Associate in Game Design Program Guide

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by Bethanny Parker
Published on August 17, 2021

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Do you want to work on the next Minecraft or Call of Duty? An in-person or online associate degree in game design can help get you there. Although most video game designers hold a bachelor's degree, about 20% only hold an associate degree.

Game designers brainstorm ideas for game characters and storylines. They think of ways to engage users in the gameplay experience. They may also write some or all of the code needed to make the game work.

Associate in game design degree-holders may qualify for positions as game developers, illustrators, animators, character artists, and sound designers. Graduates can also pursue careers as content designers, level designers, game mechanic designers, and visual effects artists.

Should I Get an Associate in Game Design?

The main advantage to earning an associate degree in game design rather than a bachelor's degree is that it takes only two years to earn an associate degree.

According to Career Explorer, the demand for video game designers is projected to grow 9.3% between 2016 and 2026. California leads the nation for employment of video game designers, followed by Texas, the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Illinois.

The main advantage to earning an associate degree in game design rather than a bachelor's degree is that it takes only two years to earn an associate degree. This means that graduates can enter the workforce two years earlier. However, bachelor's degree-holders often have an advantage over associate degree-holders in the marketplace.

Some students may use the associate degree in game design as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree. This path can result in a lower overall degree cost if the associate program costs less than the bachelor's. However, students must ensure that their credits will transfer.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Game Design Programs

What Will I Learn in a Game Design Associate Program?

Enrollees in a game design associate program learn to design video games. They practice collaborating with other students on complicated projects and use their logic and problem-solving skills to create algorithms. They learn to develop key design documents and create a task schedule.

Required courses vary by school. Many programs cover an introduction to the game industry, fundamentals of game design, game programming algorithms and techniques, and 3D computer animation. Some programs include a game programming team capstone project.

Some schools offer an associate of science (AS) degree, while others offer an associate of applied science (AAS). AS degrees usually prepare students to transfer to a four-year school, while AAS degrees prepare graduates to enter the workforce.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Game Design?

Most game designers work in the video game industry. They may work as game designers or developers or work in more specialized positions as content designers or game mechanic designers.

Many job listings for associate game designers ask for at least one year of experience but make no mention of a degree. An associate degree in game design can give applicants an advantage over those without a degree.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Game Design?

According to PayScale data from April 2021, video game designers earn an average annual salary of about $66,340. Entry-level video game designers earn an average of $53,000 per year, while those with 20+ years of experience average $99,000 per year. Related occupations include sound designer ($54,500), level designer ($58,350), and visual effects artist ($62,670).

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Game Design Programs

What do game designers do?

Game designers create the concepts that bring video games to life. They develop ideas for characters and storylines and find ways to make games engaging for users. They experiment with themes and genres to create the best games possible.

How much does it cost to get an associate in game design?

Tuition varies by school. However, public schools generally charge much lower tuition than private schools. In 2021, the average public school charged $6,740 for a two-year associate degree, while the average for-profit private school charged $31,950.

Is an associate in game design worth it?

Prospective students should consider the cost of the degree and employment prospects after graduation. The lower the tuition cost, the sooner graduates can pay it off.

What can you do with an associate degree in game design?

Game design associate degree-holders may work as game designers or developers, especially once they gain industry experience. They may begin as associate game designers and work their way up to game designer.

What is the difference between an associate in game design and an associate in game development and programming?

An associate in game design focuses on designing video games, which includes developing ideas for characters, plot, and gameplay. Game development and programming focus more on the actual coding of the video game.

We answer your question about earning a bachelor's in video game design degree - career outlook, admissions, cost, and program information. We've ranked the top online associate in game design programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your associate degree online. Are you interested in learning more about careers in game design? Click for information about opportunities at all levels of education and start planning today.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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