Are you interested in a job that’s out of the ordinary? One that makes the most of your technical mindset? Then you need to consider one of the best online colleges for 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. 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. However, an online bachelor degree in game design and development is a smart choice with professional goals like yours.
Admissions Requirements for Game Development Programs
You need at least a high school diploma to apply to accredited online gaming colleges. GEDs are sometimes accepted. When applying, check with admissions officials if a GED is acceptable.
Online colleges for game design might require you to have some experience in game design. For high school students, this might come in the form of high school courses. So, if you have a GED, you might need to take some basic game design courses before beginning your online bachelor degree program in game design.
You also need to have strong artistic skills. These are good skills to have if you:
- do graphic design
- website design
Some online schools for game design also ask students to submit a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of your best work. It should highlight your skills that are relevant to studying video game design. In other words, it allows admissions committees to see the talents you already have. Based on that and your educational background, they can determine if you are a good fit for the program.
When applying to game design online schools, you may also benefit from having technological experience. For example, knowing how to use programs like Photoshop, Flash, and Illustrator is necessary to get your studies off on the right foot.
What is the Outlook for a Degree in Video Game Design?
Not all video game industry jobs have shown rapid growth in recent years.
According to Recruiter.com, video game design jobs have grown at a modest rate – 5.31 percent – in the last few years. This trend of positive growth is expected to continue through the end of the decade. In that time, over 32,000 jobs are expected to open.
However, there are some areas of video game development that are experiencing very rapid expansion.
For example, jobs are in high demand in areas like:
- augmented reality
- virtual reality
In fact, jobs in these fields have seen a rate of growth that is 40% to 400%!
The video game market is constantly changing. While some jobs for game developers might not be growing very fast, jobs in other gaming-related fields are growing faster than ever.
It should be noted that simply completing one of these degree programs at an online college for video game design does not guarantee that you will get a job.
Instead, employers want to know how you did in your online video game degree. They will look at the grades you earned. They will also look at the classes you took. They want to know about your unique skills and abilities as well.
More importantly, employers want to know how you can help them achieve their goals. In other words, what problems can you solve for them? What do you bring to the table that is unique?
Keep this in mind as you conduct your school search. The programs that offer you opportunities for:
- hands-on learning
- real world video production
- job shadowing
One might be your best option for preparing for a career.
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 of the accredited online game design schools is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree. This is done 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.
Let’s get to our ranking of the best accredited game design colleges online!
1. Liberty University
The first online game design college on our list is Liberty University.
This is a Christian university with traditional values. It’s located in central Virginia. It offers state-of-the-art online programs.
This school has a reputation for great on-campus programs in classic areas. This includes 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. This allows them to gain skills that will help them contribute to the evolution of gaming. It also means that online students in this game programming degree graduate sooner. They begin their careers sooner as well.
This program is included in the School of Business. It is affordable and accessible. In fact, all electronic textbooks are offered at no cost to you. Tuition has been frozen for the last four years and counting. How’s that for a bargain?
The cost of college is higher than ever. Having free books and lower tuition rates can make a huge difference in how much money you pay for your education.
And, if you have to take out financial aid, these benefits from Liberty University can really lower the costs of your game development studies. LU has a 51% acceptance rate.
Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Game Design at Liberty University here.
2. Baker College
So, 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. It is one of the best video game design online schools. It teaches students the entire game development process. You will learn how to make games from creation to final release.
The program is unique in that all students go through a video game development process before they graduate. This provides learners with hands-on experience that will be valuable for entering the world of work.
The game development curriculum includes 93 major hours. There are core classes in computer programming and computer science.
You’ll take classes in subjects like:
- systems development methods
- game software development
- computer operating systems
Then you’ll move on to video game topics like unity game programming and game development. You might also learn about:
- game art
- game development
- online game design
This program is interdisciplinary, too. It requires 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. You will also take part in numerous work experiences at actual video game development companies.
Learn more about the video game design school online at Baker College here.
