The Santa Monica College Academy of Entertainment and Technology is offering new classes this spring in video game development and special effects.

Registration for the spring semester is currently under way and classes begin Monday, February 14th.

“The game industry is exploding and we are jumping on this so that we can get students trained and into exciting careers,” said William Lancaster, chair of the academy’s design technology department.

Responding to rapid job growth in the video game industry, the academy will also add certificate programs this fall in game development, special effects, and post production.

“The game industry grosses more than $14 billion [annually], compared to the film industry’s $8 billion gross,” Lancaster said. “Sony derives 70 percent of its revenue from PlayStation products.”

The three video game programs will join existing academy certificate programs in two-dimension animation, three-dimension animation, and Web design.

Certificate programs usually take two years or four semesters to complete.

New classes this spring at the academy include game play mechanics, software authoring and prototyping, digital video effects, audio editing, and advanced instruction in software used to make video games.

The academy is at 1660 Stewart St., Santa Monica, in the middle of the city’s mini-Hollywood entertainment district.

The academy was established almost seven years ago to capitalize on the popularity of careers in animation and Web design.

Eight full-time professors and 30 adjunct professors teach for the academy, which enrolls about 450 students in 84 classes.

Students who receive video game program certificates might find jobs in video game testing and design, graphic and audio design, and project management.

“Employers are hiring for entry level jobs in masses right now,” said David Javelosa, academy professor of interactive media.

“People who move up to work in senior level jobs such as video game producing can make six-figure salaries,” he said.

Los Angeles video game industry employers include Electronic Arts at Playa Vista, Atari, and Activation.

The majority of motion picture studios also have video game subsidiaries, Javelosa said.

“There has been a high demand for these video game programs from our students and our advisory board, which consists of entertainment technology industry executives,” he said. “Technology is always changing and the video game industry is currently the most lucrative.

“We predict these new classes will have full enrollment.”

Information, (310) 434-3720.