The Top 10 Most and Least Stressful Jobs

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Written By Obaid Ur Rehman

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Some jobs are more strenuous than others, and while stress is normal, it can lead to burnout. Check out the most and least stressful jobs.

  • The most stressed-out groups are emergency service workers and enlisted military troops.
  • All stress is not negative. While excessive stress can make it difficult to concentrate, good stress can act as a motivator.
  • More than half of Americans claim that their jobs significantly increase their levels of stress. Diagnostic medical sonographer, compliance officer, and hairdresser are among the least demanding professions.

The fact that professions in the military and in public safety are among the most demanding occupations may not come as a surprise. According to Career Cast’s annual Most Stressful Jobs survey, enlisted military people, firefighters, airline pilots, and police officers are the four most stressful professions for the third consecutive year.

According to Kyle Kensing, online content editor for Career Cast, the military, law enforcement, and firefighting have the highest prevalence of the precise characteristics his firm uses to gauge an occupation’s degree of stress. [Read Related Story: Overwhelmed! Unrealistic Expectations Increase Worker Stress]

Physical demands, workplace dangers, environmental issues, and the possibility of suffering a personal harm or injuring someone else for whom the worker bears direct responsibility are among these considerations, according to Kensing.

The ten most demanding occupations this year, along with their stress levels, are

  1. Diagnostic medical sonographer: 5.07
  2. Compliance officer: 5.76
  3. Hairstylist: 6.72
  4. Audiologist: 7.28
  5. University professor (tenured): 8.42
  6. Medical records technician: 8.52
  7. Jeweler: 9
  8. Operations research analyst: 9.09
  9. Pharmacy technician: 9.19
  10. Massage therapist: 10:39

The average salaries of high-stress jobs that pay well include

  1. Surgeons: $208,000
  2. Lawyers: $119,250
  3. Airline pilots: $121,40

Also Read: 10 Part-Time Jobs with Benefits

What makes a job stressful?

High levels of stress and burnout are caused by a variety of factors, not only the inherently dangerous character of specific occupations. There are more causes for someone to bite their nails at work.

Overall, 11 stressful work requirements were taken into account by Career Cast’s rating algorithm. These elements comprised

  1. The amount of travel
  2. Growth potential
  3. Deadlines
  4. Working in the public eye
  5. Competitiveness
  6. Physical demands
  7. Environmental conditions
  8. Hazards encountered
  9. Risk to one’s own life
  10. Risk to the life of another person
  11. Meeting the public

The physical risks that police officers and firemen confront are not there for newspaper writers or broadcasters, but they nonetheless work under tight deadlines. A further source of stress for people in the journalism sector is the worry about litigation, as well as a shrinking employment market.

According to Kensing, many of the most demanding jobs have something in common: they are essential to American democracy and safety.

In the middle of the trend of “false news,” he stated, “firefighters, the military, and police officers defend us, and newspaper writers and broadcasters have a huge role in presenting us the reality.”

An American Psychological Association poll found that the job is a “major” cause of stress for 61% of Americans. The four factors that have the most impact on employee morale and productivity are micromanaging managers, distant bosses, continual interruptions, and lack of opportunity for advancement. These factors also negatively affect other aspects of the workplace and employees’ personal life.


It wastes a lot of time when every decision and email must be approved by a supervisor before being taken, especially when excellent work can be produced without frequent check-ins. In the initial few months of a new employee’s employment, heightened monitoring could be required, but when it gets ingrained in the workplace culture, it can harm employees’ morale.

Marni Amsalem, a certified psychologist and founder of the health psychology consulting firm Smart Health Psychology, said: “Lack of flexibility surrounding decisions might make you feel confined when it comes to your autonomy.” According to the author, “when [workers] feel overmanaged, it… undercuts their worth and what they can do, and that will lead to friction.” The finest managers will place their staff members in environments where they can succeed and micromanagement won’t be a problem.


Some people enjoy the feeling of being “in the zone” and finishing tasks one after the other. But tiny things like responding to a text message or chit-chatting with a coworker disrupt work, which can put you behind schedule and raise your stress level.