3. Franklin University
If you’re an adult learner, you won’t find a better place to study than at Franklin University. It has one of the top online game design degrees.
This private school is designed specifically for nontraditional students. It offers evening and online classes. There are accelerated programs, too. These programs allow online students to complete a single class in as little as three weeks.
Franklin University is also transfer-friendly. More than 90% of all students transfer in at least a few credits from other schools.
This is an online Bachelor’s in interactive media design. This program at Franklin University prepares learners to be successful with skills like being:
Students can gain up to 24 hours of technical credit as part of this project-based curriculum. This interactive, hands-on series of courses provides each student with a professional portfolio. The portfolio can be used to showcase your skills to potential employers.
To graduate, 120 semester hours are required. Core classes include:
- Interactive Media for Advertising
- Digital Media Design
- Human-Computer Interaction
A final capstone is required, too.
Think of a capstone project as the culmination of all you’ve learned. The purpose of it is to give you the chance to put your knowledge and skills on display before you graduate.
Learn more about online schools for video game design at Franklin University here.
4. Guilford Technical Community College
Guilford Technical Community College is highly affordable. About 66% of all undergraduate students receive some kind of financial aid.
In fact, the average financial aid package is more than $6,300! This is pretty impressive, especially when you consider that in-state tuition and fees are only about $2,167 each year.
This affordability doesn’t come at the expense of quality, either. This school is home to one of the best online degree programs in video game design.
The simulation and game development program at Guilford Technical Community College is an associate’s degree. It provides a good introduction to video development. You will learn every aspect of developing fully-functional games. This includes:
- graphics development
- business requirements
- storyline creation
You might also study fundamentals such as:
- general computer science topics
- game art
- game design
- interactive design
The program can also be completed as a certificate. Both are offered fully online. Financial aid is available for students who qualify.
Learn more about Online Schools For Game Design at Guilford Technical Community College here.
5. Academy of Art University
Academy of Art University is tailored for aspiring artists and designers. This school is one of the largest private schools of art and design in the country. It is located in the heart of San Francisco.
The game programming degree at the Academy of Art University teaches students how to plan, write, and architect computer codes. These skills are necessary for operating and troubleshooting games. It covers topics like:
- Systems programming
- Tools programming
- Game programming
- Game development
- Animation visual effects
- Game art
Academy of Art University has some of the best professional partnerships to help you accelerate your career.
For example, the School of Game Development regularly hosts events and guest speakers. These events connect students with professionals in the industry. There are also possibilities for internships and collaborations.
By working with with established game designers before you graduate, you help set the stage for your success once you earn your degree.
Learn more about Game Design Schools Online at Academy of Art University here.
6. Lindenwood University
Lindenwood University offers more than 130 degrees. The university is located in St. Charles, MO. The school also has a vibrant online campus. The online campus offers programs in traditional and accelerated formats.
The game design program at Lindenwood prepares professionals to work in game studio environments. It features a unique curriculum among online degree programs. That’s because it offers advanced game design and production courses.
Students will study foundational topics, too. This might include:
- computer science
- game development
- character development
Game design is a potential course as well. All of this is done while completing project and portfolio courses at the same time.
- Level Design
- Scripting for Games
- 3D Graphics
The instructors in this program are some of the most experienced and knowledgeable around. They have professional and technical skills that are necessary for the industry.
This game software development program has courses that are offered online. Hybrid courses are also available. Hybrid studies involve a mixture of online and on-campus studies.
Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Video Game Design at Lindenwood University here.
7. Middle Georgia State University
Middle Georgia State University is ranked as one of the Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report. It’s also one of the Top Performers on Social Mobility according U.S. News & World Report. What does this mean?
This university does an excellent job of providing high-quality academic programs. It also makes those programs accessible to students from all backgrounds.
Just seven weeks are required per class. Only 120 credit hours are required for degree completion.
The online 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. It is also recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
This online computer science degree provides learners with crucial knowledge in the main information technologies. It builds upon their training with unique focus areas, too. These areas include:
- Digital forensics
- Digital media and game design
- Network technologies and administration
- Web applications and development
- Software engineering
- Game art
And just like the other schools on this school search list, Middle Georgia State University offers many financial aid opportunities for students pursuing a game development degree.
