The Top 15 Best Animation Schools In The US

A career in animation is a very exciting and fun one. You will create different imaginative characters and give meaning to them. Some people grew up to stop watching cartoons while some adults still enjoy them a lot. Neither be the case, it’s undoubted that most of us enjoy animation movies like anime and cartoons. Having a great passion for animation making is a speck. Thus, one of the best places you can obtain good knowledge and practice in animation is by attending animation schools in the US.

Anime series like avatar, naruto, and the rest including cartoons like Tom and Jerry and its likes were all thrilling moments for us. Meanwhile, animations like motion graphics are also used in adverts and trainer videos. Thus, as you read further, you’d realize that the principle of animation plays a much larger role in our lives. It all started from the now old-fashioned 2D. The 21st century 3D proposed a bigger change and advancement in the animation industry.

However, in this content, we are keen to help you actualize your dreams of becoming an animator. So, we’ve answered a series of queries regarding animation including and not limited to;

  • What was the first cartoon?
  • Is animation a high-paying job?
  • Can I animate if I can’t draw?
  • Where do most Disney animators go to school?
  • Do they have good animation schools in the US?
  • How do I enroll in animation schools in the US?

You don’t need to know how to draw to become an animator, but you must have an aesthetic mindset to bring imagination to life. Meanwhile, discover more about animation here as we’ve given the answers to the questions above. Interestingly we’ve included the 15 best animation schools in the US you can resort to.

You may also like to about the 15 Best Colleges for Acting, Theatre, and Drama

The Top 15 Best Animation Schools In The US

What Are Animation Schools?

Animation schools are educational environments specified for getting skilled in animation. Attending an animation school is a great way to hone your technical skills while exploring great creative passion. In animation schools, you can either obtain a bachelor of arts or a master of fine art in animation. Thus, this is necessary to prepare you for the professional animation industry. Hence, animation schools in the US will provide you with extensive state of the arts and technical facilities for tutoring. At the end of your program at animation schools in the US, you should possess some skills like;

  • Mastery of the art of movement
  • Strong attention to detail
  • The ability to transfer real life to animation

However, let’s have an intensive look at what animation means and where it is coined. Hence, the word animation comes from the Latin word “animātiō” which means “a bestowing of life”. While the primary meaning of animation in English is liveliness. So contextually, we can say that animation is a moving image medium. In another way, animation involves methods to manipulate figures or images to develop motion.

Meanwhile, animation has passed through various phases, but today. But now, computer-generated Imagery (CGI) helps to better produce animations. The CGI can either be 2D or 3D software. 2D can produce animations with low bandwidth, stylistic reasons, and faster real-time rendering.

Additionally, the rapid improvement in technology indicates that future career options in animation will only grow. In the same way, the purpose of animation expanded. So below we’ve provided the significance of animation in our contemporary world.

  • Travel
  • Video games
  • Healthcare
  • Advertising
  • Science
  • Education

What to Look for in Animation Schools

Before considering attending any animation schools, there are some things you should look out for. Thus, you must ensure the animation school has accreditation from the required authority of the state. Hence, this shows that the school has or exceeds the necessary criteria for academic excellence. So, that’s why we ensured we provided accredited animation schools in the US herein.

Secondly, considering your employability, if you don’t attend animation school it might be difficult to get a job. More still, attending the best-ranked animation school gives you more preference attention during job interviews. Because schools that have produced notable alumni are good recommendations.

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Furthermore, if you have interest in attending one I the animation schools listed here. Then consider exploring several open sources and free animation software. They will thus, help you to get familiar with things needed in your career path. Hence, they include;

  • Blender
  • Toon Boom Harmony
  • Animaker
  • Pencil2D
  • OpenToonz
  • Synfig Studio

All this software is available to both Linux, Windows, and OSX users. Meanwhile, the internet is flooded with various explained videos on animation, which can help you a start.

Also Read: 5 Best Animation Schools in New York

Why Attend Animation Schools in the US?

There are cogent reasons one needs to attend his/her animation school in the US. Job projection shows that from 2020 to 2030 career opportunities in animation in the US expect to grow by 16%. While other occupations grew an average of 8%. Thus, this shows a greater employability rate in the US. Therefore, attending animation schools in the US will give you more preference over your during job hunts.

