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

boston dynamics building

If AI is a development that’s about to take the world by storm, then Massachusetts is a supercell. It has the right ingredients – university incubators, public-sector support, and private-sector investments. It’s enough to give even Silicon Valley a run for its money.

In most of the world, companies like Boston Dynamics, Dropbox, iRobot, and OKCupid are household names with a global reach. Akamai belongs on this list too; those in computing know it as the company that makes over 30% of all internet traffic possible. So does RSA Security, the cryptosystem that makes secure e-commerce possible.

But in the Boston area, these increasingly AI-dependent companies fall into a category that’s a little humbler and closer to home: they all got their start at MIT.

The developments being made by AI startups here come as a welcome opportunity for the next generation of college graduates looking to establish a career in this lucrative and innovative field.

AI will soon have applications in virtually all sectors. This means whether you work in the pharmaceutical industry, or defense, or sustainability, being able to apply AI solutions to unique problems will be a defining skill.

This also means that earning a degree or post-degree certificate in AI is a must. It’s valuable training and a powerful symbol of next-generation skills that’s universally recognized by company leaders and the teams they direct.

Boston: The World’s Biotech Hub

dna research in the labGinkgo Bioworks (GB) is a Boston biotechnology company that would have been science fiction a few decades ago. Its objectives include harnessing the seemingly magical capabilities possessed by biological nature: self-reparation, self-replication, and self-assembly. GB accomplishes this with end-to-end bioengineering capabilities and facilities that include a foundry. Today the company is capable of fabricating proteins and enzymes, and conducting strain optimizations with the help of AI.

Ginkgo Bioworks is far from being an exception, at least in Massachusetts. AI professionals in the Boston area will find that GB is representative of the types of biotech companies that call Boston home, and the types of AI jobs that exist throughout the area.

In fact, Massachusetts has just surpassed California in laying claim to being the number-one biotech hub in the world. That’s according to talent specialist company EPM Scientific.

Developments made at GB have the potential to send shockwaves through major industries like biotech, pharmacy, food and agriculture, and public health.

Using software-directed robots and leaning on the latest developments in AI, a single technician at Ginkgo can achieve an output level equivalent to 10 scientists working by hand. In its 2023 Q3 report the company details that it’s achieved a major milestone by training AI to handle complex tasks related to labeling metabolomic profiles and phenotypic screens.

AI professionals at GB work on specialized teams concentrating on things like:

  • Software, IT and DevOps
  • Foundry automation
  • Design and protein science
  • DNA synthesis
  • Testing
  • Mammalian cell engineering
  • Fermentation
  • Organism engineering
  • Data science

These may sound like the jobs of tomorrow, but in the metro Boston area they’re the jobs of right now.

In 1977 it was Boston’s famous suburb of Cambridge that passed the first legislation allowing regulated research into recombinant DNA (rDNA). It took a few generations, but today that kind of foresight is paying dividends as metro Boston hosts over 250 biotech companies, including global names like:

  • Agios Pharmaceuticals
  • Moderna
  • Eli Lily
  • Novartis
  • Sanofi Aventis
  • Pfizer
  • Bristol Myers Squibb

AI Jobs in Massachusetts

The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that AI jobs are projected to increase by 23% over the decade leading up to 2032, and in Massachusetts prospects are looking great too. Just behind DC and Los Angeles, Boston is the metro region with the largest number of computer and information research scientists (1,560), the BLS category that includes AI professionals.

As home to offices for global tech leaders and world-class AI research facilities, Boston holds a distinct advantage. Microsoft and Google have Boston addresses, while MIT and Harvard are both on the same subway line. It’s an understatement to say Boston has a very strong AI ecosystem.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Cambridge, Middlesex County, and Boston

Sure, Boston is a world-leader when it comes to its concentration of AI jobs. And sure, it’s the global leader when it comes to the biotech sector. And while the AI job prospects in the Boston metro for skilled professionals who hold degrees in AI can’t be understated, they don’t stop there.

According to the US Department of Labor, in 2022 the Providence-Warwick metro area was home to an impressive number of computer and information research scientists at 460. The greater Worcester and the Springfield areas are home to around 75.

Quantiphi is an AI digital engineering company based in Middlesex County’s Marlborough city. It hires AI professionals to develop marketable solutions in categories like applications, conversational AI, document insight AI, and custom AI strategies. Quantiphi partners with companies like Google, Nvidia, Microsoft, SAP, Amazon, and more.

Bristol Myers Squibb needs machine learning scientists for drug discovery research. It hires data scientists and AI engineers to help with its most challenging engineering projects and predictive science research work.

