Game design has quickly become a popular and highly desired career path. As video games of all types continue to rise in popularity, more and more individuals are choosing a career that puts them behind the scenes designing the games themselves. However, game design isn’t a career path you can just walk into. Typically, working in game design requires some level of higher education.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate’s Degree Program?
Online video game design programs may have some general similarities, but overall, they can be quite different. Some place a heavier focus on the actual creative design of the game, while others give students more of a background in programming. Depending on the specific aspects of game design you are drawn to, your preferences over a program may be swayed by their primary focus.
You can expect to spend about two years getting your associate’s degree in game design, as most programs will require about 60 credit hours of work to complete the degree. Of course, how long your program takes will depend on your own course load. Additionally, there may be differences in the pacing between programs. Some online associate degree programs use a cohort format, which works more similarly to in-person college where you advance through your degree at the same pace as your fellow virtual classmates. However, some programs may utilize a self-paced model, whereby you advance through the program at your own pace. If you have a busy schedule, require more flexibility, or conversely, want to blaze through your degree as quickly as possible, the self-paced option may be right for you.
While a bachelor’s degree is sometimes preferred, an associate’s degree may be suitable for some game design jobs. Associate’s degrees make an excellent stepping stone to further education down the line. Here, we will talk about some of the best online associate’s degrees in game design.
Ten Top Online Associate in Game Design Programs
Guilford Technical Community College
Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina frequently ranks as one of the best colleges for game design. They offer a two-year associate’s degree option in Simulation and Game Development, available to online students. Their tuition rates are relatively reasonable, coming in at about $7,695 per year.
California State University, Monterey Bay
This program is certainly a pricier option at just shy of $20,000 in tuition per year, but their online associate’s degree in game design ranked well. Student reviews speak very highly about the program and faculty.
Pratt Institute, Maine
The Pratt Institute offers an associate’s degree in game design and interactive media, which is a newer degree offered by the institute but nonetheless an impressive one. The program is heavily artistically focused, and also puts a substantial emphasis on prototyping and interactivity.
Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University offers degree programs in both game programming and game development. The program has earned its bragging rights, as they have graduates working for EA, Sledgehammer Games, Crystal Dynamics, and Blizzard Entertainment.
University of Toledo
The University of Toledo offers a top quality associate’s degree in programming and software development. This degree is a little more broad than a specific game design degree and opens it’s students up to a slightly wider range of career options. That being said, the degree is, of course, highly relevant to those who wish to pursue a career in game design or programming.
Finger Lakes Community College
This college offers an impressive associate degree in game programming and design. The program itself is a great online option, but it does boast advantages for students who can complete a small portion of the program on campus. Why? Because Finger Lakes Community College offers state-of-the-art resources such as high-tech computer labs and virtual reality 3D modeling and motion capture.
Central Piedmont Community College
Another very popular online degree program is Central Piedmont Community College’s associate’s degree in game design. Central Piedmont also ranks consistently highly as one of the best around, and their tuition rates are competitive at approximately $8,900 annually.
Bismarck State College
Bismarck State gives students the advantage of earning an associate’s degree in web page development and design that is an online, self-paced program. Whatsmore, the course requires only 60 credit hours, which is the shortest course option for an associate’s degree.
This online associate’s degree in web design and development program is fantastic, mainly because Champlain College is one of the best out there when it comes to designing an online program. They offer 24/7 access to coursework for online students so they can easily work at their own pace. The program is competitively priced and very well organized.
Lewis-Clark State College
An associate’s degree in game design can help you break into the industry and pursue the career path you’ve always wanted to. An associate’s degree is an excellent milestone to higher education at a later date. These online options can give you an advantage in the career field and teach you the background knowledge you need for further education. Plus, they allow you to complete your coursework from the comfort of your own home, which is the perfect option for students who have busy lives and jobs outside of a college setting.