A four year bachelor's degree would be a great way to get a job in the industry. It never hurts to start practicing early though! You can start animating before college and play with some apps on your phone. If you are interested in making cartoons, read "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud. Study your favorite cartoons. Animation and cartooning are sequential art forms, meaning they rely on time- one thing happening after another. Learning how to tell a story with your art will help you become a better animator and cartoonist.
You can also get your master's degree in animation from schools like California Institute of the Arts or the Royal College of Art. This will take six years of education.
There is also the other type of cartoonist like Stephan Pastis - I recommend reading his wikipedia article- who followed another line of work, which he was very unhappy with, before becoming a professional cartoonist. He spent 9 years doing his other job before he was able to break in to the professional circle, but it is a great example of an alternative way to becoming an established artist.