Learn more about Video Game Design Online Schools at Middle Georgia State University here.
8. Davenport University
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. Online students do not have to live on campus.
The online Bachelor of Science in computer science in a 120 credit program. There are several areas of specialization from which you can choose.
This is a program for you whether you are interested in customizing your degree in:
- artificial intelligence
- computer architecture and algorithms
- gaming and simulation
It features classes like Security Foundations and 3D Game Development. It also offers multiple opportunities for internships or field experiences.
This game design program is taught by industry professionals and international leaders. Class sizes are small. This leads to better discussion in class.
Learn more about Accredited Online Game Design Degrees at Davenport University here.
9. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is one of the best schools in the country. It has small class sizes, extensive career development, and personalized support built directly into the curriculum.
In fact, Southern New Hampshire University is top-ranked as the country’s Most Innovative School by U.S. News & World Report.
The online Bachelor of Arts degree 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. This is done to learn vital game art principles. This includes:
- digital painting
The program from Southern New Hampshire University features expert instructors. There is also a nationwide network of alumni who provide internship and career opportunities. Therefore, your education at Southern New Hampshire University gives you networking opportunities for building your career after you graduate.
The program is affordable and convenient. There is 24/7 course access. Tuition rates are some of the lowest in the country. You can complete your online game design degree at your own pace, too. Southern New Hampshire University also lets you transfer in up to 90 credits toward your degree.
Learn more about Accredited Online Schools For Video Game Design at Southern New Hampshire University here.
10. Full Sail University
Do you have what it takes to earn your online bachelor degree in just 29 months? Full Sail University thinks you do!
This school offers an intensive online bachelor’s in game design program. It is immersive and flexible. It features unique courses like:
- Game Animation
- Level Assembly and Lighting
- Motion Capture
You might also learn about:
- game development
- game art
- online game design
- interactive design
- game production
Courses like this provide students with unique hands-on learning opportunities.
Of course, having hands-on experiences benefits you greatly. By learning how to apply what you’ve explored in class, you will graduate with more confidence and demonstrable skills that will help you land your first job.
The online Bachelor’s in game art at Full Sail is perfect for busy working adults. You’ll take just one or two classes each month. You’ll move 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, too. This provides 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 computer science 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).
Learn more about Accredited Online Degrees For Game Design at Full Sail University here.
Bonus: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Praised by The Princeton Review, this interactive design and game develop degree is a great choice for those wanting to work with gaming companies. If you are interested in interactive entertainment and digital arts check it out here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some Entry-Level Jobs in Video Game Design?
The video game industry is booming in many respects. There are hundreds of positions that you will be qualified for after completing your degree.
You might work as a 2D or 3D conceptual artist. You might become a game programmer. You could even become an illustrator. Other options include:
- background artist
- 3D object modeler
- game writer
Some programs in video game design and computer science come with the option to customize your degree. You can do this with electives. You can also choose a specific area of specialization. These will give you the specific skills you need to get an entry-level job in one of these fields.
For example, if you specialize in animation, you might be able to use your qualifications to find a job as a video game animator. However, if you lack focused skills like this, it might be more difficult to land a job in video game design.
In other words, if you can specialize, do it. There is value in being a “jack of all trades.” However, when it comes time to find a job, it’s often the people that have specific skills that get hired first. They are often the ones that get the higher-paying jobs, too.
What Is the Average Salary for Someone with a Video Game Design Degree?
This field of work has faster-than-average job growth. As such, many workers in the video game field 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. For example, video game designers earn an average annual salary of more than $90,270, according to O*NET OnLine.
Many positions in this field are open to workers that have a bachelor’s degree. Earning over $90,000 is an excellent salary for a worker with four years of college. That’s an excellent salary for having a master’s degree or a doctorate!
Of course, the money you make depends on more than your general education.