We don’t think you need to hear this from us, but animation is a very lucrative skill. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), artists and animations have a median annual salary range of about $77,000. Which is over twice the average of most careers.

Studying in animation schools in the US will also expose you to lots of networks and connections that will you improve in your career. It will also provide a broad range of opportunities and internship opportunities.

Top 15 Best Animation Schools In The US

We have provided a detailed list of the best animation schools in the US below. The rankings of this school are based on the weighted average we took after reviewing several site rankings. Feel free to further your search on anyone that you prefer by reaching the school’s webpage through provided links.

#1. Rhode Island School of Design

Different publications and organizations rank Rhode Island school of design as one of the top animation schools in the country. The school offers several BFA programs which include;

  • Film
  • Animation
  • Video

Acceptance Rate: 27%

Graduation Rate: 90%

#2. Ringling College of Art and Design

The BFA in Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art and Design enables students to learn to develop characters and tell stories using animation developed through computers. This computer animation degree also enables students to concentrate on learning to integrate technical skills with conceptual ideas.

You can learn more about Ringling College if arts and designs through their official webpage. They offer wonderful animation programs and have an applaudable acceptance rate.

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Graduation Rate: 65%

#3. California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts offers a Character Animation and Experimental Animation program through its School of Film and Video. The Character Animation program is a BFA degree that gives students an insight into the art of storytelling and character performance as it relates to animation.

While in the school, you may either work toward obtaining a BFA or an MFA in experimental animation. Thus, students who have a commitment to developing a personal vision with the ever-changing parameters of animation can apply to this school.

Acceptance Rate: 27%

Graduation Rate: 67%

#4. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California provides a BA in Animation and Digital Arts that enables students to gain a liberal arts background with professional disciplines. 

Thus, you may focus your studies on any of the following whiles in the school;

  • Visual effects
  • Character animation
  • Interactive animation
  • Science visualization
  • Experimental animation
  • 3D computer animation

Pre-professional courses have their base at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. The major courses selected from the School of Cinematic Arts for students to complete a senior project in graduation.

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Acceptance Rate: 16%

Graduation Rate: 92%

#5. Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design provides BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in animation. Thus, some of the animation majors provided include;

  • 2D
  • 3D
  • look development
  • digital modeling
  • rigging, lighting
  • stop-motion

Meanwhile, you will also learn some essential animation skills required for you to become a good animator. They include skills like;

  • SVG animation
  • onion skinning
  • how to make graphics for macOS, Windows, and Android

Animation students can collaborate on projects, learning the imperatives of teamwork in the animation industry. 

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Graduation Rate: 64%

Check this incredible article on Top 20 Online 2D Animation Courses In 2021

#6. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University provides a focused Animation and Special Effects program that enables students to develop an understanding of the many perspectives of animation. Thus, students will learn about:

  • 2D
  • 3D
  • Rendering
  • Special effects
  • performance capture

Furthermore, students in any major may add a concentration to their curriculum. Students are also able to integrate their integrative design, arts, and technology courses with the animation concentration.

Acceptance Rate: 17%

Graduation Rate: 89%

#7. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology provides a BFA in film and animation which concentrates on production. Hence, students begin work on digital video, 16mm film, and animation starting from their first year of study and build on their production work throughout the program. 

However, students may choose to focus on any animation major. The program uses lectures, laboratories, and guest speakers to help students improve their animation skills.

Acceptance rate: 74%

Graduation rate: 68%

#8. University of California, Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles has one of the best animation schools in the US. 

The program there hits a balance between creativity and technology. This provides knowledge in:

  • Editing
  • Scriptwriting
  • Storytelling

Furthermore, students will work in the Walter Lantz Digital Animation Studio. Thus, gaining real-world experience in an industry where technology transitions rapidly. When you complete the program, you will be provided the opportunity for a full year of animation studies as well as an internship.

Acceptance rate: 14%

Graduation rate: 91%

#9. University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida provides a BA in Visual Media also a BA in Digital Media Game Design, both of which contain a strong animation component. 

