If you’re interested in a job that’s out of the ordinary and makes the most of your technical mindset, you need to consider one of the best online colleges for video game design.
From classic video games like Tetris and Mario Brothers to the ever-evolving games that you play on your cell phones, video games play a major role in our modern lives. Parents and teachers use video games to teach young minds, while there are even video games that can be used in occupational and emotional therapy.
It might not be a traditional discipline, like math, English, or engineering—but a degree in video game design is a smart choice for an aspiring professional with big goals.
To apply to an accredited online college for video game design, you will need to have a minimum of a high school diploma. GEDs are sometimes accepted. You will also need to have strong drawing skills and a profound portfolio of work. You may also benefit from experience working with certain types of technology, like Photoshop, Flash, and Illustrator.
What Is the Outlook for a Degree in Video Game Design?
While not all jobs in video game design have shown growth in recent years, there are some areas of video game design that are experiencing unprecedented expansion. For example, jobs are in high demand in areas like augmented reality, virtual reality, and eSports. In fact, jobs in these fields have seen a whopping rate of growth that is 40% to 400%!
The video game market is constantly evolving, so while jobs for game developers may be declining ever so slightly, jobs in other gaming-related fields are growing faster than ever.
What Are the Best Video Game Design Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page.
You wouldn’t think that Liberty University, as a Christian university with traditional values located in central Virginia, would offer state-of-the-art online programs. However, despite this schools’ reputation for exceptional on-campus programs in classic areas like engineering and theology, it also offers a variety of futuristic online programs in fields like video game design.
With each course lasting only eight weeks, the gaming design program at Liberty University is a specialization in the information technology major. Most learners take just three and a half years to complete the required 120 credits, allowing them to gain skills that will help them contribute to the evolution of gaming.
Housed in the School of Business, this program is affordable and accessible. In fact, all electronic textbooks are offered at no cost to you, the student, and tuition has been frozen for the last four years and counting. How’s that for a bargain?
If you want to learn the skills necessary to design, develop, and test new video games, Baker College has exactly what you are looking for. This program is designed by industry experts and teaches students the entire game development process from creation to final release. It’s unique in that all students, before graduation, go through an entire video game development process, providing learners with the hands-on experience necessary to see things through to the end.
The curriculum includes 93 major hours, with core classes in computer programming at the forefront of this program’s structure. You’ll take classes in subjects like systems development methods and computer operating systems before moving on to video game-specific topics like unity game programming and game development.
This program is interdisciplinary, too, requiring students to take a core set of liberal arts courses. You’ll be able to gain extensive hands-on experience in classes like Project Management as well as through numerous work experiences at actual video game design companies.
If you’re an adult learner, you won’t find a better place to study than at Franklin University. This private school is designed specifically for nontraditional students, offering evening and online classes as well as accelerated programs that allows students to complete a single class in as little as three weeks. It’s also transfer-friendly, with more than 90% of all students transferring in at least a few credits from other institutions.
The Bachelor of Science in interactive media design at Franklin University prepares learners with the artistic, technical, and managerial skills they need to be successful. Students can gain up to 24 hours of technical credit as they engage in a project-based curriculum. This interactive, hands-on series of courses provides each student with a professional portfolio that they can then showcase to potential employers.
120 semester hours are required, with core classes including Interactive Media for Advertising, Digital Media Design, and Human-Computer Interaction. A final capstone is required, too.
Guilford Technical Community College is highly affordable, with 66% of all undergraduate students receiving some kind of financial aid. In fact, the average award is more than $6,300! This is pretty impressive, especially when you consider that in-state tuition and fees only amount to about $2,167 each year. That affordability doesn’t come at the expense of quality, either. This school is home to one of the best programs in video game design.
The simulation and game development program at Guilford Technical Community College is an associate’s degree that provides a fantastic introduction to video game design. You will learn every aspect of developing fully-functional games, including graphics development, business requirements, and storyline creation.
The program can also be completed as a certificate. Both are offered fully online, with financial aid for students who qualify.
You won’t find a school that is more tailored for aspiring artists and designers than the Academy of Art University. Located in the heart of San Francisco, this school is one of the largest private schools of art and design in the country.
The game programming degree at the Academy of Art University teaches students how to plan, write, and architect computer codes that are necessary for operating and troubleshooting games. It covers topics like systems programming, tools programming, game programming, and animation visual effects.
Academy of Art University has some of the best professional partnerships to help you accelerate your career. The School of Game Development regularly hosts events and guest speakers that connect students with professionals in the industry. There are also possibilities for internships and collaborations, too.
Lindenwood University offers more than 130 degrees spread out among campuses in Belleville, IL, St. Charles, MO, and other campuses around the state of Missouri. The school also has a vibrant online campus that offers programs in traditional and accelerated formats.
The game design program at Lindenwood prepares professionals to work in game studio environments, featuring a unique curriculum with advanced game design and production courses. Students will study foundational topics like character development and storytelling while completing project and portfolio courses at the same time.
The instructors in this program are some of the most experienced and knowledgeable around, possessing professional and technical skills that are necessary for the industry. Courses are offered online as well as in a hybrid format.
Middle Georgia State University is ranked as one of the Top Public Schools as well as one of the Top Performers on Social Mobility by U.S. News & World Report. What does this mean? Not only does this university do an excellent job of providing high-quality academic programs, but it also makes those programs accessible to students from all backgrounds.
