A N.C. Community College is One of the First in the Country to Offer Artificial Intelligence Associate Degree

A N.C. Community College is One of the First in the Country to Offer Artificial Intelligence Associate Degree

Friday, October 15, 2021 - 5:36pm

Wayne Community College to Graduate Program’s First Students in 2023

RALEIGH – The N.C. State Board of Community Colleges today approved North Carolina’s first and one of the country’s first associate degree program specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). The program will be offered at Wayne Community College with classes starting this fall and with the first students to graduate in 2023.

The program is intended to address the emerging shortage of individuals prepared for artificial intelligence careers in the service area of Wayne Community College, as well as North Carolina. Students enrolled in the programs may be qualified for work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities to enhance their learning during their studies. 

Course work includes various subject areas related to AI fundamentals, machine learning, deep learning theory and hands-on training in multiple AI domains for the purpose of creating and implementing artificial intelligence across a broad range of applications. Graduates may qualify for entry-level AI positions such as AI engineer, AI project manager, AI researcher, AI consultant, AI architect, conversational AI specialist, AI automation engineer, AI software engineer and machine learning specialist.

AI is an evolving area of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that covers the theory and development of technology to simulate thinking, draw inferences according to context, discover meaning, reach conclusions based upon experiences, and make decisions by using complex and dynamic data.

"Artificial Intelligence is no longer science fiction. It is here and now, from Siri and Alexa and your spam filter to self-driving cars and chess-playing computers, and those are just the tip of the tech iceberg," said Dr. Patty Pfeiffer, president, Wayne Community College. "Thanks to top-notch faculty, Wayne Community College has launched an Artificial Intelligence Engineering program that will teach students to develop and implement processes that will make life not only easier, but better and safer."

“Delivering a highly-skilled and trained workforce in as little as two years is the heartbeat of our community colleges,” said Thomas Stith, president, N.C. Community College System. “The educational opportunities provided through our state’s Community College System will help North Carolina produce the workforce needed and stay competitive in the global marketplace.”

AI is an emerging technology that is expected to expand to touch all organizations and is predicted to grow into a $118.6 billion industry by 2025.

  • 71% of executives say AI and machine learning are game-changers.
  • 75% of businesses say AI will allow them to move to new ventures and other businesses.
  • 79% of executives say AI will make work easier and more efficient.
  • 78% of brands have already or are planning to implement AI.
  • 54% of executives say AI tools have boosted productivity.
  • 83% of businesses say AI is a strategic priority for their business today.

As of September 4, 2021, more than 17,500 remote AI job openings were posted on “ziprecruiter.com” employment site, with an average salary of $125,818.

Learn more about Wayne Community College's AI program.

[1] Wayne Community College Information Systems Technology Department chair, programs an NAO Power V6 robot. The robot will be used in the Machine Learning I course in the new Artificial Intelligence and Automation Programming major that will start this fall at the college. [2] Emerging Technology Instructor Cynthia Kaye works with an AWS DeepRacer. The car allows programmers to learn about and deploy "reinforcement learning," an advanced machine learning technique that will be taught in Wayne Community College's new Artificial Intelligence and Automation program.