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

Written by Rebecca Turley

ai north dakota

Artificial intelligence has the unique ability to revolutionize nearly every industry in its path. There’s little left unaffected or untouched in the wake of AI, with it shaping and disrupting major industries like healthcare, finance, and transportation. In North Dakota, artificial intelligence is quickly becoming agriculture’s next big thing, creating an environment where both crops and stronger bottom lines flourish.

In North Dakota, agriculture has always been the star pupil, contributing nearly $30 billion to, and representing about 25 percent of, the state’s economy. Today’s agriculture industry faces a host of challenges, from climate change to rising fuel costs to a lack of labor. With the integration of AI technologies, however, solutions to the industry’s most pressing issues are emerging – solutions that have the capacity to conserve water, reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase crop yields, mitigate climate risks, streamline the supply chain, and much, much more.

In a state that has devoted no less than 90 percent of its land to farming and is the nation’s largest producer of row crops, AI-powered solutions have the ability to not just change the face of agribusiness in North Dakota, but also throughout the country and across the world.

From research to commercialization, the marriage of artificial intelligence and agriculture in North Dakota is making impressive strides. In fact, tech trailblazers here have begun referring to it as a “digital agricultural revolution,” with the Red River Valley quickly becoming the nationwide hub for advances in ag-tech.

For example, in June 2023, telecommunications provider MLGC and Colorado-based Trilogy Networks announced the creation of North Dakota’s largest precision agriculture initiative, Dakota*ICP, which stands for Innovative Crop Production. This project is designed to combine MLGC’s telecommunications technology with Trilogy’s AI-powered precision agricultural platform, FarmGrid, to modernize farming in the Peace Garden State. The project will provide time-sensitive information to growers, who can then make data-driven decisions to increase yields, lower costs, and reduce environmental impacts. Trilogy’s FarmGrid boasts AI-driven aerial image processing and microclimate and soil monitoring capabilities. This growing company also announced plans to open a Center for Agricultural Innovation in Fargo, which will focus solely on developing and deploying data-driven farming practices.

At North Dakota State University, researchers are developing an AI-powered system that can spot and spray harmful weeds to eradicate them without spraying otherwise-healthy crops with herbicides. With the help of USDA-funded researchers, they are creating computer vision models that can be integrated into drones to quickly and accurately spot weeds and spray them on the spot. Their research has already proven impressive. They’ve been able to achieve an 85 percent accuracy rate when locating five different types of weeds throughout the state.

And at the Grand Farm Innovation Site in Fargo, they’re testing technologies like those at NDSU. This 450-acre research and education site brings growers, corporations, startups, educators, researchers, government agencies, and investors together to solve problems in agriculture using applied technology. Led by Emerging Prairie, a Fargo-based entrepreneurial community focused on startups, technology, and innovation, Grand Farm is working toward creating the farm of the future. Founder Barry Bacheller said he hopes to create a fully autonomous farm by 2050. Grand Farm has received major funding from big names like Microsoft and, in 2022, the North Dakota Legislature and State Department of Commerce awarded the project $10 million to further advance ag-tech.

Whether you have plans to become part of North Dakota’s powerful ag-tech industry, or you’re looking to make your mark in other industries in the state, such as oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, or finance, a formal education in artificial intelligence is designed to build upon your skills in engineering, computer science, data science, or business and position you as a leader in this emerging field. From bachelor’s degrees for aspiring engineers and scientists to master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs for practicing pros who are ready to take their careers in a new direction, there’s a growing number of AI degrees that will prepare you to become a serious contender for top jobs in North Dakota’s AI field.

How AI-Driven Solutions Are Shaping the Future of Medicine at Sanford Health

medical aiArtificial intelligence-driven solutions are quickly changing the face of healthcare, easing clinician workloads, optimizing resources, increasing efficiency, and even diagnosing illnesses. AI has become a gamechanger for improving the quality of care and patient outcomes, and major health systems like Sanford Health are just beginning to appreciate its potential.

The integration of AI at Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the U.S. and the largest one in North Dakota, can be seen and felt throughout the system’s three health campuses in the Fargo/Moorhead area.