As discussed a moment ago, your area of specialization can influence which jobs you get. It can also impact how much money you make. Your level of experience will play a role in your earnings, too.
For example, let’s say you are just out of college and have very little experience working as a designer. Your salary will most likely be less than someone that has fifteen years of experience.
Where you work can also impact your salary. This works in two different ways.
First, the geographic location in which you work can determine how much money you make. For many jobs, pay is higher in urban areas than it is in rural areas. Of course, cost of living is usually lower in rural areas than urban areas. This could make the salary difference a wash.
Second, the company for which you work can greatly influence your earnings. Game designers that work for leading companies like Ubisoft, Rockstar Games, or Nintendo might make more money than a designer that works for an upstart company.
Should I Pursue a Graduate Degree in Video Game Design?
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or video game design is usually more than enough to score you the job of your dreams. But you might consider going on to graduate study anyway.
Getting a master’s degree could help qualify you for a more senior video game design job. The more education you have, the more money you can usually command.
Of course, a master’s degree is a great opportunity to specialize. Options include Master of Arts in interactive design and Master of Arts in game design. Additionally, there are graduate degrees in related topics. For example, you can major in computer engineering or information technology.
Master’s degrees are not required for a lucrative career. But, these programs will give you the opportunity to explore advanced technological and creative methods in game design. You will also be able to create a bigger portfolio of work. A master’s degree allows you to focus your studies in growing areas as well. A few examples:
- artificial intelligence
- advanced role-playing games
- community games
Can I Earn a Video Game Design Degree Entirely Online?
Yes, you can earn an online game design degree totally online!
In fact, many people choose to complete their video game design degrees entirely online. This is done for a number of reasons.
Studying online gives you the flexibility and convenience that you won’t find anywhere else. It also makes it possible for you to save some money. This is done by cutting out expenses like commuting costs and extra housing costs. You don’t have to:
- pay for parking
- pay for food
- fight traffic
Since many of the skills you will learn in a game design program will be in the digital realm, it only makes sense to complete your degree online. Plus, the best colleges for video game design feature online programs that are identical to those taught on campus.
In fact, an online bachelor’s degree in video game design is often taught by the same faculty as the on-campus program.
Do I Need to Know How to Code to Become a Video Game Designer?
It’s helpful to know how to code. It’s also helpful to be familiar with programming languages like Java and C++.
However, the programming and coding skills you need for your career will be taught as part of the online video game design curriculum.
Coding isn’t necessary to design video games in many cases. This is especially true 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!
So, while knowing how to code doesn’t hurt, it is often not a requirement for finding work in this field.
What Kinds of Things Will I Learn in My Online Game Design Degree?
Enroll in online schools for video game design, and you’ll begin to develop your technological and creative skills. You’ll work in digital classrooms and online studios to learn things like character and 3D modeling. You’ll also learn about 2D animation for game art.
You might develop skills in game design project management or even learn storyboarding for animation. Other potential topics include:
- Game software development
- Game art
- Computer programming languages
- Game engine development
- Game design
- Game engine technology
- Web development
- Interactive design
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?
Colleges for game design will undoubtedly offer financial aid to eligible online learners. This might be in the form of loans or scholarships. It might also be in the form of work-study programs, stipends, and so forth.
Look for an online game design degree program that is accredited. 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 for aspiring video game designers.
Be careful when taking out student loans, though. It can be easy to take out loan after loan and build up quite a bit of student loan debt. Those loans have to be paid back at some point. Therefore, be financially wise and only take out loans when you need them.
Other forms of student aid that were noted above – scholarships and stipends, for example – do not have to be paid back. When looking for ways to finance your education at video game schools online, look for these options first before taking out loans. You might qualify for more scholarships than you think!
In fact, there are scholarships available that are based on financial need. There are others that take your academic performance into account. There are scholarships offered by schools, individuals, and businesses and organizations, too. In other words, there are plenty of opportunities to help offset the cost of your education. You just have to dedicate yourself to the process of finding those opportunities!
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!