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

Written by Rebecca Turley

ai oregon

Oregon is a dichotomy of tradition and innovation. This picturesque Pacific Northwest state boasts a natural resource base that has long supported industries like forestry, wood products, and agriculture. But it’s also a breeding ground for innovation, poised between major tech clusters in California and Washington and home to its own impressive tech sector dubbed “Silicon Forest” for its high concentration of high-tech companies.

Oregon is home to Hillsboro-based Intel, the world’s largest producer of semiconductors and the state’s largest private employer in Hillsboro … the HP campus in Corvallis, a 140-acre site for research and manufacturing … and the Corvallis Microfluidics Tech Hub, a leader in the development and commercialization of microfluidics technology for use in the semiconductor and bioscience industries.

Not surprising, Oregon has gone all in on artificial intelligence, tapping into its power to preserve its heritage industries while addressing societal needs and propelling the high-tech sector like never before. Just a few of the ways artificial intelligence has permeated Oregon business, industry, and society in recent years includes:

February 2021: The Environmental Defense Fund launched SmartPass, a fishery monitoring system that blends shore-based cameras with AI technology to monitor recreational and commercial ocean fishing. Developed with the help of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), CVision AI, Teem Fish Monitoring, and Snap IT, this AI tool will be used to improve fishery management in a cost-effective, efficient fashion. Cameras capture, record, and store videos of passing vessels. The data is then uploaded to the cloud, where machine learning algorithms analyze the data and generate reports of fishing activity.

March 2022: The state announced funding to implement a network of wildfire detection cameras. The $4.5 million in funding will add to the state’s currently small number of cameras, which are strategically located in wildfire-prone areas throughout the state. Through the use of AI, the system will be able to detect fires at any time of the day or night.

October 2022: Oregon University announced its participation in a $20 million effort to develop artificial intelligence solutions for the agricultural industry. Researchers from the university’s College of Engineering are part of the AgAID Institute, a multi-university partnership that was created to develop AI tools that will address pressing agricultural challenges like climate change and a diminishing labor pool. Their work seeks to identify the best way to allow AI/robotics technology to help humans make complex decisions. Oregon State’s team will take the lead on the institute’s fundamental and applied research in AI, robotics, and human factors. They’ll also work alongside agricultural researchers, farmers, ranchers, and others engaged in the growing and harvesting agricultural commodities.

February 2023: The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative announced that it had developed and patented an AI-based counting system for returning bottles. Called Smart Count AI, this technology features an AI-based neural network and specialized software system to rapidly count and process the twelve million-plus beverage containers returned by Oregonians each year as part of the Green Bag program.

March 2023: The Oregon City Public Works department announced it would begin utilizing an AI tool to identify and mark the location of potholes. Attached to any city vehicle, the technology, called CityRover, scans the road as the vehicle moves, identifying potholes and relaying the information to a database that includes precise mapping for use by city staff.

From academia to industry, Oregon is where individuals and organizations are working to create and implement artificial intelligence in brilliant and inspiring ways. This growing, interdisciplinary field needs scientists, engineers, data analysts, business professionals, and more at the helm of what is next to come. Fortunately, a growing number of AI undergraduate and graduate degrees in artificial intelligence, both in Oregon and throughout the country, are ready to prepare the next generation of professionals with the knowledge and skills to create and implement AI technologies and tools designed to impact nearly every segment business, industry, and society.

The Future of Humanoid Robots Comes to Salem

reaching out to aiHuman-like robots are making their debut in Salem.

In September 2023, Agility Robotics announced the construction of a new factory in Salem to mass produce humanoid warehouse robots.

The 70,000-square-foot facility, which the company calls “RoboFab,” will produce bipedal humanoid robots that are engineered to move and work alongside humans in warehouses and factories. Once complete, the factory will compete with companies like Tesla, which is working on its Optimus initiative.

The robots, called Digit, are able to balance themselves while lifting, moving, and sorting. They can traverse stairs, fit into small spaces, move materials on and off conveyor belts and pallets, and more, often performing work deemed too dangerous or challenging for humans. Agility Robotics envisions these robots will act as “robotic co-workers,” where they safely and autonomously work in factories alongside humans.

The company will be able to produce more than 10,000 robots a year and employ more than 500 in this facility. The manufacturing facility will be located about 30 miles from the company’s engineering center in Corvalis.

