How Much Do AI Researchers Make?

Written by Adam Morris

Updated August 4, 2023
Male and female researchers facing each other with graphs on screen on background

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an evolving field that offers numerous career prospects and technological advancements. The industry is continuously growing, developing, and generating employment opportunities. But, what about the salaries of AI researchers? Are they as high as their demand and expertise?

Artificial intelligence is increasingly being integrated into different industries such as healthcare, finance, and technology. As a result, there is a rise in the demand for AI researchers who can apply machine learning and data analytics to enhance business processes.

However, with the high demand comes the question of how much these professionals are actually making.

In this article, we will explore the average salary range for AI researchers across different industries and years of experience. The factors that affect compensation in AI, including education level, years of experience, and company size, will be explored. For those interested in AI careers or salary information, continue reading.

What Is An AI Scientist?

An AI Scientist is an expert in the field of artificial intelligence, which involves the use of algorithms to enable systems to exhibit human-like behavior or thinking. This makes their work applicable to many different sectors, such as healthcare, banking and automotive.

Vector illustration of man facing human sized screen with colorful graphs

AI scientists utilize mathematical principles, statistical analysis, and programming languages to create algorithms that can decipher intricate data sets for the purpose of making predictions or decisions. Their responsibilities often include enhancing existing systems and facilitating their advancements to achieve greater speed, efficiency, and intelligence.

Individuals with expertise in AI have a variety of career paths available to them depending on their preferences.

Common roles include research scientists focusing on development and innovation, software engineers working on the high-level implementations of the technology developed by scientists, and data analysts responsible for collecting and comprehensively studying large datasets used by AI models.

The experience gained from all these jobs is invaluable for people interested in entering the world of artificial intelligence as it provides skills for their future endeavors.

AI Scientist vs AI Engineer vs ML Engineer

AI scientists, AI engineers, and Machine Learning engineers are all vital contributions to the growth of artificial intelligence. AI scientists are experts in developing algorithms that solve complex problems or enhance the accuracy of existing solutions.

They specialize in identifying meaningful patterns in large datasets and crafting algorithms that can effectively utilize the insights found within them. These algorithms are then used by AI engineers to develop tools for training and deploying AI models for solving a given task.

ML Engineers also work closely with both AI scientists and engineers. Their primary focus is on researching how various machine learning models might be best implemented within an application or system. This research may involve understanding how different architectures, such as convolutional neural networks, respond differently to various data inputs or criteria.

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In addition to their research duties, they must also perform tests on the effectiveness of new models prior to deploying them into production environments. Ultimately, ML engineers play an important role in ensuring AI solutions are performed accurately and efficiently so users can have access to reliable results when needed.

AI Engineers are focused on making sure these tools developed by specialists are working correctly, efficiently and bug-free for easier use by other teams. They don’t necessarily need to be experts in advanced mathematics – rather their job is more focused on setting up systems that allow teams members to enable the use of these tools without technical difficulties hindering them.

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ML Engineers tend to focus on ensuring that machine learning models already developed by AI Scientists perform optimally; their main purpose is then overseeing data pipelines so that frequently used models don’t slow down progress or provide inaccurate results.

AI Engineer Salary by Location

Metropolitan areas such as New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Boston and Chicago typically provide AI engineers with higher salaries to compensate for the increased cost of living. But this can also present a challenge for employers who must factor in experience levels when applying location-based salaries.

Location-specific salaries can become inherently unjust if they do not adequately consider merit or skill level, which could prove damaging to the employee’s long-term career trajectory.

AI engineer salaries by industry

Salaries generally vary by industry, with tech and finance companies offering some of the highest wages. Technology in particular demands a high degree of competency and as such employers are often willing to pay top dollar for AI engineers that can help develop groundbreaking solutions.

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In contrast, lower salaries can be expected in less competitive markets such as healthcare and retail, where the need for AI engineers is lower compared to other industries. However, even within these fields there is still likely to be variability in salaries depending on the individual’s skillset and experience.

AI engineer salaries by experience

As an AI Engineer, your experience plays a significant role in determining how much money you earn. For example, those with two to four years of experience as an AI engineer or senior AI engineer average annual compensation of $137,368 – according to Glassdoor research.

This figure skyrockets for Lead Engineers and Principal Machine Learning Engineers; the former earns around $139,246 with 5-7 years’ worth of expertise while the latter make upwards of $148,879 after 8+ years. The most well-remunerated position is Director of Machine Learning at a hefty salary amounting up to 153K per annum!

AI Scientist Job Role

The AI Scientist job role is becoming increasingly prevalent as the demand for machines to think and act more efficiently grows. AI Scientists are pivotal in crafting, executing, and evaluating advanced artificial intelligence systems that respond to business objectives.

