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The 20 Best Associate in Game Design Programs in 2021

July 14, 2021 | Staff Writers

Associate in Game Design
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Video game design marries pleasing graphic design with engaging interactive programming to create games that are entertaining, challenging, and even educational. Associate-level graduates can enter the industry as junior artists, junior 3D modelers, or Q.A. testers. According to glassdoor.com, the average base pay for industry workers at this education level is between $50,000 to $60,000 per year.

What Can You Do With An Associate in Game Design Degree?

Graduates with this degree can get their foot in at the ground floor of the game design industry. As junior employees, positions often include assisting senior artists and programmers or performing testing of various game design elements. Many use an associate’s degree as the first step towards a bachelor’s or master’s program. Choosing a game development program gives future designers a strong foundation for promotion in the industry.

What Classes Do You Take In A Game Design Program?

Coursework usually involves both graphic design and programming. A typical program will include studies in interactive design, 3D modeling, artificial intelligence, and how to utilize different game engine platforms. Students also learn programming languages such as C++. Most programs will have students design and develop their own game projects before graduation.

If you’re interested in earning a game design degree online, please check out our degree finder tool!

Associate-level degrees are available at local technical and community colleges. We sampled 20 of them from across the country to give our readers an idea of what’s available in their area. Our rankings cover subjects important to students such as estimated tuition, class size, and graduation rates. Take a look at the results below!

The 20 Best Associate in Game Design Programs

1. Hinds Community College – Raymond, MS – 67 Points

Hinds Community College offers an Animation and Simulation Design Technology program focused on creative game design. Part of the coursework includes training in 3D animation. Courses are offered at the Rankin and Vicksburg campuses, with some also available online. HCC has a graduation rate of 33%.

  • Tuition: $1,600 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

2. Miami Dade College – Miami, FL – 66 Points

The Game Development & Design program at Miami Dade College is provided through the Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex (MAGIC). The foundation of the program is game programming, from which students can specialize in subjects like design, engines and systems, sound, and animation. This program takes place on the Wolfson campus, with some classes available virtually. MDC has a graduation rate of 33%.

  • Tuition: $1,418 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

3. Salem Community College – Carneys Point, NJ – 65 Points

Salem Community College features a Game Design and Development program designed for students interested in pursuing advanced education at a 4-year university. Students in this program have successfully transferred to schools such as Rowan University and Wilmington University. Coursework includes digital illustration, audio for game design, game engines, and motion graphics. SCC’s graduation rate is 47%.

  • Tuition: $2,280 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

4. Johnson County Community College – Overland Park, KS – 64 Points

Game Development students at Johnson County Community College can specialize in their A.A.S. degree by concentrating in Game Design or Game Programming. Students in both tracks work together to develop a game over two years of study. The school features its own motion capture studio for students to utilize while developing their game with Unity™. JCCC has a graduation rate of 26%.

  • Tuition: $1,1287 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

5. Pratt Institute – Brooklyn, NY – 62 Points

Pratt Institute offers a Game Design and Interactive Media degree with a focus on games as an art medium with courses in design, artistry, immersive sound design, and programming. Courses include game production, mobile app design, and utilizing gaming-centric microprocessors such as Raspberry Pi. Students also explore the behavioral science aspects behind gaming and storytelling. Pratt Institute features the highest graduation rate on our list at 70%.

  • Tuition: $26,783 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1

6. Gwinnett Technical College – Lawrenceville, GA – 61 Points

In the Game Development program at Gwinnett Technical College, students can choose to earn an associate’s degree, professional diploma, or short-term foundational certificate. There are two HOPE Career Grants for tuition assistance for qualified students. Classes are held at the North Fulton and Lawrenceville campuses. The graduation rate at GTC is 37%.

  • Tuition: $1,617 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1

7. New England Institute of Technology – East Greenwich, RI – 58 Points

The New England Institute of Technology offers a Game Development and Simulation Programming degree. Students will acquire skills in coding languages like C++ and industry software, as well as assembling a portfolio featuring a student-developed 2D game. Graduates may pursue higher education opportunities in NEIT’s bachelor program. NEIT has a 51% graduation rate.

  • Tuition: $15,000 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1

8. Mt. Hood Community College – Gresham, OR – 56 Points

The Computer Game Development degree at Mt. Hood Community College gives students the opportunity to work with 2D and 3D asset creation, rigging and animation, as well as computer and mobile application development. The curriculum covers multiple game genres and the benefits of various publishing platforms. The graduation rate at MHCC is 23%.

  • Tuition: $1,548 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

9. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred – Alfred, NY – 55 Points

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred provides a studio-based education in programming, design, and storytelling skills. Students will be required to purchase Adobe Creative Cloud software and bring a laptop meeting the program’s minimum standards. Graduates can continue their education in Alfred’s bachelor’s program. SUNY Alfred has a graduation rate of 60%.

