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

Written by Rebecca Turley

robotics development lab

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Pennsylvania has become a national model of innovation, ingenuity, and reinvention, evolving from a coal mining and steel producing state to a leader in everything from healthcare to biopharma to biotechnology. Despite being just a few generations removed from its coal heyday, when the state’s mining fueled the industrial growth of the nation, today’s Pennsylvania boasts one of the most diverse economies in the United States where innovation reigns supreme and artificial intelligence is the star of the show.

Pittsburgh has become the epicenter of software, robotics, and machine learning, earning itself a few unique monikers, including Roboburgh and Robotics Row. Since Carnegie Mellon University helped kickstart the field of artificial intelligence all the way back in 1956 (Two CMU faculty members, Herbert Simon and Allen Newell, were part of the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence which, by all accounts, marked the birth of the field.), Pittsburgh has positioned itself as the state’s nucleus of technology, and CMU continues to have some of the most prestigious robotics and artificial intelligence programs in the world.

With renowned academic institutions like CMU and the University of Pittsburgh producing highly qualified talent in the field, the Steel City has attracted some of the top AI companies in the world, including Meta, Microsoft, and Google. Pittsburgh is also a recipient of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, securing $67 million in federal money to advance the development of its robotics cluster.

Pittsburgh is now home to more than 140 AI, robotics, and autonomous technology companies like Aurora Innovation, which acquired rideshare pioneer Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group… Argo AI, which announced a five-year, $15 million sponsored research partnership with CMU in 2019 to study advanced perception and next-generation decision-making algorithms for autonomous vehicles… and Astrobotic Technology, which recently expanded its Pittsburgh headquarters to develop its space robotics technology for lunar and planetary missions.

On the opposite side of the state in the Philadelphia region, world-renowned research universities like the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University are the muscle behind the region’s advances in robotics, delivering the talent and research that’s producing companies like Ghost Robotics, which develops all-weather autonomous four-leg robotics for the military, defense, and security sectors.

Artificial intelligence jobs in Pennsylvania are on the rise, creating unique opportunities to make a name for yourself in the state’s innovation economy. But if you want to become part of this exciting, burgeoning field, you’ll need a solid foundation in AI that only a formal degree program can provide.

Fortunately, many colleges and universities, both in the Keystone State and across the country, are offering undergraduate and graduate AI degrees and certificate programs to meet the growing demand for AI experts at every level and in nearly every industry. Whether you’re new to the field and looking to earn a bachelor’s degree that will provide you with a foundation in AI as it relates to engineering, computer science, data science, or business, or you’re a practicing engineer or scientist who’s looking to specialize your skillset in artificial intelligence or in one of its subfields like machine learning, deep learning, big data, or natural language processing, there’s a degree program designed with you in mind.

How Penn Medicine is Transforming Medical Imaging with Artificial Intelligence

looking at xrayIn January 2024, Penn Medicine announced a new artificial intelligence tool that interprets medical images with superb precision. This new AI tool, called iStar, which stands for Inferring Super-Resolution Tissue Architecture, can analyze gene activities in medical images and provide unique insights into tissue diseases.

According to the UPenn researchers behind iStar, this tool is designed to help clinicians accurately pinpoint and diagnose cancers by providing super-detailed views of individual cells. They anticipate that iStar will be particularly useful when determining if safe margins were achieved in cancer surgeries. This AI tool also can automatically detect tertiary lymphoid structures, whose presence allows clinicians to gauge a patient’s response to immunotherapy. iStar may therefore be useful when determining if a patient would benefit from immunotherapy.

Here’s how it works: a current ML tool called the Hierarchical Vision Transformer breaks down tissue images in different stages and searches for tissue patterns. iStar then analyzes the information gleaned and uses it to predict gene activities. iStar captures the larger tissue structures and then focuses on the smallest tissue images.

The Penn Medicine research team has used the tool to study many types of cancer tissue, and the results were remarkable. iStar could automatically – and quickly – detect cancerous cells that were difficult to detect with the eye. iStar was able to detect the cancerous cells in just nine minutes – extraordinary when compared to the 32 hours it took a similar AI tool to perform the same task recently.

AI Jobs in Pennsylvania

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for computer information and research scientists in Pennsylvania are expected to grow by 17 percent in the decade leading up to 2030.

According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce, Pennsylvania was home to 300,447 tech jobs in 2022, which represented about 5 percent of the state’s total workforce. Pennsylvania ranked ninth in the nation for its number of tech jobs in 2022.

Between 2021 and 2022, CompTIA reported a 3.4 percent increase in the number of tech jobs in the Keystone State, which represents 9,918 jobs. They project that between 2022 and 2023, tech jobs here will increase again by 2.8 percent, which represents another 8,298 jobs.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Harrisburg

From manufacturing to finance to transportation to healthcare, Pennsylvania’s leading industries demand AI engineers and scientists who can design and implement the innovations that drive change.

AI Companies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia

World-class research universities, cutting-edge companies, and strong partnerships between academia, government, and local startups have made Pennsylvania the place to be for artificial intelligence.