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To do this effectively they must be intimately familiar with how humans perceive information, leveraging hefty datasets while developing algorithms and ensuring system efficacy.

This role necessitates a highly developed skill set including comprehensive understanding of mathematics, coding languages like Python & Java, along with specialized expertise in math modeling & optimization algorithms plus natural language processing & machine learning.

Additionally, they need to have an exceptional grasp of complex problems like robotics and autonomous vehicles. Therefore a multidisciplinary mindset is essential for AI scientists who understand both the technological aspects of their jobs as well as the social effects. Good communication skills are also a must so AI Scientists can discuss their ideas with other specialists from different domains in order to build effective solutions together.

AI Scientist Roles and Responsibilities

AI scientists are responsible for designing and creating complex algorithms that allow machines to learn, process data and uncover previously unknown patterns. To create their models, they leverage the newest machine-learning technologies and must ensure that these are dependable and precise enough to operate in real-world scenarios.

AI scientists typically work in software development environments, using such tools as Python or R scripting languages. Moreover, they might also use TensorFlow to train their models which can be immensely complex.

In addition to the technical aspects of their role, the AI scientist will require close cooperation with data science teams who collect and prepare the data before it is entered into the model for processing. This may involve preparing datasets for efficient downstream analysis or training AI models to achieve desired performance goals.

It is incumbent upon them to maintain a high degree of accuracy when dealing with sensitive data so as not to incur any unwanted risks or ethical harms through negligence.

AI Scientist Skills

To achieve success as an AI Scientist, more than just skills with technology is necessary; the capacity to think analytically and tackle complex dilemmas are essential. To be successful in this profession, you must possess exquisite communication capabilities that allow for clear and concise explanations of your work to other scientists, managers and clients.

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Furthermore, expertise in machine learning together with proficient knowledge of data science techniques such as feature engineering, model selection, validation & hyperparameter tuning; deep learning & neural networks experience; a well-rounded comprehension on building distributed systems which can train models rapidly all play an integral role.

The dedicated researcher should also be patient to invest the time required for creating a successful Artificial Intelligence system and be able to work towards a goal by trial-and-error methods even when there may not seem to be an immediately available solution.

Ultimately, creativity is key when approaching AI research as there are multiple potential paths researchers could take towards their intended outcome. By using their understanding of existing theories along with their critical thinking skills, AI scientists can continually strive to produce something that will benefit people long into the future.

AI Scientist Salary

Artificial Intelligence Scientists in the United States are highly sought after due to the incredibly high demand for workers with this skill set.

In the US, AI Scientists receive a considerable yearly salary of $138,854 on average, which is among the most lucrative salaries for a scientific position. Generally, salaries range between $72,924 to a staggering $217,510 per annum. With the average median salary around the vicinity of $112,554 annually – it’s no surprise many professionals seek higher pay through this lucrative job market!

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However, competition for these positions is fierce due to such high desirability and potential earnings. To reach the premier status of these esteemed scientific professionals, one must possess a Doctorate or higher degree in areas including electrical engineering and computer science, as well as masterful coding proficiency.

Those with specializations and experience operating with Machine Learning are even more likely to be offered top-paying roles given their expertise which is highly sought after among employers.


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have revolutionized the landscape of technology, requiring professionals to be agile in order to take full advantage. As these complex systems develop further, it is more essential than ever for those in the field to master their capabilities.

This is why Purdue and IBM have partnered to create The Professional Certificate Program in AI and Machine Learning, a six week long program designed to help individuals expand their knowledge on this cutting-edge field. Through this course, you can join the ranks of professional data scientists and transform your skillset for the future.

Upon completion of this course, students will have obtained a solid understanding of AI and ML principles that can be practically applied. Moreover, you’ll have an edge over your competitors by boosting your job qualifications – giving yourself a leg up on career growth! With this course, reaching the next level of success is easier than ever before! So don’t wait any longer; get started today on your journey towards becoming an AI/ML expert!


Are Artificial Intelligence researchers in demand?

As Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies rapidly evolve, demand for experienced researchers in these fields has grown exponentially.
Many companies are seeking the assistance of experts in the fields of AI and ML to develop advanced algorithms that can enhance their business operations. The technology, finance, healthcare, and transportation industries are particularly interested in hiring AI researchers due to high demand.
As AI technology advances, professionals with specialized computer science and mathematics proficiency as well as data analysis acumen are becoming increasingly elevated in demand. Moreover, both governmental entities and research organizations have also heavily invested into AI investigation thus generating more openings for experts within the field of artificial intelligence. AI researchers are in high demand and are expected be for the foreseeable future.

Adam is a crypto expert & AI enthusiast who has been researching and writing on the topics since 2017.

He’s spoken on numerous podcasts and has been featured in many prominent media publications such as Forbes, CNN & CNBC.