  • Tuition: $3,535 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

10. Montgomery College – Rockville, MD – 51 Points

In the Computer Gaming and Simulation degree program at Montgomery College students have access to an Organic Motion OpenStage2 active motion capture studio and a Macintosh 3-D animation lab with a Makerbot 3-D printer. Graduates may transfer to the University of Baltimore for their bachelor’s program while continuing to take classes locally. Montgomery College’s graduation rate is 22%.

  • Tuition: $2,128 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

10. Columbus State Community College – Columbus, OH – 51 Points

Columbus State Community College offers a computer science A.A.S. in the Game Developer track. Students will gain experience in developing games for the web as well as 2-D and 3-D computer games. Some courses are available online. Students work in a simulated studio environment as a team. CSCC’s graduation rate is 27%.

  • Tuition: $2,444 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

12. Fayetteville Technical Community College – Fayetteville, NC – 47 Points

The Computer Information Technology program at Fayetteville Technical Community College features a degree in Game and Interactive Programming. In addition to game design and development skills, students will also master skills in the creation and management of network systems and storage applications as well as information security. The graduation rate at FTCC is 17%.

  • Tuition: $912 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1

12. Mesa Community College – Mesa, AZ – 47 Points

Mesa Community College offers a Video Game Production program covering planning, design, and producing games as well as industry business concepts. Although the program is hosted at the Mesa campus, students may have to attend classes at more than one Maricopa District campus. MCC has a graduation rate of 18%.

  • Tuition: $1,020 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1

14. Arapahoe Community College – Littleton, CO – 46 Points

Arapahoe Community College has three locations in Colorado: Littleton, Parker, and the Sturm Collaboration Campus in Castle Rock. Students at Arapahoe Community College can earn an associate’s degree in Game Design and Development. The program feature three types of courses: general computer science, art and multimedia, and game development. Several elective options allow students to concentrate in one or more focus areas. The graduation rate at ACC is 25%.

  • Tuition: $1,836 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 23:1

15. Quinsigamond Community College – Worcester, MA – 45 points

Quinsigamond Community College offers an Associate in Science in Interactive Media with a concentration option in Game Design. Students will create 2D and 3D graphical environments as well as prototype computer games. They will also grasp business concepts such as professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities in the games industry. QCC has a 22% graduation rate.

  • Tuition: $2,460 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1

16. Collin College – McKinney, TX – 43 Points

The A.A.S. in Animation & Game Art at Collin College provides a graphic design-oriented program for those who are interested in the visual aspects of game production. Students will attend classes in subjects such as storyboarding, 3D modeling and rendering, basic animation, and a group project in games and simulations. Collin College has a graduation rate of 13%.

  • Tuition: $648 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 25:1

16. Community College of Allegheny County – Pittsburgh, PA – 43 Points

The Community College of Allegheny County offers a Multimedia Programming, Simulation & Gaming degree as well as certificates in Multimedia Game Simulation and Multimedia Web Programming. The A.S. degree includes the opportunity to design and develop a single-level game using 2D and 3D animation techniques. The graduation rate at CCAC is 18%.

  • Tuition: $1,770 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

18. Manchester Community College – Manchester, CT – 38 Points

Students in the Computer Game Design at Manchester Community College learn design concepts, technical skills, and industry business concepts such as trends, budgeting, and how to develop project proposals. Courses include drawing for games, visual storytelling, 2D game level design, and 3D animation and rigging. MCC’s graduation rate is 20%.

  • Tuition: $2,258 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

19. Milwaukee Area Technical College – Milwaukee, WI – 30 Points

Milwaukee Area Technical College offers a degree in Computer Simulation and Gaming at the Downtown Milwaukee campus. This is a cross-discipline program, but students have the opportunity to concentrate in game design or programming. Students may also earn the Unity Developer technical certificate in conjunction with their degree. The graduation rate at MATC is 16%.

  • Tuition: $2,694 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1

20. Muskegon Community College – Muskegon, MI – 28 Points

The Digital Game Development program at Muskegon Community College prepares students to work in teams within a multidisciplinary setting while tracking market trends and developing games geared for success. Coursework includes general education subjects as well as project management, C programming, game scripting, and graphic design. MCC has a graduation rate of 196%.

  • Tuition: $2,638 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

Discover online game design degree programs with our powerful degree finder search tools.

Our Ranking Methodology

We ranked 20 associate in game design degree programs from 2-year institutions on a 100 point scale. Tuition comprised 40% of the ranking, graduation rate was another 40%, and student-faculty ratio (class size) comprised the remaining 20%.

Estimated tuition centered on in-county or in-state rates when applicable. It did not include variable costs such as housing, transportation, or materials. Tuition rates were obtained directly from each school’s website. Graduation rates and class size were obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Reporting Errors

We strive to be as accurate as possible with our information. Employees of the schools above may reach out to us to make corrections to the data presented.

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