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Build Your Career Office Life

The 10 Most (and Least) Stressful Jobs of 2016

The 10 Most (and Least) Stressful Jobs of 2016
Credit: KieferPix/Shutterstock

While most professionals feel some level of job-related stress, new research reveals which careers are the most and least stressful.

Generally speaking, the most stressful jobs in the United States are those that put lives on the line each day, according to CareerCast's 2016 most stressful jobs list. Topping this year's list for the most stressful jobs are enlisted military personnel, whose physical demands, perilous conditions and personal risk are all major factors in the high stress level.

In addition to the numerous military men and women who are killed or injured in the line of duty, many veterans face mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the research, 30 percent of soldiers develop mental health issues within four months of returning home. [Ready to start looking for a job? Check out BND’s job listings page.]

However, although military jobs are immensely stressful, they do offer many benefits, said Kyle Kensing, CareerCast's online content editor.

"While jobs in the military hold inherent risk, they are essential to defending our country, and military salaries provide a comfortable lifestyle with pay and benefits that compete with most civilian careers," Kensing said in a statement.

In addition, firefighter, airline pilot and police officer rank among the most stressful jobs on this year's list. All of these careers carry high levels of stress associated with protecting lives.

The amount of stress employees experience can be predicted, in part, by looking at the typical demands and crises inherent in the job. CareerCast's ranking system for stress considers 11 different job demands that can be expected to evoke stress, including the amount of travel, the growth potential, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, hazards, risk to one's own life, risk to the life of another, and meeting the public.

A high stress score was given if a particular demand was a major part of the job, fewer stress points were given if the demand was a small part of the job and no points were awarded if that demand was not usually required.

Based on the site's ranking, here are the 10 most stressful jobs for 2016 and their stress scores:

  1. Enlisted military personnel: 84.78
  2. Firefighter: 60.59
  3. Airline pilot: 60.46
  4. Police officer: 53.82
  5. Event coordinator: 49.93
  6. Public relations executive: 48.46
  7. Senior corporate executive: 47.46
  8. Broadcaster: 47.30
  9. Newspaper reporter: 46.76
  10. Taxi driver: 46.33

The research found that public relations executives' stress comes from tight deadlines and sometimes having to handle communications in a crisis situation, while event coordinators' stress stems from having to successfully achieve a client's vision for important occasions, such as weddings or national conferences. Broadcasters and newspaper reporters ranked highly because of the stressful deadlines and declining job growth for those careers. [What Stress Really Does to Your Workforce ]

"Stress is unavoidable, no matter your line of work," Kensing said. "However, if you are looking for professions that offer job security, a good hiring outlook and salary, but few physical demands, deadlines and danger, consider low-stress jobs such as diagnostic medical sonographer, dietitian and librarian."

Here are this year's least stressful jobs and their stress scores:

  1. Information security analyst: 3.80
  2. Diagnostic medical sonographer: 4.00
  3. Tenured university professor: 6.94
  4. Hairstylist: 7.47
  5. Medical records technician: 7.55
  6. Medical laboratory technician: 8.98
  7. Jeweler: 9.10
  8. Audiologist: 9.30
  9. Dietician: 10.23
  10. Librarian: 10.58

The study shows that, of the 10 least stressful jobs, most require at least a bachelor's degree. Some of the careers, such as audiologist and tenured university professor, require a graduate degree.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.