With an office in Cambridge, it goes without saying that Microsoft is at the forefront of AI. Its AI professionals work in virtually every department: sales, application development, machine learning, HR, research and development, data science, technical support, and the list goes on.

AI Companies in Metro Boston

When it comes to AI companies it’s easy to start with Bean Town’s namesake Boston Dynamics. Their viral marketing video featuring robots dancing in sync to the song Do You Love Me has been seen by tens of millions and has become something of a meme that depicts how the average person thinks about companies using AI.

Currently owned by Hyundai, Boston Dynamics’ automation technology is used by companies like BP, DHL, Maersk, and National Grid. Image processing, natural language, and spatial awareness are all heavily AI-reliant features that come with the company’s flagship products. Applications include site management, inspection, warehouse automation, and defense.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT quickly made headlines after its unveiling in late 2022. Just a few months later Boston’s own Liquid AI was founded in response, and by the end of 2023 it had already raised over $37 million in seed funding. Liquid AI touts generative AI whose neural network models are much simpler than ChatGPT’s, therefore requiring significantly less computing power.

Biopharmaceutical company Apollo Therapeutics uses AI to create breakthrough developments in cancer treatments and inflammatory diseases. Its research specializes in areas like cell metabolism, immunology, and cell signaling. It’s going into 2024 with $400 million raised to-date for developing transformative medicines.

What is today a company valued at over $1 billion with more than 800 employees, SimpliSafe started out in 2006 as a Boston-area husband-and-wife student duo looking to help their friends find a DIY home security system. The company’s products are now installed in the homes of four million people and counting. From its headquarters in Boston, SimpliSafe’s latest product releases incorporate the most recent developments in AI for image recognition. Distinguishing between pets and intruders is just the beginning of AI’s potential applications with SimpliSafe.

The path in PathAI comes from the Greek word for suffering, the same root found in the word pathos and pathogen. This Boston-based company uses AI for image recognition that goes way beyond friend tagging. Training its algorithms on millions of microscope slides in collaboration with 450 pathologists, PathAI improves diagnoses, drug development, and the speed at which patients receive life-saving treatment.

AI Salary in Boston, Springfield, Worcester, and Providence-Warwick

Massachusetts ranks in the top-five states nationally for offering the highest average annual salary ($152,060) for computer and information research scientists, the category that includes AI professionals. That’s according to 2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where you work has an influence over how much you earn. The 2022 metropolitan region in Massachusetts with the highest average salary for AI professionals is Boston, at $154,210 per year. Following Boston are:

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

Massachusetts-based schools that have long been offering degrees in data science are now building out degree programs in subjects like ML, robotics, and AI engineering. These are offered in a range of formats, from online to on-campus to flexible highbred programs that combine the best of those two options.

Machine Learning Degree and Certificate Options in Boston

For many companies, machine learning is like a gateway that opens up to even more far-reaching AI solutions. Northeastern University offers an MS degree in AI with a specialization in machine learning.

AI Robotics Degree and Certificate Options in Boston

Northeastern University offers an MS degree in AI with a specialization in robotics and agent-based systems.

AI Computer Science Degree and Certificate Options in Boston and Middlesex County

Computer science and AI traditionally go hand-in-hand.

Brandeis University offers an MS in computer science with a master’s project in AI, while Northeastern University offers an MS in computer science with an AI concentration. At the undergraduate level, Northeastern has a BA or BS degree in CS with an AI concentration.

In addition to offering courses in AI and computer science, Harvard also hosts a professional certificate in CS for artificial intelligence.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Boston, Dartmouth, Cambridge, and Amherst

The link between software and real-world physical applications of AI is bridged by engineering.

The University of Massachusetts Boston offers a BS degree in computer engineering. The College of Engineering at UMass Dartmouth offers a minor, BS, and BS-MS combo in computer engineering. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, you can find MS and PhD programs offered in electrical and computer engineering.

MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is proud to offer a BS in AI and decision making.

Boston University

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Boston, MA

boston university

MS in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $63,808

Total tuition comes in at $4,793 below the state average for similar programs.

Brandeis University (Private)

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Waltham, MA

Brandeis University

MS in Computer Science - Master’s Project in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $86,796

Northeastern University

Khoury College of Computer Sciences
Boston, MA

northeastern university

MS in AI (on-campus)

Offered with specialization options in:

MS in Computer Science with a concentration in AI (online, on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $55,200

Total tuition comes in at $31,596 below the state average for similar programs.

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 October 2023.