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

Written by Rebecca Turley

doctor using hud

Louisiana health systems are revolutionizing medicine, and they’re harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to do so. From Baton Rouge to New Orleans, they’re embracing artificial intelligence and utilizing its power to save money, streamline operations, improve decision-making, ease clinician workloads and, ultimately, improve patient care and outcomes.

Not since the development of modern medicine has healthcare experienced such a seismic shift, and Louisiana hospitals and healthcare systems are firmly positioned at the forefront of this revolution, ready for what comes next.

For example, in Baton Rouge, the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has become the first clinical site in the world to use an FDA-approved AI technology to expedite the patient scan process. The new technology, called MR-Box, creates synthetic CT scans from MRI scans using artificial intelligence, which can then be used make radiation plan calculations needed for treatment purposes. MRIs are useful tools for imaging purposes, but CT scans are vital for determining the accurate dose for radiotherapy treatment.

This program eliminates the need for patients to have an additional scan, thereby allowing treatment to begin sooner. It will streamline and simplify the Cancer Center staff’s workflow without sacrificing accuracy or safety. MR-Box, created by TheraPancea, which is headquartered in Paris, France, is capable of producing scans for cancers in the brain, abdomen, and pelvis.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, headquartered in Baton Rouge but part of a larger system of facilities across Louisiana and Mississippi, is also changing the shape of its healthcare system through advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. For example, they are using an AI-powered lung nodule program that identifies patients who are at an elevated risk of lung disease. The program analyzes interpretations of radiology reports and alerts a multidisciplinary team to review a patient’s chart and direct them to the most appropriate care.

In New Orleans, the Ochsner Health System is stepping up its adoption of AI technologies. Dr. Denise Basow, Ochsner Health’s chief digital officer, said that although the health system has been using AI models for years, largely to predict patients at risk for conditions such as sepsis and pressure ulcers, they’ve begun to focus their attention to even more advanced AI technologies. For example, Ochsner is preparing to launch a ChatGPT program soon that will help physicians answer the countless emails they receive on a daily basis and help the business side of the hospital better manage patient billing.

And Baton Rouge General Hospital has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to employ Google’s Med-PaLM-2, an AI model that analyzes research to provide answers to medical questions. They’ve also invested in TheraDoc, a software program that analyzes patient records to provide appropriate antibiotic recommendations.

Ochsner, Baton Rouge General, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System have all begun exploring the use of recording software that helps provides take notes during a patient visit. The AI-powered programs listen (eliminating any information not necessary for medical notes) and then create a draft of the notes for the provider to review.

Advances in artificial intelligence aren’t just limited to the healthcare sector. Nearly all industries and sectors in Louisiana are discovering the many ways in which AI solves problems, provides new and unique insights, and challenges the status quo. That means now’s the perfect time to begin exploring how a degree in artificial intelligence can jumpstart your career or take it in a new direction. From engineering to computer science, there’s outstanding opportunities in AI in Louisiana awaiting you. 

New Orleans DA Unleashes a New Tool in the Fight Against Crime: Artificial Intelligence

crime scene tapeIn New Orleans, District Attorney Jason Williams is tackling criminal cases with a new, powerful partner: artificial intelligence.

Williams has assembled an eleven-member OSINT Task Force (OSINT refers to intelligence collection through publicly available, or “open source,” information.), complete with former intelligence officers and the latest AI tools to help in his fight against the city’s growing crime problem. The goal: to use the power of AI to analyze data and create timelines that are used by prosecutors in criminal trials.

The OSINT Task Force isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill task force. Williams brought in some of the best former intelligent agents, some of whom were behind the hunt for Osama bin Laden, to help in his quest to successfully prosecute homicides and other violent crimes.

The task force uses machine learning to autogenerate subpoenas for social media and wireless carriers. The technology then analyzes the data received to create detailed timelines. The technology is also able to easily sort through and analyze the overwhelming amount of data in criminal cases, such as body camera footage, surveillance, and social media posts.

Williams, who dedicated $250,000 to this pilot project, said that the task force has already begun making a difference in his investigations in the few months that it has been up and running (as of September 2023). He hopes to expand the task force in the future.

