruiters can hire them. This also helps them to find a job quickly.

While self-learning the skill, you will have to discipline yourself. While completing the degree, you will have to attend classes or you will be penalized. Contrastingly, while self-learning, you will have to motivate yourself to watch videos and practice.

How To Overcome Those Difficulties?

Are you disheartened by the difficulties that will come your way? Try not to despair as you should be able to overcome these difficulties quite easily. As far as networking and portfolio building is concerned, you can work with some small-level companies or start freelancing. You can do the first few projects free of charge and later start freelancing to generate income.

Once you think you have enough skills, you can apply for a job. However, most animators today prefer freelancing instead of full-time jobs because of the flexibility and good earnings.

As far as self-learning is concerned, constantly motivate yourself. Enroll in a paid course with assessments so that you are obliged to focus on the lectures. Make a routine and stick to it at any cost. This way you can overcome the difficulties.

Opportunities In This Field

Is the market for animators saturated? Will there be no jobs once you get in? These are questions almost everyone asks when deciding which field to get into. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its recent report, mentioned that the jobs in this field are going to grow at 4% annually for the next decade, which is better than most fields.

Moreover, with the boom in gaming, social media advertising, and web content, more jobs are being created. We can safely say that there is still a great demand for animators across the globe.

Expected Earning as An Animator

Recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the average salary of an animator is around $70,000. Glassdoor’s report paints a similar picture. These data only account for animators working full-time.

If you decide to work as a freelance animator, then you can earn as much as you want. You can set how many days of a year or how many hours a day you work. This flexibility is what is attracting more and more animators to work as freelancers instead of full-time jobs.

Final Thoughts 

Animation is one of the jobs that will be in demand in the future. As explained earlier, even if you do not have a degree, you can still pursue your career in this field and be successful. Just motivate yourself and start learning. 

Special thanks Kenny Deriemaeker for providing the image

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