Designed for artists on the autism spectrum

Want to train for a career in animation, VFX, or adjacent industries?

Start with a tour

Take a mandatory virtual or in person tour before you apply.
Take a Tour

Need more info?

Email us to request more information or ask us questions.
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Three year full-time program.

Cutting edge software & personalized academic plans.

Career readiness preparation for employability.

Opportunities for job placement.

(Classes run Mon-Fri from 10am-3:30pm PST with a one hour lunch.)
2024-2025 Calendar
Course Catalog

General Information

  1. The Full-Time Program is a three-year commitment, with classes running weekdays
    from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from September to June.
  2. Full-Time students are 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or G.E.D.
    and must have an official medical diagnosis of autism.
  3. Ten Full-Time students are accepted each year, many of whom have successfully completed
    one of our Part-Time programs.
  4. While we work to place graduates of our Full-Time Program in positions of employment both
    internally and externally, Exceptional Minds does not guarantee employment to students or graduates at any time.
  5. Annual tuition is $38,800.
  6. The fully remote option is available for $33,600.
  7. Needs based tuition assistance is available.
  • Formal Diagnosis of Autism: Application requires submission of a letter of diagnosis and/or a recent IEP (Individualized Education Plan) stating diagnosis.
  • Minimum educational level: Evidence of high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Independence: Applicants should demonstrate reasonable independence with transportation, hygiene, scheduling and punctuality, work completion, safety, money etc.
  • Computer Fluency Skills: Applicants should demonstrate basic working knowledge of saving and naming files, Internet navigation and e-mails, and typing skills, etc.
  • Executive Function: Applicants should demonstrate reasonable ability with independent planning, decision-making, time management, organization, etc.
  • Ability to Follow Multi-step Directions: The ability to follow directions presented both orally and in writing.
  • Flexibility: The ability to receive and incorporate feedback, change direction with little notice, use multiple modes of design to create a project, ability to try novel programs and methods, and the ability to work on non-preferred tasks.
  • Artistic Ability: A portfolio is required for the Full- Time admissions assessment and can include electronic (website or flash-drive) or paperwork samples. Portfolio should show the ability to create figurative and abstract drawing, design and composition skills, creative ideas, etc.
  • Basic Work-Related Social Skills: Listening, promptness, appropriate hygiene and dress, greetings and salutations, appropriate volume and tone, ability to work and learn in a group, and showing interest in coworkers, etc.
  • Motivation: Taking pride in quality work, meeting deadlines, performing at or above the level of peers, able to work for periods without prompting or praise, etc.

Studio Track Classes – Full-Time students receive specialized training to prepare them for jobs in either Visual Effects or Animation.

  • Visual Effects Studio Track students master the fundamentals of roto, keying, tracking, marker removal, monitor burn-ins,
    and split compositing.
  • Animation Studio Track students work toward mastery of design, storyboarding, and applying the principles of animation.

Technical Core Classes – Students broaden their technical skill sets and learn the fundamental concepts used in digital arts
including the Elements and Principles of Design in Photoshop, Motion Graphics Animation in After Effects and/or
3D Design and Animation in Maya and Zbrush.

Vocational Classes – Students learn professional behavior, job seeking, and career planning skills. Students receive three years
of hands-on practice and guidance with resume writing, interviewing, and building a demo reel.

  1. Review the Admissions Criteria
  2. Sign up for a tour
  3. Complete tour
  4. Submit an online application

In order to select the candidates for our program, Exceptional Minds has established an Admissions Assessment process. Prospective applicants are required to take a tour in order to determine their level of interest in our program before submitting an application. After an application is submitted, Exceptional Minds conducts a review of student records, surveys parents and professionals who have worked directly with the individual, and schedules a one-hour admissions assessment of the potential candidate.

  • Full-Time applications are accepted as early as October 16th and admissions assessments are scheduled between January and February.
  • The one-hour assessment includes: a formal interview, portfolio review, computer fluency demonstration, and Q & A.
  • Assessment fee is a one-time $350; reapplying students will not pay for the assessment again.

Learn more about our Tuition Assistance program

Exceptional Minds provides needs-based tuition assistance on a case by case basis.
Learn More

We also accept Self Determination Program funding. For more information on the California Department of Developmental Services Regional Center Self Determination Program, please click here.