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

minnesota state map

Today, the Saint Paul-Minneapolis area is home to a robust startup community offering AI innovations in sectors like healthcare, agriculture, medicine, and education.

AI is touching the state’s public sector too, with leaders at Minnesota IT Services convening the Transparent Artificial Intelligence Governance Alliance (TAIGA) in late 2023. The purpose of TAIGA is to inspire confidence in public sector rollouts of AI solutions and to develop a framework for private sector applications that ensure the benefits of AI are safe, equitable, and secure.

Initiatives like TAIGA have made Minnesota one of the most proactive regulators in the world.

For example, legislators with an eye towards the presidential election have outlawed unauthorized political deepfakes three months before poll day. Proponents of this law have cited no less than the fundamental preservation of democracy as their cause.

Colleges and universities in the state are ramping up their AI and machine learning programs to meet increasing demand.

The U of M’s Interactive Robotics and Vision Laboratory is a national leader in its field and has distinguished itself for developing one of the first scout robots used by the military on the battlefield.  As AI becomes more advanced, the school’s lab envisions developing bomb detection tools for the Department of Homeland Security, and mental illness diagnostics for the healthcare sector.

Because it’s an emerging and highly specialized field, much of the groundbreaking work involving AI intersects with academia. Institutes of higher education serve as incubators that can lead to professional opportunities in the public and private sectors. If you’re thinking about going to school for a degree in AI in Minnesota, then you’re in the right place at the right time.

AI is Already Transforming Healthcare in Minnesota

mayo clinic entrance in rochester, mnHealthcare is a big deal throughout Minnesota with the state maintaining 123 24-hour emergency rooms. Every year 1.6 million patients are treated in ERs. and over 11 million people receive outpatient care. In fact, around 20% of all job vacancies in Minnesota are in the healthcare sector, and over 52,000 healthcare workers are employed across the state. Ask anyone – healthcare is one of Minnesota’s largest industries.

And like every industry, AI will have an enormous impact on the healthcare sector in the future; a trend that’s already starting today.

According to a white paper released by the Minneapolis-based global medical device company Medtronic, today 72% of healthcare executives trust AI to engage in non-clinical administrative tasks that will free up clinicians to spend more time with their patients. The most anticipated AI improvements are expected in virtual patient care, diagnoses and outcome predictions, and medical image interpretations.

That’s a lot of maneuvering room for AI.

Medtronic is already using AI applications to:

  • Reduce false alerts for its cardiac monitors by huge margins
  • Improve identification of pre-cancerous and cancerous polyps in colonoscopy images
  • Capture surgical training video examples to support continuing education for medical professionals
  • Improve treatment speed for lung cancer patients based on scans of their radiology reports

In Rochester, one of the nation’s best-known academic medical centers, the Mayo Clinic, is also adding AI to its repertoire of tools to improve human health. Its Department of Artificial Intelligence and Informatics tasks clinicians, researchers, and operational staff to find best-case uses for AI.

The Mayo Clinic’s list of focus areas includes cancer informatics, quantitative medicine, precision population health, and health care delivery to name just a few. New approaches are being developed using machine learning, data science, and deep learning.

Overall, the department’s goals include:

  • Developing AI training and research
  • Incorporating AI assistance as standard practice
  • Recruiting and retaining faculty researchers who specialize in AI
  • Gaining impactful insights into disease treatment and health promotion

A degree in an AI field is the common denominator between the latest technological advancements and the potential for wide-reaching improvements in the healthcare and medical industries. As Minnesota’s doctors and researchers implement new AI solutions, companies are looking to hire a new workforce cadre educated in relevant fields.

AI Jobs in Minnesota

Think of the largest economic sectors in Minnesota –healthcare, education, government, construction, agriculture– and now imagine every one of them being transformed by AI. It’s already happening. Jobs in virtually every industry are going to be touched by AI.

If you already have experience doing something besides AI, then that’s an asset. If you’re just starting down your path of AI education, all the better. Either way you’re lining up to strike while the iron is hot.

Over the decade leading up to 2030, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of AI jobs (within the category of Computer and Information Research Science) will increase by 30% in Minnesota.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Metro Saint Paul-Minneapolis

Right now in Minnesota, robots are chatting with elderly residents in nursing homes, computer programs are scanning x-rays to assist in diagnoses, and drones are flying over corn fields to assess nutrient levels. The future is now.

The skills behind making Minnesota’s economy smart involve a range of specializations that are familiar to anyone who’s earned a degree in AI:

With an average of 30 new AI job openings every year throughout the state, it’s increasingly important to earn a relevant degree as soon as possible to demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable and competitive.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics most of the state’s AI jobs are concentrated in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area, based on statistics for the proxy computer and information research scientists.

