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

Written by Rebecca Turley

ai in west virginia

Though West Virginia’s tech industry may not garner the attention or fanfare of other states and arguably can’t compete with the likes of Texas, California, or Washington, don’t count out the Mountain State just yet. Fact is, those in the know always keep West Virginia in their sights when it comes to the latest tech innovations like artificial intelligence. Though its heritage was undoubtedly built on the railroad, lumber, and coal mining industries, today’s West Virginia has become a unique dichotomy of both traditional industries and advanced industries like technology and information services.

Artificial intelligence has already made its grand entrance in West Virginia and is now quickly becoming the next big thing, disrupting both traditional and modern industries here and leaving remarkable advances in its wake. From university research facilities to private researchers to government agencies and commercial enterprises, AI is making a name for itself in West Virginia at nearly every turn.

For example, in August 2023, West Virginia announced that it was rolling out an AI-powered experiment that is aimed at road maintenance for the state’s urban and rural roadways. This five-year pilot program will explore how artificial intelligence, when used with sensors, GPS, and LIDAR technology, can be used to help maintain the state’s roadways by identifying and assessing problem areas. The system will be on the lookout for cracks, potholes, drainage problems, and other issues that could affect the safety of the state’s transportation network, which consists of nearly 35,000 miles of roads (the nation’s sixth largest state network of roads).

And in March 2024, West Virginia announced that it was partnering with the health technology firm GATC to create and deploy an AI tool aimed at fighting opioid use. GATC’s platform, called Multiomics Advanced Technology (MAT), uses proprietary AI and machine learning to simulate and predict outcomes for drug experiments. Through MAT, GATC will integrate AI into the state’s pharmaceutical research process to fast track drug development for the treatment of opioid use disorder. This newest AI-powered project builds on the state’s current AI projects aimed at communication and fraud detection.

West Virginia has provided the foundation for outstanding opportunities in artificial intelligence. Now it’s your turn to earn the bachelor’s or master’s degree in AI that will jumpstart your career or build upon it.

How WVU Researchers Are Using the Power of AI to Fight Medication Errors

row of prescription bottlesMedication errors continue to be a major problem in the U.S. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 7,000 and 9,000 Americans die as a result of a medication error, and the cost of providing care for people after a medication-associated error exceeds $40 billion each year.

But a team of health data scientists at West Virginia University are developing an AI-powered tool to mitigate medication errors. This tool will examine patient records to provide a closer look at medication reconciliation. If the tool detects an inaccuracy, the clinician will receive an alert to examine the medication.

Through the power of AI, the WVU data scientists hope to create a more accurate medication reconciliation practice for patients being discharged from the hospital. Because many patients are under the care of multiple doctors who prescribe different medications, the risk of medication errors increases.

In some hospitals, transition-of-care pharmacists take over the medication reconciliation practice, which has shown a 50 percent reduction in 30-day readmission rates for patients. But the process is time-consuming, with many pharmacists spending about 30-50 minutes reviewing the chart of each discharged patient. The WVU team hopes that through the power of AI, medication reconciliation can be fast tracked and refined, thereby reducing medication errors.

AI Jobs in West Virginia

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for AI scientists and engineers in West Virginia are projected to increase by an impressive 33 percent in the decade leading up to 2030.

These exciting projections for AI professionals align with CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce, which reveals that tech jobs here increased by 4% between 2021 and 2022. Between 2022 and 2023, the state’s tech jobs are expected to increase another 7%. As of 2022, CompTIA reported a total of 20,506 tech jobs in the Mountain State, which represents about 3 percent of the state’s total workforce. They also reported 2,467 tech businesses, which had an economic impact of $2.3 billion for the state.

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Charleston and Weirton

West Virginia’s AI engineers, scientists, analysts, and business professionals are the talent behind some of the state’s leading efforts in artificial intelligence.

AI Companies in Morgantown

West Virginia presents unique and varied opportunities to make your mark in artificial intelligence. It’s home to massive federal agencies like NASA, the DoD, the United States Treasury Department, the United States Department of Justice, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which offer both federal and contracting positions in a wide variety of areas. These federal agencies also often partner with AI companies on exciting, federally funded projects and are a major reason why many AI startups flock to the region. For example:

~ In June 2022, Rank One Computing, a Denver, Colorado-based company behind biometric security-based algorithms used by the U.S. military, law enforcement, and private companies, announced it was opening a new West Virginia office to focus on its growing AI and ML technologies.

~ In May 2023, Pangiam, a leading travel technology company, and West Virginia University Research Corporation (WVURC) announced it was entering a partnership to conduct research and develop new AI, ML, and computer vision technologies for both commercial and government applications. Together they’ll launch Pangiam Bridge, an AI-powered platform for use with customs authorities.

~ In June 2021, Boston-based DataRobot, a leader in augmented intelligence, announced it was opening an office in Morgantown’s Vantage Ventures. The office will focus on its work of democratizing AI. It also has plans to partner with WVU to form a national center in West Virginia to create technology-focused solutions for emergency response and public health in rural areas.

Vantage Ventures, part of WVU’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics, is a VC hub for entrepreneurs and tech startups. Companies here enjoy access to a large network of mentors, talent, industry partners, and academics to help built high-impact, scalable businesses. Some of homegrown AI companies here include Rhetoric, which features an AI platform that analyzes federal and state courts and judges to provide data-driven results and make data-driven arguments, and Wagner Angel Transportation Technology Services Inc., whose AI-powered platform focuses on renovating existing rail/tire bound mass transit systems in the U.S.

AI Salary in West Virginia

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 West Virginia and Online

There’s plenty of buzz surrounding the creation of bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certificate programs to meet the needs of the swiftly growing field of artificial intelligence. For example, in November 2023, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Committee, announced that the federal government (through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) would commit $9 million to fund master’s degree programs in AI and practical machine learning at five schools, including WVU and Marshall University. Programs here will be aimed at developing and securing trustworthy AI and operational cybersecurity.

Many colleges and universities across the country have already begun offering programs aimed at preparing the next generation of AI scientists and engineers. And because many of these programs are offered in online formats, they’re readily available to students, regardless of their geographic location or busy, professional life.

AI bachelor’s degrees provide a comprehensive overview of the field, usually as part of a computer science or engineering degree. These programs feature a strong mathematics core alongside courses in AI theory and practice.

AI master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs provide a more in-depth examination into the field of AI. These programs are also often offered as part of an engineering or computer science degree, although a growing number of colleges and universities have begun offering them as truly interdisciplinary courses of study, drawing from a number of schools and department. Most programs at the master’s level offer students the option to specialize their AI program to better align with their career goals. Just some of the areas of specialization often offered include robotics, computer vision, cybersecurity, augmented/virtual reality, deep learning, and machine learning.

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 March 2024.