Could AI replace these careers - 10 Irreplaceable Majors 2024

Published on December 13, 2023 · Updated on December 13, 2023

Could AI replace these careers - 10 Irreplaceable Majors 2024

Published on December 13, 2023 · Updated on December 13, 2023

AI Is Changing the World

Technology and innovation have always been with us, and in most cases, their offerings have been initially met with a dubious eye, then eventually adopted. Henry Ford struggled to convince people to give up their horses and buggies, and now we have autonomous cars!

In the last few decades, we’ve seen the introduction of desktop operating systems and the pocket-sized computers that we all carry around in the form of our phones; web browsers, social networks, streaming media, and cloud computing have all become normal parts of our lives. As big a difference as each of these innovations has made, none comes close to the radical way that Artificial Intelligence is going to change the way that things are done.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is broadly understood to be computer systems designed to do things that have traditionally required human intelligence to accomplish. Recent iterations of AI have been built to include remarkable decision-making capabilities, as well as nearly human attributes like visual perception and speech recognition. As the technology is further refined, there is good reason for people to fear that AI will lead to the elimination of jobs normally held by people.

10 Majors Not Being Replaced by AI 

Roy Amara, past president of The Institute for the Future, famously said,

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run, and underestimate the effect in the long run.

While there’s no reason for students entering colleges and universities to fear being replaced by machines, it’s not a bad idea to think carefully about the role that AI is likely to play in the future: Choosing a major and subsequent career that is likely to be AI-proof makes good sense.

Artificial intelligence can make all our lives easier, and can be incorporated into almost every role in order to improve efficiency. But the ten careers listed below are unlikely to be replaced any time soon.

1. Trades 

Trade careers are jobs that require skill, manual dexterity, and problem-solving abilities. Potential professions include plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, construction workers, and welders, all of which require hands-on work on physical structures.

These careers do not necessarily require a college degree, but in most cases, training begins at the community college level and then moves on to an apprenticeship.  Each profession requires a minimum amount of experience that takes years to complete before the individual earns a license, and though not all locations’ requirements are the same, most have established standards that must be met in order to ensure that consumers are provided high-quality work that inspires confidence.

There’s a general consensus that skilled trades will be among the last to be significantly impacted by Artificial Intelligence. This is due to the need for abilities such as hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and flexibility required for most manual labor. Plumbing, construction, and other skilled trade positions also require adaptability, creativity, and troubleshooting skills that Artificial Intelligence is not equipped for.

Though the actual work performed by those in the trades is unlikely to be assumed by Artificial Intelligence, there are certain aspects of the profession where the technology may be useful. AI may be able to anticipate and offer solutions to problems before they occur, or to offer alternative methods better suited to the specific requirements of a project. It also may be used to identify where problems exist in a more efficient and unbiased way than a human can, thus allowing those with the physical ability to address a problem to fix it much more quickly.

To ensure that you are irreplaceable in a skilled trade, it’s a good idea to pursue an education beyond the hands-on work. By earning both your trade’s credentials and a degree in business or management, you will put yourself in a position of being able to both do the work and supervise others, as well as to apply Artificial Intelligence in the most productive way.

2. Healthcare Workers

Healthcare covers a wide range of professions and job titles, including all levels of nursing, respiratory therapists, occupational and physical therapists, radiologic technologists, lab techs, phlebotomists, pharmacists, and others.

Each of these has its own unique programs and educational requirements: some programs can be completed in less than a year at the community college level, while others entail years of study at both the undergraduate and graduate level and hundreds of hours of clinical practice. What all healthcare professions have in common is the need for empathy, compassion, and human kindness, and these are features that Artificial Intelligence will never be able to replicate.

While AI will not be able to replace healthcare workers, that does not mean that it will not play a role in the future of medicine or in healthcare workplaces. Experts say that Artificial Intelligence will actually improve job satisfaction for healthcare workers by eliminating the need to spend time on menial tasks. They anticipate that careful application of Artificial Intelligence’s ability to use predictive analysis to cut down on interruptions or to staff properly will cut down on clinician burnout.

Despite assurances that Artificial Intelligence will not replace human care in healthcare facilities, those in the profession can ensure their value to their organization by continuing to add to their education and expand their skills. Additional certifications and advanced degrees not only guarantee that you stay current on medical innovation, but can also command higher compensation.

3. Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write, modify, and test the code that powers computer software and applications. They can work in almost any industry, whether a company that creates software for others or in internal Information Systems departments to address proprietary needs.

Becoming a computer programmer generally starts with a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology, though many go on to earn additional certifications and advanced degrees.

While computer programming has long been thought of as a future-proof career: professionals have believed that no matter what happened to the economy or technology, there would always be a need for coders. Though the arrival of Artificial Intelligence has led to significant anxiety that even human programmers will become obsolete, the truth is that even AI programs that have been developed to write code need programmers to provide input and direction.

There is no doubt that AI will be able to assist programmers and speed up the work that they do. It will be able to eliminate the need for the more mundane and repetitive tasks that coding currently involves. But even Artificial Intelligence’s ability to “think” requires constant input and training from coders, and the code that it produces will need to be checked by humans.