For example, in April 2022, Sanford Health announced a partnership with InferVision, a medical imaging AI tech company, aimed at helping doctors better detect cancer in image scans. Three Sanford radiologists are working with InferVision to develop a tool that will accurately identify cancer in radiological images of patients. They’re currently using past CT scans to help “teach” the AI tool, and they’re working on the third vision of the model. Each revision of the model has gotten better at differentiating normal tissue from potentially cancerous tissue. The team hopes to produce a tool that will serve as a second set of eyes for a radiologist to catch potentially cancerous tissue.

And in May 2023, Sanford announced that it was using an AI-driven software platform called LAMP to help alleviate staffing shortages and better predict when and where staffing is needed the most. Using Sanford’s history, this AI technology allows administration to better understand volume trends and arrange staffing, as necessary. They’re also looking to utilize the tool to lessen the burden on team leaders when it comes to scheduling staff.

Jobs in North Dakota

According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce, North Dakota had a tech employment of 13,272 as of 2022, which equates to about 3 percent of the state’s total workforce.

Between 2021 and 2022, the number of tech jobs in North Dakota grew by 2.5 percent, or 324 jobs. And between 2022 and 2023, CompTIA projects another increase of 2.1 percent, or about 275 tech jobs.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Fargo and Bismarck

Largely focused on the metropolitan regions of Fargo and Bismarck, AI jobs in North Dakota serve as outstanding opportunities to make a name for yourself in engineering, computer science, data science, robotics, and beyond.

AI Companies in Fargo and Grand Forks

Information technology and its subsectors have become an important segment of North Dakota’s economy, comprising about 3,000 businesses throughout the state, including the nation’s second largest Microsoft campus in Fargo.

North Dakota is also where you’ll find exciting advances in uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS). It’s home to one of seven FAA test sites that are conducting cutting-edge research in UAS, along with Vantis, an aerospace company at Grand Forks Air Force Base that’s developing a UAS BVLOS (beyond the visual line of sight) commercial flight system.

Ellendale’s Applied Digital Corporation is a big name in artificial intelligence in North Dakota. This company designs, develops, and operates next-generation data centers that support the rapidly growing high-performance computing industry. In November 2023, they broke ground on a 100-megawatt high-performance computing facility near Ellendale that will be used for AI workloads like generative AI, natural language processing, machine learning, and other computing applications.

AI startups are making a name for themselves in North Dakota, too. The Grand Forks-based company Thread created an AI robotics platform that collects autonomous data used for electric utility inspections. Their technology, called UNITI Workspace, also includes asset data management, workflow automation, and collaboration tool features. In October 2023, they secured $15 million in Series A funding – only the second company in the state to reach a Series A round.

Bushel, headquartered in Fargo, is another rising startup that offers software solutions for growers, grain buyers, retailers, food companies and more. The Bushel Network, which includes more than 100,000 farmers and 2,600 grain and ag retail locations, is designed to solve problems in agriculture like workforce shortages and delayed payments. Its platform digitizes data like transactions and payment information to streamline a variety of financial activities and provide unique insights. In August 2023, they announced that they had secured $26 million in funding.

AI Salary in North Dakota

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), AI scientists and engineers, who fall under the broader BLS category of computer and information research scientists, earned a median salary of $136,620 as of May 2022. Those new to the profession earned about $99,410 during this time, while those with extensive experience and advanced degrees earned about $232,010.

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

Though North Dakota colleges and universities are still developing artificial intelligence master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs, you’ll be pleased to know that a growing number of schools across the country now offer a host of programs. And because many of these programs are offered in fully online formats, these degree and certificate programs are available to students in North Dakota and beyond.

AI bachelor’s degrees provide a comprehensive foundation for emerging scientists and engineers. Rooted in mathematics, these programs are usually found in computer science and engineering departments and feature core courses like linear algebra, probability, and calculus alongside theory and practice in artificial intelligence.

AI master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs provide career changers and practicing engineers and scientists with a more focused course of study. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of artificial intelligence, these programs are housed in schools of engineering, computer science, arts and science, philosophy, and more. Many of these programs offer specialization/focus areas that allow students to align their graduate program with their specific career goals. AI engineering master’s degrees, for example, may offer specialization options in environmental engineering, nanoscale engineering, biomedical engineering, or mechanical engineering. AI computer science degrees, on the other hand, may offer specialization options in machine learning, intelligent engineering, or robotics.

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.