Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in becoming an animator, you should, of course, take art as well as computer science classes in high school. Math classes, such as algebra and geometry, will also be helpful. If your school offers digital design, computer animation, and game design classes, be sure to take those.

Postsecondary Education

You do not need to go to college to become an animator, but many colleges are beginning to offer classes and degrees in computer animation, digital art, computer and video game design, and related fields. Some of today’s top computer animators are self-taught or have learned their skills on the job, but as competition for jobs increases, it is a good idea to earn at least an associate’s degree in animation, computer and video game design, digital art, digital media, or a related field.  

In addition to formal training, you should learn as many software programs as possible such as Flash, Maya, Photoshop, Final Cut, Premiere, Anime Studio, and After Effects.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for animators.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any experience creating animation will be useful for aspiring animators. Take animation classes in high school and create your own animations via free or inexpensive software.

Animators must be creative. In addition to having artistic talent, they must generate ideas, although it is not unusual for animators to collaborate with writers for ideas. They must have a good sense of humor (or a good dramatic sense) and an observant eye to detect people’s distinguishing characteristics and society’s interesting attributes or incongruities.

Animators need to be flexible. Because their art is often commercial, they must be willing to accommodate their employers’ desires if they are to build a broad clientele and earn a decent living. They must be able to take suggestions and rejections gracefully.

You should also have extensive knowledge of animation software and be willing to continue to learn throughout your career since animation and computer technology changes almost constantly.