1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Build Your Career Office Life

The 10 Most (and Least) Stressful Jobs

The 10 Most (and Least) Stressful Jobs
Credit: Crazystocker/Shutterstock

Since they require putting your life on the line every day, it may not be surprising that jobs in the military and public safety again rank among this year's most stressful positions, as new research finds.

For the second year in a row, careers as enlisted military personnel, firefighters and police officers make up three of the top four most stressful jobs, according to CareerCasts's annual Most Stressful Jobs report. Airline pilot also ranks in the top four for the second consecutive year.

Kyle Kensing, online content editor for CareerCast, said many of the factors the company uses to evaluate workplace stress apply to military service, police work and firefighting more than, or at least as much as, any other career. [See Related Story:  Entrepreneurs Share Their Stress-Busting Secrets]

"These include physical demands, on-the-job hazards, environmental conditions, [and] the risk of personal injury or injury to another for whom the worker is directly responsible," Kensing told Business News Daily.

Overall, CareerCast's ranking system considers 11 different job demands that can be expected to evoke stress, including the amount of travel, the growth potential, having 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.

Although they may not include the same physical dangers, jobs that require strict deadlines, like jobs as newspaper reporters and broadcasters, also rank among the most stressful. In addition, those working in the news industry face the fear of lawsuits and a dwindling job market, factors that also keep stress levels high.

Kensing named a common factor shared by some of the jobs on this year's rankings: These professions are crucial to safety and democracy in the U.S.

"Firefighters, military and police officers protect us, and newspaper reporters and broadcasters have a big impact in showing us the truth amidst the trend of 'fake news,'" Kensing said.

Here is the site's ranking for the 10 most stressful jobs of 2017 and their stress scores:

  1. Enlisted military personnel: 72.74
  2. Firefighter: 72.68
  3. Airline pilot: 60.54
  4. Police officer: 51.68
  5. Event coordinator: 51.15
  6. Newspaper reporter: 49.9
  7. Corporate executive (senior): 48.56
  8. Public relations executive: 48.5
  9. Taxi driver: 48.18
  10. Broadcaster: 47.93

If your work does come with a lot of stress, finding ways to deal with it depends on the nature of your job, Kensing said.

"If you work as an airline pilot, spending long stretches packed onto an airplane, a vigorous exercise routine is more fitting than if your stress comes from physical demands, as is the case for a firefighter," Kensing said "No matter your profession [though], speaking with a health care professional can be a critical stress-reliever."

Not all jobs come with the same inherent stress. According to CareerCast's study, a position as a diagnostic medical sonographer is the least stressful job of the year, in part because of its high annual median income of $63,000 and high growth grate of 24 percent.

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

  1. Diagnostic medical sonographer: 4
  2. Compliance officer: 5.73
  3. Hair stylist: 6.71
  4. Audiologist: 7.31
  5. University professor (tenured): 8.17
  6. Medical records technician: 8.57
  7. Jeweler: 8.95
  8. Operations research analyst: 9.02
  9. Pharmacy technician: 9.1
  10. Medical laboratory technician: 10:31

However, just because these jobs have the lowest ratings on this year's list, that doesn't mean those who work in them don't have stress, Kensing said. No job is free from stress, he said.

"All fields have their stresses," Kensing said. "It may come from the expectations placed on you by a client, employer or yourself. The nature of our stresses simply vary."

You can find more details on the methodology CareerCast used to determine its rankings here

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad 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. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.