Meanwhile, the University of Central Florida is located close to several studios including;

  • Walt Disney World
  • Universal Studios
  • SeaWorld

Therefore, this gives learners ample opportunities for internships and work experience that enables them to gain hands-on experience while studying animation. 

Acceptance rate: 45%

Graduation rate: 74%

#10. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore is among the best animation schools in the US. MICA for short provides a BFA in Animation where students learn to create original modern artwork. Thus, Animation majors are provided a thorough understanding of concepts like;

  • Narrative
  • Character 
  • Keyframes
  • Vector graphic animation
  • Animation software technology

Students can complete creative works applying 2D, stop motion, and 3D animation or a combination of various approaches.

Also, the school has a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medical School, permitting students to attend courses at both schools.

Acceptance rate: 90%

Graduation rate: 72%

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#11. Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University is one of the best animation schools that provides a media arts program. Designed for students who wish to enter film-related careers after graduation.

Here, students must learn film culture, history, and theory. They will also cultivate the skill sets essential to work in their chosen field of animation. 

Acceptance rate: 69%

Graduation rate: 58%

#12. New York University

Through the Tisch School of Arts, NYU provides both a BS and a BFA in Film & Television that encompasses a concentration in animation.

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Tisch is one of the best animation schools in the US located in New York. They offer studies of many several aspects of film and television.

However, the animation program takes five years to complete and contains courses developed to provide knowledge into the business side of the art world.

Acceptance rate: 26%

Graduation rate: 64%

#13. Pratt Institute, New York

The Pratt Institute of New York offers a BFA in Digital Arts and Animation. Students are taught 2D and 3D animation as they develop skills and learn the history of new media. 

Pratt Institute has nine state-of-the-art animation studio classrooms and a high-speed fiber channel network. There are audio recording studios and dedicated green screen facilities. 

Graduates of this top digital animation degree will develop both the skills and expertise ready to make a contribution to the animation field. 

Acceptance rate: 66%

Graduation rate: 66%

#14. Columbia College of Chicago

The Columbia College of Chicago is one of the best animation schools in the United States. It offers a BA degree in both traditional and computer animation. 

Students in the computer animation program choose a concentration in either computer animation or visual effects.

Students may also choose a BFA in Animation that adds additional liberal studies to the program.

Acceptance rate: 90%

Graduation rate: 43%

#15. The Ohio State University

Ohio State University is among the colleges with animation majors. Ohio State offers both undergraduate and graduates degrees in Arts and Technology. It includes a concentration in animation.

The college also offers an MFA in Design with a concentration in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. 

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Animation is a very exciting career path, so that’s why we took out time to provide schools you can get the best training/education. You will be able to make several animate videos to serve different purposes when you’re done with the school. As a freelance animator, you are sure to earn fortunes.

So, why not chase your dreams? Apply to animations in the US and hone your technical skills in cartooning of game creation. The sky is your starting point. However, if you have further questions regarding animation schools in the US left unanswered herein, do well to reach us on our available platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Animation Schools In The US

Where do most Disney animators go to school?

Walt Disney established the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia in 1961. It grants Bachelor of Fine Arts, the Master of Fine Arts, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Students at CalArts work intensely in their fields.

Can I animate if I can’t draw?

You don’t even need to know how to draw to create 3D animation. The majority of your work will consist of using a computer to manipulate and control characters in the same way you would move a puppet. Drawing is only one of a few ways to “animate” or “bring to life” an object or character.

Is animation a high-paying job?

Animation is one of the most exciting career fields in the art and design industry. It also offers one of the highest salaries. Animators earned a median annual wage of $63,970 in 2015, with top earners averaging more than $113,600.

What are Disney animators called?

Disney’s Nine Old Men were Walt Disney Productions’ core animators. Some of whom later became directors, who created some of Disney’s most famous animated cartoons. from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) onward to The Rescuers (1977), and were referred to as such by Walt Disney himself.

What was the first cartoon?

The first animated film ‘Fantasmagorie’ showed people the magic of animated pictures and changed how people saw ‘reality’ in movies! On August 17, 1908, the Gaumont company in Paris released Fantasmagorie, the world’s first fully animated cartoon created by Emile Cohl in the traditional hand-drawn animation style.

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