You’ll have more time to stay focused and keep on top of your task if distractions are kept to a minimal.

Lack of communication/no feedback

You can question whether you’re doing a good job if your supervisor gives you no feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. And that persistent anxiety can significantly reduce productivity.

Communication that is honest and transparent on both sides can help clear up any questions or worries. However, if your supervisor isn’t one to give you criticism, checking in with them and asking how you’re doing and where you can improve will make you feel more at ease.

Low salaries/no opportunities for advancement

It might be difficult to work a job that pays poorly for a variety of reasons. Along with the ongoing stress of not being able to pay your bills, employment with low pay and/or limited promotion opportunities make employees feel unappreciated, despondent, and sad.

Bus drivers had the greatest rates of depression (16.2%), followed by real estate salespeople (15.5%), and social workers (14.8%), according to a study that was published in the journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Healthy stress vs. unhealthy stress

It’s true that not all stress is bad; there is a spectrum of stress. According to Amsalem, constructive stress may inspire people to complete daily activities and achieve goals. Unhealthy stress, however, results in a number of issues.

Unhealthy stress

When anxiety dominates your daily thoughts, that’s a sign that the level of stress you’re dealing with is harmful to your health. According to Healthline, Chronic stress is associated with:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune function
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia or tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Missed periods
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Head and stomach aches
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability

The result of persistently attempting to control stress is burnout, which is characterized by mental, emotional, and physical tiredness. Any work that requires interaction with others puts you at risk for burnout. Workers in the emergency services are particularly susceptible. 44% of the 15,000 American doctors surveyed by Medscape said they felt burned out.

How to manage stress

Finding effective techniques to cope with high levels of workplace stress will mostly rely on the nature of your position, according to Kensing.

“A strenuous workout regimen is more appropriate than if your stress comes from physical responsibilities, as is the case for a fireman,” said Kensing. “If you work as an airline pilot, spending extended stretches crammed aboard an aero plane,” he said.

The other three suggestions can help you increase productivity and control unmanageable stress.

Manage your time efficiently

An unfinished to-do list is the most aggravating thing ever, but occasionally it’s not us; it’s the list. Instead of adding the whole project to your to-do list for your next assigned task, think about the project’s scope, then identify the most important components in order of importance and break those components down into smaller, more manageable tasks that may be finished at the end of each day. You may submit projects on schedule, without errors, and without being utterly stressed out if you use this method.

Set boundaries

Work might easily follow you home these days. If we don’t establish clear limits, our phones may keep us confined to the office. Try not to answer any calls or emails that come in on the drive home. It provides you an opportunity to recharge, giving you the energy and focus you need when it’s time to focus on work. By removing your work email from your phone or having a special phone for work that you can turn off at the end of the day.

Find positive responses

Although we can’t completely avoid stress, we can influence how we react to it. Stress is a fact of life. Avoid using harmful coping mechanisms to manage your anxiety, such as resorting to drink or junk food. Exercise or engage in whatever activity makes you feel relaxed, such as doing a crossword puzzle or spending time with loved ones. If complaining to someone about your job makes you feel better, do it. The secret is to find peaceful things to partake in; look into “social, physical, or artistic” outlets, advises Amsalem.

Speaking with a healthcare expert may be a vital stress reliever, regardless of your occupation, according to Kensing.

Least-stressful jobs

A diagnostic medical sonographer has the least stressful work, according to Career Cast research. The profession is expected to rise by 23%, with a median income of $71,410.

These jobs, along with their stress levels, are the least demanding this year:

  1. analyst: 9.09
  2. Pharmacy technician: 9.19
  3. Massage therapist: 10:39 Diagnostic medical sonographer: 5.07
  4. Compliance officer: 5.76
  5. Hairstylist: 6.72
  6. Audiologist: 7.28
  7. University professor (tenured): 8.42
  8. Medical records technician: 8.52
  9. Jeweler: 9
  10. Operations research

However, just because certain occupations have the lowest levels of stress doesn’t mean that those who work in them don’t experience stress, according to Kensing.

All fields have stresses, according to Kensing. It could result from expectations you have of yourself, your job, or clients. The types of stress we experience differ.

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