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How Vulnerable Is Your Job to Automation?

Not all of the jobs at risk for automation are low-skill and low-paying, according to a recent report by Ball State University.

(TNS) — CLEVELAND, Ohio — Training and education may not be enough to robot-proof your job, a recent report dealing with the impact of automation and offshoring on job loss shows.

The 10 jobs most vulnerable to automation include mathematical science occupations and insurance underwriters, according to a Ball State University study. A college degree is usually required for these occupations, both of which have median annual salaries of more than $65,000.

Many of the other top 10 jobs most vulnerable to automation pay less and don't require the same level of education.

However, all on the list have something in common, according to "How Vulnerable are American Communities to Automation, Trade and Urbanization?"

"The study found that low risk of automation is associated with much higher wages, averaging about $80,000 a year," states a news release on the report. "Occupations with the highest risk of automation have incomes of less than $40,000 annually."

Only one of the jobs least at risk of automation — occupational therapist — paid about $80,000 a year, according to the updated report released last week, but published in June.

Like most of the other robot-proof jobs, occupational therapist is a "high touch" occupation, or one in which direct interaction with clients and/or colleagues is routinely required. Most of the least vulnerable jobs are in health care and related fields.

The study looked at communities throughout the United States that are most at risk of job loss due to automation. No Ohio counties made the top 25 list. Ranking first was the Aleutians East Borough, Alaska followed by Quitman County, Georgia and Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska.

"Automation is likely to replace half of all low-skilled jobs," said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research, in the release. "Communities where people have lower levels of educational attainment and lower incomes are the most vulnerable to automation. Considerable labor market turbulence is likely in the coming generation."

The report also looked at jobs most at risk of being off-shored. Several of them had median annual salaries in the $80,000 range or higher. They included: computer programmers ($79,530), computer and information research scientists ($80,110), actuaries ($97,070), mathematicians ($111,110) and statisticians ($110,620).

One in four of all U.S. jobs will be at risk of being lost to foreign competition in the coming years, the report says.

The report incorporates research on automation and offshoring published in recent years, as well as an analysis of government and other data.

Top 10 jobs most vulnerable to automation

1. Data entry keyers. Annual median wage is $29,460

2. Mathematical science occupations, $66,210

3. Telemarketers, $23,530

4. Insurance underwriters, $65,040

5. Mathematical technicians, $46,600

6. Hand sewers, $23,640

7. Tax preparers, $36,450

8. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators, $26,590

9. Library technicians, $32,310

10. Watch repairers, $34,750

Top 10 jobs least vulnerable to automation

1. Recreational therapists. Annual median wage is $45,890

2. Emergency management directors, $67,330

3. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers, $63,010

4. Mental health and substance abuse social workers, $42,170

5. Audiologists, $74,890

6. Healthcare social workers, $52,380

7. Occupational therapists, $80,150

8. Orthotists and prosthetists, $64,430

9. Health technologists and technicians, $41,260

10. Hearing aid specialists, $49,600

©2017 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.