AI Companies in Minneapolis and Eden Prairie

When it comes to healthcare, companies in Minnesota are taking the lead in AI.

There are already 16 four-foot-tall robots deployed at eight assisted care facilities across the state. Specifically tasked with helping dementia patients, these mobile humanoids tell jokes, sing karaoke, and display family photos to long-term-care residents. They’re also programmed to engage in reminiscence therapy and detect light levels as an indication of the potential for oncoming sundowner syndrome.

Minneapolis-headquartered medical device company Medtronic operates in more than 150 countries worldwide and employs over 90,000 people, more than 10% of whom are engineers and scientists. One of its most recent AI innovations is image processing software that can detect polyps during colonoscopies. In 2023 it invested $2.3 billion into further research and development.

Eden Prairie-based Starkey Hearing Technologies sells hearing aids that adjust amplification performance based on real-time adaptations to the acoustic environment. Starkey is proud to note how AI is helping it redefine this industry by making products that can out-compete the rest through superior performance.

Minneapolis’ tech startup company JazzJune holds the distinction of being the creator of the world’s first online course made entirely using AI in response to one-sentence prompts in ChatGPT. JazzJune’s roots are as a free social learning platform whose business model revolves around providing the digital tools needed for creators who want to make and share their content.

As far as improvements to efficiency and AI go, the sky is literally the limit. Airline companies are incorporating smart logistics, data mining pattern recognition, integration with voice-activated virtual assistants, and self-check-in kiosks complete with facial recognition. Be on the lookout as the 17 commercial passenger airlines serving MSP make their own AI upgrades, including at WestJet, Allegiant, Frontier, and Sun Country Airlines.

AI Salary in St. Paul-Minneapolis

Statewide the average salary for AI professionals in Minnesota was $124,240 in 2022, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data for Computer and Information Research Scientists, the category inclusive of AI engineers and other professionals. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area that figure is $115,980.

For AI professionals at the top of their game, represented by annual salary figures in the category for the 90th percentile, the 2022 number statewide is $193,430. The St. Paul-Minneapolis metro area figure is $141,570, a figure that includes Bloomington.

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

Opportunities to earn graduate degrees in AI and ML are quickly growing across the state. Schools in Minneapolis and St. Cloud are forging the way ahead. Departments are quickly broadening their offerings to meet growing demand.

University of Minnesota students are already programming drones to fly over crops to detect nitrogen deficiencies and outfitting robots to help dementia patients.

And when it comes to stand-alone AI credentials, Saint Mary’s University offers a graduate certificate in AI. You can also combine this with an MS in business intelligence and data analytics.

But this is just the beginning.

Machine Learning Degree and Certificate Options in St. Cloud and Minneapolis

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota is proud of its dedicated faculty who specialize in machine learning. They’re glad to lend their expertise to areas like computational biology, parallel computing, and linear algebra for students who are completing their graduate education and want to focus on ML. The department offers master’s degrees in data science and computer science, and a PhD in computer science.

St. Cloud State University is also proud to offer a graduate certificate in AI and machine learning.

AI Robotics Degree and Certificate Options in Minneapolis

The University of Minnesota has a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Division that’s part of its Department of Computer Science and Engineering. It offers master’s and doctoral programs in areas like computer and data science, and the faculty in the Robotics and AI Division assist students who want to research topics like computer vision, AI, natural language processing, and human-robot interaction.

The university’s Interactive Robotics and Vision Laboratory provides additional opportunities for students interested in this field.

AI Computer Science Degree and Certificate Options in Minneapolis and St. Cloud

St. Cloud University offers two very relevant programs in this area of focus: a bachelor’s degree in computer science with an AI specialization, and an MS in computer science with the option to pursue advanced research in AI.

The University of Minnesota also offers MS and PhD programs in computer science, and an MS in data science.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Minneapolis and St. Cloud

The University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering offers an MS in software engineering.

At the undergraduate level, St. Cloud State University offers a BS in software engineering. It’s also proud to host a professional science master’s in software engineering at the graduate level.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

School of Business and Technology
Minneapolis, MN

saint mary's university of minnesota

MS in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics with an AI Graduate Certificate (online)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $25,080

Only private AI master’s degree in Minnesota.

Graduate Certificate in AI (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $9,120

St. Cloud State University

College of Science and Engineering
St. Cloud, MN

st. cloud state university

MS in Computer Science with advanced research in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $15,510 ($785 per-credit out-of-state)

Only public AI master’s degree in Minnesota.

Graduate Certificate in AI and Machine Learning (on-campus, online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $7,755 ($785 per-credit out-of-state)

Also offers: Major in Computer Science with an AI specialization

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 2023.