With just seven weeks required per class and only 120 credit hours required for degree completion, the Bachelor of Science in information technology at Middle Georgia State University is hands-on and integrative. It is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET and recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
It provides learners with crucial knowledge in the main information technologies, builds upon their training with unique focus areas in digital forensics, digital media and game design, network technologies and administration, web applications and development, software engineering, and cybersecurity.
As a freshman at Davenport University, you’ll be required to live on-campus in Great Falls, MI. That is, of course, unless you live within 45 miles of the school—or you plan to study online. The Bachelor of Science in computer science in a 120 credit program that comes with potential specialties for learners to choose from.
Whether you are interested in customizing your degree in artificial intelligence, computer architecture and algorithms, or gaming and simulation, this is a program for you. It features classes like Security Foundations and 3D Game Development and offers multiple opportunities for internships or field experiences.
The degree is taught by industry professionals and international leaders. Class sizes are small, facilitating better discussion and constant professional development.
With small class sizes, extensive career development, and personalized support built directly into the curriculum, Southern New Hampshire is one of the best schools in the country for students hoping to earn their degrees in technology-related fields. In fact, this university is top-ranked as the country’s Most Innovative School by U.S. News & World Report.
The online bachelor’s in game art and development helps each student build a compelling portfolio of front-end game designs. In this program, you will use industry-standard tools like Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk to learn vital game art principles like lighting, digital painting, texturing, rigging, and more.
This program features expert instructors along with a nationwide network of alumni who provide internship and career opportunities. The program is affordable and convenient, with 24/7 course access and tuition rates that are some of the lowest in the country. You can complete your degree at your own pace and transfer in up to 90 credits toward your degree.
Do you have what it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree in just 29 months? Full Sail University thinks you do. This school offers an intensive online bachelor’s in video game design that is immersive and flexible. It features unique courses like Game Animation, Level Assembly and Lighting, and Motion Capture, providing students with unique hands-on learning opportunities.
The Bachelor of Science in game art at Full Sail is perfect for busy working adults. You’ll take just one or two classes each month, moving quickly through the curriculum so that you can earn a degree easily and efficiently. By the time you graduate, you will have multiple portfolio projects under your belt, providing you with a detailed body of work to showcase to potential employers.
What’s even more important to note is that this program is highly affordable. The university offers extensive financial aid as well as scholarships specifically for video game design students. These awards include the Creative Minds Scholarship (which amounts to $25,000 for eligible students) and the Momentum Scholarship (a value of $20,000).
What Are Some Entry-Level Jobs in Video Game Design?
The video game industry is booming, and there are hundreds of positions that you will be qualified for after completing your degree.
You might work as a 2 or 3D conceptual artist, or even as a game programmer. You could even become an illustrator, a background artist, a 3D object modeler, or a game writer. Some programs in video game design come with the option to either customize your degree with electives or to choose a specific area of specialization. These will give you the leverage and specific skills you need to get an entry-level job in one of these fields.
What Is the Average Salary for Someone with a Video Game Design Degree?
With faster than average job growth, video game designers don’t have to worry about finding positions once they graduate. Plus, you can expect to earn a higher-than-average salary with one of these jobs.Video game designers earn an average annual salary of more than $90,270, according to O*NET OnLine.
Should I Pursue a Graduate Degree in Video Game Design?
While a bachelor’s degree in video game design is usually more than enough to score you the job of your dreams, you might consider going on to graduate study. Options include Master of Arts in interactive design and Master of Arts in game design, as well as graduate degrees in related topics, like computer engineering or information technology.
Though not required for a lucrative career, these programs will give you the opportunity to explore additional and advanced technological and creative methods in game design. You will also be able to create a more extensive portfolio of work and to focus your studies in growing areas, like artificial intelligence, advanced role-playing games, and community games.
Can I Earn a Video Game Design Degree Entirely Online?
You can! In fact, many people choose to complete their video game design degrees entirely online. This is done for a number of reasons. Not only does studying online afford you the flexibility and convenience that you won’t find anywhere else, but it also makes it possible for you to save some money by cutting out unnecessary expenses like commuting costs and extra housing expenditures.
Since many of the skills you will acquire in one of these degrees will be in the digital realm, it only makes sense to complete your degree online, too. Plus, the best colleges for video game design will feature online programs that are identical to those taught on campus—often, the degrees are even taught by the same faculty.
Do I Need to Know How to Code to Become a Videogame Designer?
While it’s helpful to know how to code—as well as certain programming languages like Java and C++—most of the time, the programming and coding skills you need for your career will be taught as part of your college curriculum.
Coding isn’t necessary to design video games in many cases, especially if you work with a team that does the coding for you. There are even game engines that will help you create games without any knowledge of code at all!
What Kinds of Things Will I Learn?
Enroll in a video game design program, and you’ll begin to hone your technological and creative skills right away. You’ll work in digital classrooms and online studios to learn things like character and 3D modeling as well as 2D animation for game art. You might develop skills in game design project management or even learn storyboarding for animation.
Look for a program that will allow you to engage with the entire process from start to finish. Then, you’ll be equipped with all the competencies necessary to obtain any kind of job in video game design.
Will I Be Eligible for Financial Aid?
Absolutely. Most online colleges offer substantial financial aid to online learners. Look for a program that is accredited, as this will allow you to apply for state and federal financial aid. You should also check with the financial aid department at the school to which you are applying. It may offer scholarships specifically for aspiring video game designers.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out The Top 20 Easy Accredited Online Master’s Degrees and The 10 Best Nationally Accredited Online Colleges!