Becoming a Flash Animator: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a flash animator career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a flash animator is right for you.
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A Flash Animator Career: Pros and Cons

Flash animators create animation for smart phones, tablets, websites, marketing and more. You'll used Adobe Flash and other programs to produce eye-catching SWF files. While you are considering becoming a flash animator, you may also want to think about the pros and cons associated with this position.

Pros of a Flash Animator Career
On-the-job training may be available*
Allows creativity*
Opportunity to work with many digital mediums*
Opportunities for self-employment*
Faster than average job growth (20% through 2022)

Cons of a Flash Animator Career
Hours may be long (exceeding 40-hour work weeks), especially when working on a deadline*
Software may be costly*
Working some nights and weekends may be necessary*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Info

Job Description and Duties

As the title implies, flash animators create digital animations using Adobe Flash. You may also use computer code to create websites and graphics, and additional software programs to create SWF files.

As a flash animator, you'll develop projects by sketching ideas, building storyboards and developing concepts. Be prepared to work with clients, directors and other animators to produce illustrations and visual effects. Hours can be long and unusual, especially when you're working on a deadline. On the up side, many animators are self-employed and can be selective about their projects.

Career Paths and Specializations

You may create animation for websites, video games, television or use as a marketing tool. Increasingly, animation is being created for mobile apps and devices, including tablets. Within each of these fields, animators can become even more specialized. For example, you may work in the video game industry creating only scenery.

Job Growth and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job growth for animators and multimedia artists would grow at a rate of 6% between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than the national average. Part of this slow growth is due to the hiring of animators overseas.

Salaries for flash animators can vary by industry. PayScale.com reported, in July 2015, that most employees in this field earned between $29,000 and $99,000, which included bonuses.

What Are the Requirements?

The most important credential for flash animators is a strong portfolio. Employers will want to view samples of your best work and make sure you are capable of completing their projects.

Useful Skills

Education requirements can vary within the field of flash animation. Many employers provide on-the-job training, to ensure that you can use their software effectively. While platforms, education and specializations can change from one employer to another, there are certain skills that nearly all employers will favor.

  • Creativity
  • Artistic talent
  • Experience working with Adobe Suite and other creative software
  • Ability to work flexible hours

What Employers Are Looking for

Take a look at real postings from Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com, to see what employers were looking for, in March 2012.

  • A creative agency in Chicago is seeking a flash animator to regularly freelance with their company. Candidates with experience designing banner ads are preferred. Applicants must feel comfortable working with Flash and Actionscript software.
  • In New Jersey, a flash animator/graphic designer is sought to create interactive applications in the gaming industry. Requirements include Photoshop skills, the ability to create eye-catching animations and a high level of motivation.
  • A litigation consulting firm in Chicago is hiring a flash animator to illustrate key facts to juries during trial. In addition to software knowledge, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and at least two years of experience.
  • In Seattle, a gaming company is hiring a flash animator/illustrator to conceptualize, develop and create animations for video games. At least a high school diploma is needed in addition to extensive software and programming knowledge.
  • A pharmaceutical company in New Jersey has an opening for a temporary flash animator to create interactive components for touch screens. Relevant experience is necessary.

How Can I Stand out?

Earn a Degree

Many employers do not require a degree but in most cases, will favor candidates who have formally studied animation, computer graphics or fine arts. Both 2- and 4-years programs are available. Majors in animation include 3-D graphics, color theory and character animation courses. Computer graphics majors will include much of the same coursework but emphasize software and math. Fine arts majors will study various art forms and art history.

Pursue Certification

You may also consider the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE), Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) or ACE for Developers credentials to demonstrate your knowledge of various types of digital design. This will help demonstrate your ease with using various Adobe products, including Adobe Flash.

Other Careers to Consider

Graphic Designer

If the creative aspect of flash animating appeals to you, a career in graphic design may also spark your interest. Graphic designers create logos, illustrations, packages and other materials to convey the messages designated by their clients. They use traditional drawings and computer programs to develop ideas and see them through production. Entry into this field generally requires a bachelor's degree. Job growth in this field is expected to meet the national average for all careers and the average salary for this career was $49,000 in 2011, according to the BLS.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write the codes that serve as the building blocks for computer programs. They must turn the concepts of software developers into reality and ensure that their programs do not contain bugs. To work in this field you must understand the language of computers and be able to use code libraries. Most employers look for candidates with a bachelor's degree or higher, although some will employ candidates with two-year degrees. You could earn a higher salary as a programmer, which the BLS reported was an average of $76,000 in 2011.

Creative Director

If a digital medium doesn't appeal to you, consider working as a creative director. In this position you'll use visual elements to represent concepts for publications, television and movies, packaging and more. It's likely that you'll oversee an art department and work on projects from start to finish. To begin work in this field, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree and some experience. This career option would also offer a higher salary with an average of $96,000 in 2011, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. The Art Institutes

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Computer Animation (MFA)
      • Design & Media Management (MA)
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Animation (BFA)
      • Media Arts & Animation (BFA)
      • Media Arts & Animation (BS)
      • Visual Effects & Motion Graphics (BFA)
      • Visual Effects & Motion Graphics (BS)
      • Media Arts & Animation (BA)
    Associate's
      • Graphic & Web Design (AAS)
      • Graphic Design (AAS)
      • Graphic Design (AS)
      • Graphic & Web Design (AA)
      • Graphic & Web Design: Graphic Design (AA)
      • Graphic & Web Design: Web Design (AA)
    Certificate
      • Digital Image Management (C)
      • Web Design & Interactive Communications (C)
    High School Diploma
      • Digital Image Management (D)
      • Web Design & Development (D)
      • Web Design & Interactive Communications (D)
      • Web Design (D)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Government - Political Communication
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Communication Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    4. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    5. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Simulation and Visualization (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
      • B.S. - Computer Animation
      • B.S. - Graphic Design
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication - General
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma

Featured Schools

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication

What is your highest level of education?

The Art Institutes

  • Computer Animation (MFA)
  • Computer Animation (BFA)
  • Graphic & Web Design (AAS)
  • Digital Image Management (C)
  • Digital Image Management (D)

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations

What is your highest level of education completed?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
  • BS - Simulation and Visualization (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication

What is your highest level of education?