How Much Does an Average Animator Make Per Year?


An animator is a creative professional who uses art and computer graphics to create images and other special effects that move. These professionals can work in a variety of industries and create computer games, television and film effects, advertisements and consumer products. Salary for animators can vary based on factors such as skills and the industry in which these professionals work. PayScale reported average salaries for multimedia artists and animators in January 2011.


Many of these professionals earn a degree in fine arts, multimedia design or graphics design. Competition for these types of occupations can be high, and as with most types of professions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests the most qualified candidates will have more employment opportunities. Many animators compose a portfolio showcasing their creativity and technical skills rather than the traditional resume.

Yearly Salary

Animators are often compensated with a yearly base salary and some employers offer bonuses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 60 percent of artists and related workers are self-employed. Animators who are employed full-time earn an average yearly salary ranging from $35,275 to $61,391 per year, according to PayScale. Of those employed full-time, 73 percent receive health care such as medical, dental or vision care and other employer-provided benefits.

Popular Industries

Animators often work in industries such as entertainment production, advertising, e-learning solution providers and entertainment and game software. Some of these professionals also work in a corporate marketing department and assist in creating sales and marketing material such as Internet advertising and websites to attract customers. The highest salaries are reported in the entertainment and game software industry, where average salaries range from $41,804 to $63,999 per year. The entertainment production industry pays average salaries ranging from $37,841 to $59,107 per year and e-learning solution providers pay average salaries ranging from $38,053 to $57,749 per year.


More than 50 percent of animators report having less than four years of experience, and these professionals earn average salaries ranging from $30,368 to $53,062 per year. Salaries can increase for those who gain professional experience and learn new skills as technology advances. Those who have five to nine years of experience earn average salaries ranging from $45,077 to $60,173 per year, and those with more than 10 years of experience earn average salaries ranging from $49,132 to $80,446 per year.

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