Florida Video Game Design Schools
The Princeton Review, one of the definitive sources for college information nation wide, has a helpful list of the best video game design schools for 2013. While no Florida-based schools made the top 15 list for undergraduate schools, it’s notable that the University of Central Florida made fifth place on the list of best graduate schools for Video Game Design, and Full Sail university made the Honorable Mentions list for both undergraduate and graduate schools. Best Education Sites lists a total of 13 Florida schools offering a degree in video game design.
Many nationwide schools offer online programs for a video game design degree. These have several advantages over going to school in-state. For one thing, online degree programs are usually cheaper. Many of the online colleges are nationally recognized as quality schools. Full Sail University and DeVry University are two good online schools with video game design degree programs you should look into. You also have a lot of flexibility when it comes to online coursework.
This is great for someone going to school part time, or going to school while also working or fulfilling demanding parenting responsibilities. Online schools aren’t perfect, however. The limited teacher interaction can be hard for some students. Also, it’s harder to get internships or other local employment opportunities through impersonal online schools, whereas professors you interact and build a relationship with can often serve as valuable industry contacts.
Video Game Design Careers
“Video Game Designer” is not one title held by thousands of people. Instead, the industry requires a number of different roles, including programmers, engineers, artists, and game testers. As a designer, you’re going to deal more with graphics, though some understanding of programming is required. You can make slightly more money by being a programmer or engineer, but many people find the design jobs more fun. You’ll often be designing the graphics for a game in a physics simulator created by the programmers on the team. You’ll have to work closely with them and learn the various environments they might create.
Starting salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000, and average $57,500, though reports vary somewhat (source). Salaries also vary based on your exact role in a team. A peon artist won’t make much, while the lead designer can make a very high salary. Depending on your position and you longevity with a company, you can usually expect to make a six-digit salary at some point in your career.
Choosing a School
There is no one solution that’s right for everyone, and that’s why there are some many schools available for this degree. If you already have some schooling experience, then you’re better prepared to know what kind of school you want to go to. Budget can also be a big determining factor in what school you go to, though federal aid and loans are available for many students. Your best bet in finding a good college for you is to research different schools, and talk to ones you’re interested in. Also talk to people who work in video game design, and ask them what their experience was like. If you decide video game design is right for you, then you’ll have a great career in your home state of Florida.