Learn AI in Kentucky: A Guide to Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs & Certificate-Level Training Courses Online & in Kentucky

Written by Rebecca Turley

ai data connect concept

Kentucky hasn’t just welcomed artificial intelligence; it’s embraced it for its ability to disrupt everything in its path and fundamentally change the face of business, industry, and society as a whole.

It’s no surprise, really. After all, Kentucky’s long been committed to progress, with its tech community serving as a clear indicator of its focus on forward momentum. According to CompTIA’s State of Technology report, tech jobs in Kentucky increased by 2.1 percent between 2021 and 2022, which equates to a net job growth of 1,317 jobs in just one year. And it projects a similar jump between 2022 and 2023 – 2.3 percent, which equates to another net increase of 1,476 jobs.

There’s no question why this commonwealth is a natural fit for the tech sector. It has plenty going for it, including a low cost of living; a growing pool of highly skilled workers; a strong business accelerator and incubator community; and regional innovation clusters that support high-tech, high-growth startups.

Kentucky’s all in and committed to bolstering its tech community and economy and making positive, lasting changes that will long shape its position in the national and international community. Translation: all eyes are on artificial intelligence.

Fact is, you only need to look to Louisville, the state’s biggest metro area, to see how AI has shaped the Bluegrass State in recent years. In 2019, the city of Louisville entered into an innovative collaboration with Microsoft to establish the city as a regional hub for artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and data science. As a result, the AI Innovation Digital Alliance and Future of Work initiative were born. The collaboration also includes support from the Brookings Institute, the University of Louisville, and other private-public partners.

Focused on transforming the region’s digital economy, accelerating AI practices and, of course, supporting the growth of tech companies, the Future of Work initiative is designed to strengthen the educational pipeline and produce more skilled workers for the growing and interdisciplinary AI field. The AI Innovation Digital Alliance supports AI-forward research that seeks to challenge racial disparities and close the digital skills gap in low-socioeconomic and underrepresented communities and bring executives and entrepreneurs together to discuss innovations in AI, cybersecurity, and digital transformation.

Kentucky has all the ingredients for a successful and lasting career in AI, so there may be no better time than the present to begin exploring the value of an undergraduate or graduate degree in this interdisciplinary field. Whether you’re interested in pursuing the bachelor’s degree that will provide you with the foundation for a career in computing, engineering, data analytics, or business, or you’re a practicing software engineer or computer scientist with your sights set on shifting your focus to AI, you’ll find a growing number of programs that are sure to align with your career goals and position you for success.

MRIs and AI: How They Could Revolutionize Autism Diagnoses

autism brain in children A future autism diagnosis may require no more than an MRI, if a research team at the University of Louisville has their way.

Mohamed Khudri, a visiting research scholar at the university, was part of an interdisciplinary team that developed an artificial intelligence-powered, three-stage system that analyzes and classifies MRIs of the brain to diagnose autism. This new AI system has, by all accounts, exceeded expectations, diagnosing autism in children between the ages of 24 and 48 months with a 98.5 percent accuracy rate.

The system works by identifying and then classifying diffusion tensor MRI (DT-MRI) of the brain. DT-MRI studies have become widely used by clinicians and researchers because they provide unique insight into brain network connectivity. Khudri and the team created and trained an AI algorithm to analyze DT-MRI studies to detect deviations in brain connectivity, which is largely seen as a key indicator of autism. It is these abnormal connections that are responsible for autism symptoms such as repetitive behavior or impaired social abilities.

The team’s AI system is able to isolate brain tissue images and analyze the markers that indicate the connectivity between the regions of the brain. Then, a machine learning algorithm compares the results of the child with autism with the results of a normally developed brain to accurately diagnose a child with autism or who is neurotypical.

The research used DT-MRI brain scans of 226 children from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange – II – 126 of the scans were of children with autism, while 100 were of normally developing children.

This research could lead to improved diagnoses among children under two, which would allow therapeutic intervention to begin earlier. Studies have shown that early intervention is key to helping children with autism achieve better outcomes. Currently, the CDC reports that fewer than half of the children with autism receive a developmental evaluation before their third birthday, largely due to the time and costs associated with autism assessment and treatment. The AI system produces a report that details the severity of the brain disruptions and pinpoints which neural pathways are affected, both of which can be used to better tailor early therapeutic efforts.

The research team is hoping to obtain FDA approval for their AI software, so they can begin commercializing it.