To ensure your own job security as a coder, it is a good idea to continually add to your skills. Those computer programmers with higher level abilities will be needed to program Artificial Intelligence.

4. Teachers

Teaching has often been called a vocation rather than a profession, with those who choose the career doing so because they are called to do so. Whether you are interested in a degree in early education that prepares you for teaching preschool and elementary-aged children, middle or high school-aged children, college students, or disabled children, the job is rewarding and dedicated individuals are in demand.

No matter what type of teaching you want to do, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in education. If you choose to teach a particular subject to students above the elementary level, you may also need to earn a degree or a double major in that subject area. Teachers are generally required to complete supervised internships that provide in-class experience, and they must be licensed or certified. This usually requires passing either a state exam or the national PRAXIS exams.

There is real potential for Artificial Intelligence to be deployed in the classroom to help teachers by automating repetitive tasks like grading quizzes and by providing instant, personalized feedback to students. But the technology will not be able to create lesson plans that are individualized to classroom dynamics, and it certainly can’t provide the one-on-one interactions with students that make all the difference in education.

Teachers form real bonds with students that cannot be replaced. To increase your value in the classroom, you can pursue and advanced degree — this will likely entitle you to a higher level of compensation. Continuing to demonstrate high levels of compassion and kindness to students, their families, and colleagues are also essential to making yourself an invaluable staff member.

5. First Responders 

The term first responders describes a category of essential professionals who provide emergency care and rescue. They are the people who appear first to administer first aid or respond to different types of emergencies. They include emergency medical technicians and responders, police officers, and firefighters.  Though the training, education, and skills needed for each of these jobs are different, all require the ability to think quickly, problem-solve, and remain calm in the midst of a crisis. They also require strong interpersonal and communication skills that allow them to work with people who may be fearful, angry, in shock, or in pain.

No matter which type of first responder you hope to become, you will need to complete your high school education or a GED program before entering a certifying training program. Firefighters do not require a college degree, but many are expected to complete EMT courses and training in addition to passing a firefighting program: they are also encouraged to earn a degree in fire science.  Many police forces require their officers to earn a bachelor’s degree, as well as to pass other exams and complete on-the-job training requirements.

Though artificial intelligence cannot replace the hands-on care that is provided by first responders, it can certainly be a tool that makes them more effective and efficient. Artificial intelligence can be used to analyze video surveillance cameras, and tools like facial recognition, crowdsourcing, and biometrics can be used to more accurately assess the best response to an emergency and support situational awareness.

Experience, emotional intelligence, and education are the keys to success as a first responder. Whichever of these careers you choose, you can enhance your career by pursuing an advanced education, taking skills classes, and establishing a deeper rapport within your organization and the community at large.

6. Legal Professions 

The inside of a courtroom and the environments that are adjacent to the legal process encompass a variety of professionals, and particularly judges, attorneys, and paralegals. Though each of these jobs have very different educational and experiential requirements and compensation that is significantly different, they have certain shared tasks and responsibilities, specifically researching and reviewing established law and legal precedent.

Paralegals support attorneys in their work by conducting research and analysis and assisting in the production of legal documents, correspondence, and files. They also attend client meetings and work directly with clients. Training to become a paralegal can be done on the job, but formal paralegal training programs are more desirable: they can take as little as 14 weeks to complete, though many paralegals earn associate and bachelor’s degrees as well as national certification. Becoming an attorney requires both an undergraduate degree and completion of law school, which generally takes four years. Judges are generally attorneys who have been appointed to the court based on their years of experience.

Legal professionals have been warned for years that Artificial Intelligence would replace their jobs, yet attorneys, judges, and paralegals continue to thrive. There is no question that AI has taken over some of the more repetitive or monotonous aspects of the job – particularly mining previous legal decisions – and there are significant concerns that AI will take over writing briefs, claims, and arguments, which are among attorneys’ most potent tasks. Still, close analysis has led to the conclusion that while AI may take on some of the legal profession’s administrative work, it will not assume the roles that require judgment and nuance. 

The best way to make yourself irreplaceable in the legal profession is to make sure that your skills are sharp, whether that be through specializations and continuing education in particular practice areas or by making yourself a known and accessible advisor who demonstrates excellent judgment and people skills.

7. Human Resources Managers

Human resources is a rewarding career that supports nearly every organization that hires multiple employees. There are several jobs for which a degree in human resource management prepares you, including HR department manager, payroll specialist, benefits administrator, and training coordinator. Larger organizations may also employ internship coordinators, compensation specialists, employee relations managers, and HRIS specialists.

Most human resource professionals earn a minimum of an undergraduate degree with a major in business, although any major can be applied to the skills needed to conduct interviews, recruit and hire, and serve as liaison between employees and management. People who are dedicated to a career in Human Resources may also choose to pursue an advanced degree such as an MBA in Organizational Management.