Williams is using artificial intelligence technology from Tranquility AI, a startup that was founded with the help of firmer U.S. intelligence analysts with expertise in tracking terrorist cells online.

The task force couldn’t come at a better time. An understaffed police department and a thick backlog of cases have made it difficult to get a handle on the city’s violent crime problem. According to the New Orleans Police Department, the city struggled under the weight of 265 murders in 2022, along with about 300 open homicide cases.

As of September 2023, murders in New Orleans totaled 150. To put these numbers into perspective, that’s a 95 percent jump compared to the same period in 2019.

AI Jobs in Louisiana

According to CompTIA’s State of Tech Workforce report, employment in Louisiana’s tech sector is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

As of 2022, net tech employment in Louisiana was 48,186. During this time, there were 5,326 tech businesses throughout the state. Between 2021 and 2022, the state reported a net increase of 1,851 tech jobs. Between 2022 and 2023, the report projects a net increase of 3.6 percent – that translates to 1,751 net tech jobs.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Pineville

Data scientists, computer vision engineers, software architects, AI scientists… the field of AI is where you’ll find some of the most cutting-edge technologies led by top professionals in the fields of engineering, computing, robotics, data analytics, and beyond.

AI Companies in New Orleans and Baton Rouge

AI advances are being made and commercialized every day in the Bayou State, creating exceptional opportunities for AI professionals at every stage in their careers.

NOLA AI, Inc., a generative AI startup in New Orleans, provides businesses, organizations, and government entities with intelligent AI tools that drive creativity and enhance the decision-making process. Their work includes tuning and training models that work with proprietary data to help businesses leverage the value of their data; creating AI-infused software applications; and developing new advanced machine learning AI systems and models.

Antares Technology Solutions in Baton Rouge is focused on creating high-quality custom software and technology solutions for nearly every industry, although they have particular expertise in the government, healthcare, and oil and gas industries. Their software development services utilize artificial intelligence to boost a company’s productivity and create an organized workflow.

In late 2022, Excella, a Virginia-based technology firm that specializes in artificial intelligence systems, established a “talent hub” in New Orleans. This project includes creating 150 new jobs, including UX designers, software developers, project managers, data engineers, business analysts, and more for its New Orleans-based team.

Louisiana universities are also part of the AI revolution in the state. They’re behind some of the latest, cutting-edge technologies that are being commercialized for business and industry. For example, LSU faculty and students are leveraging AI and machine learning for applications in medicine, wildfire prevention, natural disaster response, and more. More than $69 million in funding has been directed to AI and machine learning projects in the past four years.

And Tulane’s Center for Community-Engaged Artificial Intelligence is home to a multidisciplinary team of technologists, designers, social scientists, and community partners who are working to create and deploy new AI systems that are inclusive, effective, fair, transparent, and accountable.

AI Salary in New Orleans

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), AI scientists, engineers, and analysts in Louisiana earned a median salary of $89,250 as of May 2022. Those new to the field with little experience earned about $69,040 during this time, while those with extensive experience earned about $122,570.

The BLS reported that AI professionals in the New Orleans metro area earned slightly less than the state at the median level, at $88,160, while those at the top of the pay scale earned about $122,680, just slightly above the state average.

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

Though Louisiana colleges and universities are still developing artificial intelligence master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs, you’ll be pleased to know that a bevy of programs are now offered at schools throughout the country. And because many of these programs are offered in fully online formats, these degree and certificate programs are available to students in Louisiana and across the nation.

Bachelor’s degrees in artificial intelligence provide the foundation for this interdisciplinary field of study. Usually housed within a school’s department of computer science or engineering, these programs feature a strong math core, complete with courses in linear algebra, calculus, and statistics. From there, students study the theories and practical applications associated with this field. In computer science programs, typical courses include data structure and algorithms, advanced operating systems, and discrete math for computer science.

Master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs in artificial intelligence provide practicing AI scientists and engineers and career changers with advanced study in the field. Typical of the field’s interdisciplinary nature, you’ll find AI master’s programs housed in colleges of computer science, engineering, the arts and sciences, and more.

While many have engineering or computer science foundations, a growing number of colleges and universities are offering them as standalone programs, drawing from many schools within the university. Specialization options are also commonplace, with most programs allowing students to choose a focus that best aligns with their career goals.

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.