AI Jobs in Oregon

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for AI scientists and researchers in Oregon are projected to rise by 27 percent in the decade leading up to 2030. During this ten-year period, 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.

According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce, Oregon’s tech employment totaled nearly 140,000 as of 2022. About 8,000 tech businesses call Oregon home, representing an economic impact of $28.6 billion. According to CompTIA, tech jobs here grew by 3 percent between 2021 and 2022, which represents 4,047 jobs. They project that tech jobs in the state will grow by 2.8 percent between 2022 and 2023, representing another 3,866 jobs.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Portland, Hillsboro, Salem, and Corvallis

Oregon’s professionals are machine learning engineers, software architects, computer vision engineers, data scientists, and more. They’re solving problems and unearthing solutions in nearly every industry, making the impossible somehow possible and changing the trajectory of technology at every turn.

AI Companies in Corvallis, Portland, and Bend

From emerging startups to established leaders, Oregon’s AI companies are reimagining processes, procedures, methods, and practices in business and industry. They’re reimagining how companies operate, reach customers, solve problems, improve sustainability efforts, and more.

For example, BigML in Corvallis was founded in 2011 with the mission of bringing machine learning to the masses. This AI company’s programmable and scalable machine learning platform can solve and automate a variety of tasks to help analysts, software developers, and scientists solve end-to-end ML tasks and transform data into actionable models that are used to make predictions.

Lake Oswego’s Vesta is a leading fintech company that’s focused on guaranteed e-commerce payment solutions. Their data science and machine learning capabilities have allowed their platform to become a leader in this field. It now guarantees more than $18 billion in transactions annually.

And Amplion, located in Bend, is home to the Amplion Intelligence Platform, which leverages proprietary machine learning and annotation to provide evidence-based insights for life sciences team in precision medicine settings.

AI startups like Portland’s Shelpful, which uses AI to help clients manage tasks and stick to self-improvement programs, are also garnering plenty of attention in Oregon. In fact, in December 2023, Shelpful announced that it landed $3 million in funding from OpenAI CEO’s Sam Altman.

At the same time, Oregon’s big universities are busy making waves in AI R&D. Oregon State University’s Artificial Intelligence and Robotics research group (AIR), which is part of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is where 33 research faculty engage in collaborative, interdisciplinary research. Some of the areas of AI research include automated decision making and control; machine learning and data mining; computer vision; natural language processing; and robotics.

In October 2022, the university announced the development of a $200 million AI supercomputer center. This 150,000-square-foot center, which is slated to open in 2025, will work to accelerate research in the school’s top-ranked programs of computer science, robotics, climate science, agriculture, oceanography, robotics, forestry, and materials sciences. This center is expected to draw top researchers and monumental research projects to the university in the years to come.

AI Salary in Portland

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), AI scientists and engineers in Oregon, who are categorized by the BLS as computer and information research scientists, earned a median salary of $171,700. Those with little experience earned about $136,510 during this time.

The BLS also reported that AI professionals in the Portland metro area earned a median salary that reflected the state’s median. 

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

Artificial intelligence degrees and certificate programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, serve as both the foundation and the focus for careers in computer science, engineering, data science, and more.

Bachelor’s degrees in AI are where emerging scientists and engineers begin their education, exploring AI theory and practice as it relates to computer science or engineering. These programs are rich in mathematics, with a core that includes linear algebra, calculus, and probability.

While bachelor’s degrees provide a more comprehensive examination of AI, master’s degrees in AI provide an in-depth examination of the field, usually as part of an engineering or computer science degree. Oregon State University offers two master’s degrees in AI through the College of Engineering: an MS in AI and a Master of Engineering in AI. The MS in AI provides a truly interdisciplinary exploration of the field, allowing students here to engage in AI research as it relates to their specific interests. The Master of Engineering in AI provides an industry-focused graduate program for practicing engineers.

Many AI master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs offer options to specialize in specific areas or subfields of artificial intelligence, such as robotics, intelligent systems, data science, cybersecurity, and computer vision.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Corvallis

AI engineering degrees integrate the fundamentals of artificial intelligence and machine learning into the engineering domain. These programs allow students to explore the AI field within engineering constraints.

Oregon State University

College of Engineering
Corvallis, OR

oregon state university

MS in AI (on-campus)

Master of Engineering in AI (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $22,230 ($1,440 per-credit out-of-state)

Only public AI masters’ degrees in Oregon.

Also offers: Graduate Minor in AI and PhD in AI

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.