Does a degree matter? Or just your demo reel?

So i've got a question for everybody.  Mostly those already in the field.
I'm currently a SCAD student focusing on 3D animation, i'm about halfway through my Junior year but because of my age (24) I no longer qualify for the loans I was using to pay for school.  I've looked into every resource possible and talked to as many people as I can and most are saying i'm going to have to drop.
Needless to say i'm pretty upset, but life happens.
Right now i'm looking at other animation programs/schools/whatever in the hopes of finding something cheaper and affordable and have come across sites such as AnimationMentor, AnimSchool, iAnimate, so on and so forth.
My question to you all is if applying to these programs are worth it?
Though i'm glad they are cheaper and more within my price range I dont want to take these programs if it wont help me in terms of a career.  I was told you needed a Bachelors degree for animation jobs no matter where you go, yet these places only offer certificates, if even that.
Is it possible to get a job with just a certificate from these online schools and a good demo reel?

Thanks for taking the time to read this everyone.
Anezi Miro on August 10 at 03:42 PM in Art School
1 Answer(s)
Hello Anezi,  in my personal opinion, the need for a degree is becoming increasingly unnecessary since in our industry, our portfolios speak for themselves.  This is a luxury that we enjoy that many other industry cannot.  It is nice to go to a school like SCAD or CALARTS for all four years but I think you don't absolutely need it. In fact, I think you can get much more out of other online animation schools especially if you're committed to getting into CG character animation. Those programs are super specialized and can put you on the fast track to getting the portfolio you'll need to get your foot in the door at an animationm studio. 
So I went to CALARTS.  One of the things you'll always hear about  is the long list of Calarts grads that never finish all four years haha.  I happened to go all four years but many of my friends didn't and they still found work and are doing really well in the animation industry.  The best thing you can get out of SCAD at this point is the networking opportunities they will help you with. They can put you in front of the right recruiters and don't forget about your fellow classmates. They will be very helpful when you are looking for work in the industry.  Friends want to work with their friends.  We hear of people getting work all the time because of great recommendations and referrals from their friends.  
If you know you want to do CG character animation specifically, I would definitely look into going to one of the online animation schools if you feel you're not ready to get out there into the industry.  If your portfolio is pretty solid already, it wouldn't hurt to start sending it to studios to get some feedback. You never know, you might just get a job!  Once you land your first job, that's when you really start learning a ton about animation!   I wouldn't freak out because many people I work with at Disney right now went through online animation schools.  
I'm also putting together some pretty interesting features on Animatedbuzz which will make it possible for you to link up with Coaches for feedback.  First phase will allow you to #paypercomment.  So if you want some quick feedback on your work, you'll be able to get it from Animatedbuzz Coaches starting at $5. Eventually, you'll be able to book the Coach of your choice for one on one online coaching.  Let me know if that sounds useful!
Mario Furmanczyk on August 10 at 04:15 PM Edited
Hi Mario!
Thank you so much for answering!
I've been looking at AnimationMentor and AnimSchool and will more than likely apply to both and see what happens! But otherwise I think you're right! I've made a lot of connections here at SCAD and learned a lot about the industry from people who have been there and I don't regret my time here at all, not to mention i've experienced firsthand what a lot of recruiters are looking for in regards to animators that I wouldn't have gotten should I have...  more
on August 10 at 05:13 PM
I think you've already gotten what you need from SCAD. time to move on!! lol
on August 10 at 05:30 PM