Established companies like Pittsburgh’s Duolingo, an online language learning tool that utilizes AI algorithms for a personalized learning experience, are a big part of the AI landscape in Pennsylvania. This global company, which was launched back in 2011, is now a massive enterprise of 500+ employees.

But there are also plenty of newcomers to the AI field, like Freenome, a genetics startup in Philadelphia that’s using the power of AI and genetics to detect multiple types of cancer through blood testing, and FORT Robotics, a Philadelphia startup that’s developing AI-powered safeguards for autonomous machines.


Artificial intelligence research is a powerful force in Pennsylvania’s top universities, forging a landscape that supports the creation of AI-fueled startups.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School coordinates and promotes AI activities across the university. Research here is focused on designing and implementing algorithms that improve business processes and human behavior. Long considered a trailblazer in AI, Wharton continues to explore how AI tools can solve today’s most pressing business problems. The AI at Wharton (AIW) initiative now serves as the flagship center of the Analytics at Wharton (AAW) umbrella.

Support and Funding

An extensive network of angel investors, venture capital funds, and grant programs nurture the state’s talent pipeline and the startups that emerge from its robust R&D efforts:

AI Salary in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), AI professionals in Pennsylvania, who are categorized as computer and information research scientists by the BLS, earned a median salary of $108,550 as of May 2022. Those newest to the field earned about $81,760 during this time.

Both the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro regions reported median salaries for AI scientists and engineers that exceeded the state median, at $115,200 and $140,240, respectively. While the Philly metro area reported a similar salary for AI professionals with little experience – $81,430, those new to the field in Pittsburgh earned significantly more, at $95,530.

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

Pennsylvania’s anchor research universities are doubling down on artificial intelligence, offering esteemed AI programs that are producing a talent pipeline that rivals any state in the nation. There is also a growing number of colleges and universities across the country that are now offering exciting AI programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many of these programs are offered in convenient, online formats, thereby allowing students to earn their AI degrees regardless of their professional commitments or geographical limitations.

Bachelor’s degrees in artificial intelligence provide a comprehensive foundation and overview of AI, usually relating to engineering or computer science. These programs feature a core that includes mathematics courses like linear algebra, calculus, and probability.

Master’s degrees in artificial intelligence may be offered within schools of engineering, computer science, arts and sciences, or even philosophy, which reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Many programs allow students to personalize their program by pulling electives from different colleges and departments within the university.

For example, the University of Pittsburgh’s MS in Intelligent Systems offers a broad, interdisciplinary approach to AI. Students of this program have the opportunity to customize their curriculum to prepare for research in their area of interest.

Many others offer specialization options that allow students to align their degree program with their career goals. For example, Carnegie Mellon University’s MS in AI Engineering features concentration options in biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, information networking-information security, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. CMU also offers an online Graduate Certificate in AI Engineering Fundamentals – Mechanical Engineering.

CMU also offers an MS in AI and Innovation, which features a comprehensive curriculum that explores the AI subfields of machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing, and deep learning. This program also features a business core that includes study in areas like market intelligence, intrapreneurship, and entrepreneurship.

Similarly, the University of Pennsylvania offers an MS of Engineering in Robotics with a specialization in AI and Machine Learning. This program includes courses like machine learning, vision & learning, integrated intelligence for robotics, and principles of deep learning.

AI Robotics Degree and Certificate Options in Philadelphia

AI robotics master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs explore the science and technology of robotics, vision, perception, automation, and machine learning. These programs provide a solid foundation for careers in engineering and computer science and in industries like aerospace, automative, and industrial automation.

AI Computer Science Degree and Certificate Options in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

AI computer science master’s degrees and certificate programs provide students with a rigorous examination of the theories and applications of deep learning and artificial intelligence. These programs include study in areas like machine learning, computer visions, and language processing.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

AI engineering master’s degrees and certificate programs offer an exploration of artificial intelligence from an engineering perspective.

Carnegie Mellon University (Private)

College of Engineering/School of Computer Science
Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University

MS in AI Engineering (on-campus)

Offered with concentrations in:

MS in AI and Innovation (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $147,420

Graduate Certificate in AI Engineering Fundamentals-Mechanical Engineering (online)


Total Estimated Program Cost: $16,968

Also offers: MS in Intelligent Information Systems

University of Pennsylvania

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Philadelphia, PA

university of pennsylvania

MS of Engineering in Robotics-Specialization in AI and Machine Learning (on-campus)

Also offers:

Total Estimated Program Cost: $78,660

Total tuition comes in at $34,380 below the state average for similar programs.

University of Pittsburgh

School of Computing and Information
Pittsburgh, PA

university of pittsburgh

MS in Intelligent Systems (on-campus)

Total Estimated Program Cost: $33,120 ($1,891 per-credit out-of-state)

Only public AI master’s degree in Pennsylvania.

Also offers: Major in Computer Science with an AI focus and PhD in Intelligent Systems

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 February 2024.