Animator Salaries – What Determines Their Starting Salary?


With the ever growing animated movie and gaming industry, animators continue to be in high demand. Multi media animators are those who have jobs animating for television, internet, software or advertising. These animators typically have a lower beginning salary than those who work for the movie or gaming industry. As the popularity of 3-D and animated movies increases, and as consumers crave more realistic gaming options, animators in these fields can expect to make more per annum than other animators.

One factor that decides the beginning yearly income of animators is education. Although there are jobs in animation that do not require a degree, animators obtaining a bachelors degree in media or fine arts can anticipate a beginning salary range of $29,000 to $50,000 per year. Animators seeking careers in advertising and software industry have beginning salaries on the lower end of the pay scale: averaging close to $44,000 a year. Because animation careers in the movie, video production, and gaming industry are more sought after and competitive, animators fortunate enough to find employment in these fields can anticipate a beginning salary of approximately $66,000 a year.

As with any career, longevity and experience only increases an animator’s average salary. The average yearly income of an animator with 5-10 years of experience ranges from $50,000 to $79,000 annually. After 10 years, an animator’s salary could climb as high as $80,000 or more per year. Again, an animator’s field of expertise will affect annual pay increases. Animators who stay in internet, advertising, or television can expect lower salaries than those who pursue careers in the gaming or movie industry. Also, career moves impact annual earnings. Animator’s who advance into supervision or training will command more per year as they take on more responsibility.

This diverse and ever changing industry presents challenges when trying to pinpoint exact salaries. Many variables ultimately contribute to an animator’s lifetime income. The location and size of an animator’s employer has considerable influence on salary. Animators employed with smaller, less known firms, will receive smaller salaries; while, bigger firms will offer more competitive salaries and benefits. Animators employed in bigger cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles will garner higher salaries than smaller cities. Animators employed in Washington D.C. enjoy the greatest per annum salary in the United States.

Free lancing vs. secure employment also affects ultimate income. Animators, courageous enough to risk free lancing, will probably have limited income in the early years; however, quite often, with hard work and credible references, free lancing can generate more income than being employed with a firm. Free lancing has become an increasingly popular alternative with firms as animation becomes more specialized.

As the face of animation continues to change and jobs become more challenging, the animation industry is expected to grow and be a continual source of challenging and prosperous careers. As with any career, education, experience, credentials and continual personal growth, will only increase an animator’s salary through out their career.


Source by Susan Bean

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