Guide to Getting an Online Artificial Intelligence Degree

By Evan Thompson
Edited by Sarah Eilefson
Published on September 6, 2023.

  • An online AI degree is a flexible way to gain in-demand skills employers are looking for.
  • Artificial intelligence degrees often teach AI-related subjects such as math, statistics, and computer science.
  • AI workers earn over $131,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s no surprise many people are looking into AI as a potential career path.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing everything, especially the workforce. The World Economic Forum surveyed 803 companies in 2023. They found 75% of companies plan to adopt AI for work-related tasks, while 50% expect it to create job growth.

Getting a degree in AI is one way to gain the AI skills employers want. But not everyone can afford to put their lives on hold for a full-time on-campus education.

An online bachelor’s in artificial intelligence degree is a more flexible option. Online programs offer the same classes taught on campus but with more accommodations.

According to a 2018 study by the University of Texas El Paso, 54% of online students study part-time to fit courses around their personal schedules. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in online classwork.

Here’s your guide to getting an artificial intelligence degree online, including admission rules, curriculum, and career paths.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a replication of human intelligence in machine form. AI can perform tasks, problem-solve, and make decisions like humans.

Businesses, organizations, and the general public widely use AI. Examples of AI in everyday life include:

  • Chatbots
  • Digital voice assistants (e.g., Siri and Alexa)
  • Google Translate
  • Face recognition
  • Smart cars

For businesses and organizations, using AI improves efficiency and reduces costs. AI can streamline workflows and reduce human error.

But to use AI, you need workers who understand it. And to understand and work in AI, you need the types of specialized knowledge you get from an online degree in AI.

What Is an AI Online Degree?

An online bachelor’s in AI is a program teaching AI concepts, techniques, and applications in a virtual learning environment. Online degrees are often self-paced, and students can move through the material at their own convenience.

Some schools have bachelor’s degrees in AI specifically. Others offer AI studies as a concentration with another degree. Examples of online AI degrees include:

Much like traditional programs on campus, online degrees in AI prepare students with the knowledge and skills to work in AI. Students learn core subjects related to AI, such as machine learning, data analytics, and natural language processing.

Online AI students have various resources for learning. They can interact with professors and students on forums, engage in discussions over video conferences, and practice with AI through virtual labs and coding exercises.

Online AI Degree Admissions Requirements

Applicants often need a high school diploma or equivalency exam and a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. But admissions requirements for AI bachelor’s degrees vary by program. The answers also change if you’re a first-year, transfer, or international student.

For example, Kansas State University requires a high school GPA of 3.25, an ACT score of 21, or an SAT score of 1060 or higher for first-year students. Transfer students need a least cumulative GPA of 2.0 on all transfer coursework.

Most college applications need high school transcripts and an application fee. Some also ask applicants to write an essay. Exam scores are sometimes optional.

The key is researching your options to find the right fit. It’s also important to check the accreditation status of your target school.

Curriculum for a Bachelor’s Degree in AI

The curriculum and specific courses for a bachelor’s in AI varies. It may change depending on your degree type, specialization, and school.

But, most students take a combination of core, elective, and general education courses. For example, Carnegie Mellon University’s bachelor of science in AI program includes courses in math, statistics, computer science, AI, engineering, and humanities.

Core courses focus on AI and related subjects like machine learning, data science, and programming languages. They may build a foundation of understanding for AI. At Indiana University, the core courses include:

  • Introduction to AI
  • Introductory Data Science
  • AI Ethics

How Long Does Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in AI Online Take?

Getting a bachelor’s degree online takes 2-6 years of study. Bachelor programs often have 120-course hours. A full-time student takes about four years to finish.

Accelerated programs with a faster pace and heavier workload can speed things up. Online students enrolled part-time, with slower-paced and lighter course loads, take longer.

AI Careers and Salaries

An online bachelor’s in AI prepares you for many roles. A bachelor’s in AI provides a wide breadth of knowledge and experience. Roles in various industries are available after graduation.

Some are in AI, while others are in computer science, finance, and robotics.

Examples of AI and AI-related careers and their average base salaries include:

  • Artificial Intelligence Specialist: $128,633
  • Machine Learning Engineer: $124,882
  • Data Scientist: $99,266
  • Software Engineer: $91,792
  • Robotics Engineer: $91,464

Source: Payscale (as of July 2023)

Is AI a Good Career?

A career in AI is attractive for a few reasons: high demand, competitive salaries, and societal impact.

The World Economic Forum predicts AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025. The median pay for AI workers, counted as computer and information research scientists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $131,490.

Finally, working in AI allows you to work in a field that’s transforming the world. Innovations in AI are drastically improving sectors like transportation, health care, and finance. An AI career can potentially allow you to personally contribute to future innovations.

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