Human resources is a career that may be supported by Artificial Intelligence tools such as those that manage employee records, compare employee performance, run payroll processes, or screen resumes for keywords. Still, the automation is limited when it comes to HR’s primary tasks, and studies have shown that when AI is tasked with assessments, it often screens out well qualified candidates. Some Artificial Intelligence tools have even been found to have biases that put companies at risk for discrimination lawsuits.

Human resources professionals who want to build their own job security can do so by investing in further education such as an MBA. Additionally, expanding the scope of your skills and earning a reputation as an empathetic player within your organization will enhance your value.

8. Social Workers

Social work professionals work with children, adults, and families to help them overcome physical, emotional, and mental challenges. Some work with individuals and some with multiple clients within groups, while others focus their efforts on entire communities.  Social workers can work in a variety of settings and with different populations, including in schools, in healthcare, and with people who have substance abuse disorders or mental health problems.

The minimum education for a social worker is an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in social work. With one of these degrees, graduates will be eligible for entry-level positions working in child welfare, as social and human service assistants, as health educators, and as social work case managers.  Those interested in working in a specific field will benefit from earning a Master’s degree in Social Work. Each state has its own requirements regarding licensure for social workers, so it is a good idea to check with your state to see if you need to pass an exam in order to become licensed.

Researchers have determined that Artificial Intelligence can be very useful to social workers: data can be used to predict behaviors such as drug use relapse or for designing the most efficient plans for disaster management, but when it comes to actual human interactions and reaching out to those in need of help, the human touch will also be necessary.

The best way to make yourself irreplaceable within the field of social worker is by earning an advanced degree in an area where there is significant need, and establishing yourself as a trusted and effective resource within the community that you serve.

9. Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers are generally employed in healthcare settings such as hospitals or specialty physicians’ offices, in school settings such as universities, colleges and high schools with robust athletic programs, and working for professional sports teams. They work to prevent, diagnose, and treat muscle and bone injuries.  Similar careers include massage therapists and exercise physiologists.

Though some athletic trainers limit their education to a bachelor’s degree in physiology or athletic training, most earn a Master’s degree before they begin to work professionally. The profession requires licensure and/or certification in many states.

Artificial Intelligence has proven to have real potential for improving athletic performance: its analytic abilities have been proven to successfully optimize and maximize performance by providing valuable insights into the various aspects of an individual athlete’s wellbeing and training.  impactful role in Are there any aspects of the job that AI could replace? Athletic trainers, coaches, and others who work with athletes will find their abilities to help their clients greatly enhanced, but the programs will be unable to replace the one-on-one, hands-on ministrations and guidance of an athletic trainer.

To ensure your value within your career, earn a graduate degree in athletic training and demonstrate your versatility by making sure that you have exposure to demographics beyond sports, to include industrial settings, the performing arts, and even the military or first responder groups.

10. Public Relations

Public relations professionals are responsible for making sure that consumers are aware of and trust a company or organization’s brand. They use strategic communications to support an image or identity, as well as to respond to events. Careers include public relations specialist and market research analysts, as well as positions in public relations management.

Public relations careers generally begin with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, though some job candidates will have majored in English, Psychology, or a similar humanities field. Those who wish to advance into management will benefit from pursuing an MBA.

Public relations firms have found Artificial Intelligence to be an invaluable asset. It automates mundane tasks, can generate high-quality content quickly, and is unbeatable at analyzing data.  This means that it can quickly identify trends and provide insights regarding consumer behaviors and opinions. But no matter how useful a tool AI may be, it cannot replace the human aspects of public relations that make a professional successful. These include building relationships and understanding sentiment or emotion.

Public relations professionals can add to their credentials by earning advanced degrees and by establishing strong relationships with influencers, journalists, and others in the public relations chain.

Which Careers Could Be in Trouble With AI?

While athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, and other fitness and health professionals who work one-on-one with consumers will be fine, people who create and sell online fitness training programs will find themselves struggling in the face of consumers’ ability to create their own personalized workout plans for free with ChatGPT and other programs.

Though in-person trainers are still necessary to help hold people accountable and correct form, those who built and sell training programs online could be facing trouble. ChatGPT can now build personal workout plans based the length of work, desired body parts you want to work, and your personal fitness goals. These programs that are just emailed or sold online to the masses may no longer prove lucrative when AI can build them for free.

If you are a consumer who has called a company for assistance or looked for answers online, you already know that you’re far more likely to be answered by a bot than by a real human being. Because answers about inventory, cancellations, refunds, and returns can easily be answered with Artificial Intelligence, companies are quickly reducing the number of human customer service representatives that they hire.
Enormous operations like Amazon and Walmart are already using robots to retrieve items from storehouse shelves and place them in bins, and that is just the beginning. The technology is also able to calculate and track inventory, restock shelves, and more.
The staff that answers an organization’s phones and transfers calls is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Artificial intelligence is able to answer multiple calls at once, recognize speech and respond to it, route calls, take messages, and more.
Artificial Intelligence is able to improve the current electronic health records in a single interface that is automatically completed and auto-populated with input from the clinician and the patient, eliminating the need for coders and others to enter ICD-9 codes or to retrieve records.