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10 jobs that are safe from robots

In its analysis for The Hechinger Report, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce identified 10 robot-proof jobs, in sizable fields that pay a solid middle-class wage. The analysis was based on information from the O*NET Resource Center and the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2016. Job wages and details are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Best robot-proof jobs requiring a high-school degree but no college

• Automotive body and glass repairs

With a median wage of $40,580, this is among the better jobs that don’t call for education beyond high school — especially now that auto shops are well-ventilated, so that fumes and dust are dispersed. And because this job requires technical knowledge plus problem-solving and customer service skills, it has a low risk of automation.

• Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians

These mechanics inspect and repair the vehicles and machinery used in such growing fields as construction, farming and rail transportation. Employers will hire workers right out of high school, though postsecondary training is an asset. With a median wage of $49,440 and required (and robot-proof) customer service and problem-solving skills and technical know-how, the real downside to this job is that it’s tough, physical and often dirty work.

Best robot-proof jobs requiring a certification or 2-year degree

• Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists

Industry certification in diesel engine repair, or other postsecondary preparation, is strongly preferred for this job. This is physically demanding work, often in noisy repair shops, and it pays a middle-class wage of $46,360. Because this job requires the ability to troubleshoot, deal with customers and handle sophisticated technology such as engine diagnostic software, it rates low for automation risk.

• Line installers and workers

Line workers install and repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables. The job requires a high school diploma, technical certification and on-the-job training, and it can be physically demanding and hazardous. Still, because of the degree of customer interaction, complex problem-solving and critical thinking involved in the job, it is relatively automation-proof and pays $64,190 per year.

Best robot-proof jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or more

A high school teacher in New York helps a student during class. Due to its highly interpersonal nature, high school teaching ranks very low on the automation-risk scale.

A high school teacher in New York helps a student during class. Due to its highly interpersonal nature, high school teaching ranks very low on the automation-risk scale.

• High school teachers

High school teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree and, to work in public schools, a teaching license or certification. The median wage is $59,170 and, with some variation by region, employment in the profession is expected to grow. While there is the big upside of summer and holiday vacations, this advantage is offset by the reality that teachers tend to work evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing lessons. Due to its highly interpersonal nature, high school teaching ranks very low on the automation-risk scale.

• Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists work in settings such as hospitals and schools to help ill, injured or disabled people build the skills needed for everyday life. Demand for the jobs, which pay an average of $83,200, is increasing rapidly: Employment is projected to grow 24 percent in the next decade. This job requires sophisticated reasoning, strong communication skills and high-level problem-solving and decision-making abilities — making it an unpredictable, challenging and thus robot-proof job.

• Special education teachers

Special education teachers work with students with disabilities, from preschool through high school, and earn a median annual wage of $58,980. This job requires a bachelor’s degree and a state certification or license. While some special education teachers receive summers and holidays off, many work year-round. The job’s automation-proof skills include the ability to build strong relationships with students and co-workers, modify curriculum based on students’ needs and assess students’ abilities.

• Aerospace engineers

Investment in redesigning aircraft to be quieter and more fuel efficient is driving job creation for aerospace engineers. With a median annual wage of $113,030, positions require a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related science or engineering field. Workers must possess deep technical knowledge, critical-thinking skills and complex problem-solving abilities, among many other automation-proof skills.

• Nurse practitioners and nurse midwives

Nurse practitioners and nurse midwives need a master’s degree and a state license, at minimum; they must also pass a national certification exam. The average annual wage is $110,930. As Americans age, this job sector is projected to grow a whopping 31 percent in the next decade. Because this job requires a unique and demanding combination of critical-thinking and social skills and adaptability, it ranks low for risk of automation.

• Writers and authors

These jobs — in copy and technical writing, book authorship and other fields — pay a median annual wage of $61,820 and generally require at least a bachelor’s degree. While computer programs are starting to produce simple news articles, the overall threat of a robot penning the next novel you read, or the next advertising jingle you hear, is very low.

Source: HechingerReport

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