AI Jobs in Kentucky

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, AI scientists and engineers in Kentucky (who fall under the broader title of computer information and research scientists) will continue to enjoy growing job opportunities in the coming years. In the ten years leading up to 2030, the number of jobs in this field in the Bluegrass State is projected to increase by 19 percent, rising from 160 jobs in 2020 to 190 jobs in 2030. During this time, the state will see about 20 annual job openings in this field due to a blend of new job creation, retirements, and natural job turnover.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, and Nicholasville

They’re the talent behind some of the most exciting artificial intelligence advances in healthcare, manufacturing, finance, and beyond, and they’re changing the way we approach how business is done. In Kentucky, there’s no shortage of job opportunities to make your mark in artificial intelligence.

AI Companies in Frankfort, Louisville, and Bowling Green

Kentucky’s growing AI field is supported by both established names and rising enterprises that are reimagining methods, processes, and practices for companies in nearly every industry.

For example, beingAI, a Hong Kong-based company, chose Bowling Green as the site of its new U.S. headquarters, which is set to open in 2024 on Western Kentucky University’s Innovation Campus. This company is committed to building a U.S. team of creators, scientists, and developers who work to create artificially intelligent characters (the company calls them AI beings®) that help people and humanity thrive.

And in Louisville, Guardian Owl Digital is making significant strides. This company provides AI-driven solutions to businesses across any industry. Just some of the services they provide include helping manufacturers leverage their prediction platforms to identify a maintenance schedule for their equipment…providing companies with price prediction tools that help companies optimize the pricing of their products and services… and analyzing marketing materials for companies and helping them refine their marketing strategies.

Much of the AI technology in Kentucky is emerging from the state’s leading universities. For example, the University of Kentucky is home to the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence (CAAI), which is part of the Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI), where AI is applied in translational science.

In 2020, the IBI Innovation Core was created to promote the use of technology to support translational science. And in 2021, the College of Medicine funded the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIM) Alliance to further promote the use of artificial intelligence across medical domains. The CAAI was then formed to combine the efforts of the Innovation Core and AIM.

Cutting-edge AI research is also taking place at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) in Frankfort, which is an amalgamation of more than 150 major PhD-granting institutions that work alongside government agencies, universities, and corporations to advance scientific research and education, protect health and the environment, and strengthen national security.

AI Salary in Louisville and Lexington

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), AI professionals in Kentucky, who fall under the broader BLS category of computer and information research scientists, earned a median salary of $90,190 as of May 2022. Those with little experience earned about $68,190, while those with extensive experience earned about $114,830.

AI scientists and engineers in the Louisville metro area (Jefferson County) earned a median salary of $92,570 as of May 2022, which was slightly higher than the state median. However, those in the Lexington metro area earned slightly less, at $86,810.

The BLS reported a similar story for AI professionals with extensive experience. During this time, those in the Louisville metro area earned about $147,220 – about $33,000 higher than the state average. Those in the Lexington metro area earned $106,080, or about $8,000 less than the state average.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Master’s Degree and Certificate Courses in Kentucky and Online

In Kentucky and across the country, undergraduate and graduate degrees in artificial intelligence are taking shape, preparing the next generation of scientists, engineers, and analysts.

Bachelor’s degrees in AI, which are usually housed in a university’s school of computer science or engineering, provide aspiring scientists and engineers with a strong foundation in the field. These programs are usually grounded in advanced mathematics, with courses in calculus, linear algebra, and probability commonplace.

Master’s degrees in AI provide career changers and current professionals in the fields of engineering, data analysis, computer science, and robotics with a focused course of study in this growing, interdisciplinary field. These programs are often highly specialized to suit specific areas of study, so you can expect schools of engineering, computer science, and arts and sciences to all offer AI programs.

Computer science master’s degrees often feature specialization options in areas such as cybersecurity, machine learning, robotics, and autonomous systems, while engineering master’s degrees in AI often feature opportunities to specialize in specific areas of engineering, such as mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, or civil engineering. For example, the University of Louisville offers a Graduate Certificate in AI Medicine through the J.B. Speed School of Engineering that’s focused on the analysis of biomedical data for future medical professionals and engineers.

Many of the AI master’s degrees and graduate certificates today are offered in fully online formats, thereby allowing students to pursue a program that best aligns with their career goals, regardless of their geographic location.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Louisville

AI engineering master’s degrees and graduate certificates feature an AI-embedded engineering framework that prepares students to become experts at creating complex systems that solve real business problems.

University of Louisville (Public)

J.B. Speed School of Engineering
Louisville, KY

university of louisville

Graduate Certificate in AI Medicine (online, on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $11,865 ($1,575 per-credit out-of-state)

Also offers: BA in Computer Science-AI track

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for computer information and research scientists. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, CareerOneStop. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2024