Is an undergraduate degree necessary or favorable in learning/getting jobs in visual effects? Before I fork out a bunch of money for that education I wanted to get other peoples opinions on it. I know jobs are never guaranteed in this industry but to give yourself the best chance I was wondering if this is a necessary step?
Any art degree is beneficial. Why? It shows you've been forced to study and practice your craft.
If you're 18 and in a few years I were to hire you, I'd look more favorably on someone with a degree. For someone at, say, the age of 25+ I might just let the work speak for itself. A little discriminatory but I've been screwed from hiring young self-learners who had major gaps in their knowledge base that weren't readily apparent until the pressure of a job was applied.
There are a number of colleges that offer commercial illustration, motion graphics, industrial design, and so on. I'd look into these degrees.
Also while you're in school (if you go), get buddy buddy with the film department: many of them will be the people who hire you right out of the gate. Networking is king.