The 44 Least Stressful Jobs of 2017 (Plus the Highest Paying)

Ask most people what they want out of a job and they'll most likely say low stress and high pay. Unfortunately, there's a myth that you can't have both. Either your job pays a lot but comes with long grueling hours and added stress. Or you can have a low stress job that doesn't have a ton of responsibilities or require skills, which results in lower pay. But we're here to tell you that low stress high paying jobs do exist.

Most Americans spend 40+ hours every week at work. Why spend all that time somewhere that fills you with anxiety and stresses you out? Whether it's stressful coworkers, extra responsibilities or a lack of work-life balance, your job shouldn't leave you in a constant state of stress. And you shouldn't have to sacrifice happiness or quality of life to get a job you enjoy.

We looked at data from multiple surveys to determine the best low stress jobs across various industries. Whether you're looking for a complete change in career paths, or just want to find a lower stress job within your current industry, we've got you covered.

Workplace Stress Statistics

There's a reason people are constantly searching for the least stressful jobs in America. It's because we're stressed in our current positions.

But just how bad is stress in the workplace?​

Here are some statistics on workplace stress to give some extra insights.

NIOSH Report

  • 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful
  • 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives
  • 26% said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work”

view the full report

Attitudes in the American Workplace VII

  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job
  • 14% had felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn’t
  • 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress

view the full report

What Makes a Job Stressful?

Before we dive into list of low stress high paying jobs, it's helpful to understand why people are so stressed out at work.

This might be a little different for everyone, but the University of Plymouth did a three year study on the topic and made some interesting discoveries.

While the study was done with workers in the U.K., stress is universal. So you'll likely identify with what they found to be the biggest sources of stress in the workplace:

  • Long hours: This comes down to overload. Researchers found the stress of long hours came from unrealistic deadlines and expectations, being understaffed and workloads that were unmanageable. All of this causes employees to have to work longer hours to keep up or meet expectations.
  • Job security: Worrying about whether or not you'll have a job in the coming months is enough to keep anyone stressed out. People are stressed out about whether their jobs will eventually become obsolete or even if their employer will be around two years from now.
  • Work relationships: Being isolated, aggressive management and harassment are just some of the issues that cause people to be stressed at work. Stressful relationships with coworkers isn't good for employees or employers.
  • Resources and communications: Are you getting the training and resources you need to complete your job or grow? The study found people were stressed about being put in a position to succeed and getting feedback on how they're performing.

This is just a short list of the possible things that cause a job to be stressful.

Stress could be caused by the level of danger involved in a job. For instance, police officers and fight fighters are faced with life or death situations on a regular basis.

Or the amount of responsibility on your plate. Being the CEO of a company that employs hundreds of people can be extremely stressful.

Being a surgeon could literally put someone else's life in your hands.

So how can you avoid this? Consider a change to one of these low stress jobs.

Stress scores calculated by O*Net. Salaries from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Least Stressful Jobs in America

Models

Stress tolerance: 24

Average salary​: $37,240

What they do:​ Model clothes and accessories to market to potential buyers at retail stores, fashion shows or private showings. They may also pose for photos to be used in magazines, websites, ads or other mediums.

Library Technicians

Stress tolerance: 34

Average salary​: $34,200

What they do:​ Assist librarians by helping customers/readers use library catalogs, databases and other materials. They also sort books and other media and provide help to readers when needed.

Agricultural Sorters

Stress tolerance: 37

Average salary​: $23,260

What they do:​ Grade, sort or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color or condition.

Door-To-Door Sales Workers

Stress tolerance: 51

Average salary​: $26,160

What they do: Sell products or services door-to-door or on the street.

Archivists

Stress tolerance: 52

Average salary​: $53,880

What they do: Appraise, edit and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

Remote Sensing Scientists

Stress tolerance: 52

Average salary​: $98,240

What they do: Apply remote sensing principles and methods to analyze data and solve problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning or homeland security. May develop new sensor systems, analytical techniques or new applications for existing systems.

Food Scientists

Stress tolerance: 56

Average salary​: $72,030

What they do: Ensure that agricultural establishments are productive and food is safe.

Cartographers

Stress tolerance: 56

Average salary​: $65,410

What they do: Collect, analyze and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs and satellite data.

Upholsterers

Stress tolerance: 56

Average salary​: $33,550

What they do: Make, repair or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.

Mathematicians

Stress tolerance: 57

Average salary​: $112,560

What they do: Conduct research in fundamental mathematics or in application of mathematical techniques to science, management, and other fields. Solve problems in various fields using mathematical methods.

Crop Farmworkers

Stress tolerance: 58

Average salary​: $22,130

What they do: Manually plant, cultivate and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts and field crops. Use hand tools, such as shovels, trowels, hoes, tampers, pruning hooks, shears and knives.

Etchers & Engravers

Stress tolerance: 59

Average salary​: $31,880

What they do: Engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber or other materials. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers and silk screen etchers.

Geographic Information Systems Technicians

Stress tolerance: 59

Average salary​: $87,310

What they do: Assist scientists, technologists or related professionals in building, maintaining, modifying or using geographic information systems (GIS) databases. May also perform some custom application development or provide user support.

Sustainability Specialists

Stress tolerance: 60

Average salary​: $73,480

What they do: Address organizational sustainability issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices and green procurement plans.

Political Scientists

Stress tolerance: 61

Average salary​: $103,210

What they do: Political scientists study the origin, development, and analyze the structure and operation of political systems and trends.

Medical Transcriptionists

Stress tolerance: 61

Average salary​: $35,720

What they do: Transcribe medical reports recorded by physicians and other healthcare practitioners using various electronic devices, covering office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews and final summaries.

Proofreaders

Stress tolerance: 61

Average salary​: $37,690

What they do: Read transcripts to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical or compositional errors. Includes proofreaders of Braille.

Physicists

Stress tolerance: 61

Average salary​: $118,500

What they do: Conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

Astronomers

Stress tolerance: 62

Average salary​: $110,220

What they do: Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.

Economics Professors

Stress tolerance: 62

Average salary​: $106,980

What they do: Teach courses in economics. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Geoscientists (Except Hydrologists & Geographers)

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $105,720

What they do: Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth.

Law Teachers

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $126,230

What they do: Teach courses in law

Barbers

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $28,790

What they do: Provide barbering services, such as cutting, trimming, shampooing and styling hair.

Mapping Technicians

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $44,800

What they do: Calculate mapmaking information from field notes. Draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.

Massage Therapist

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $43,170

What they do: Perform therapeutic massages of soft tissues and joints. May assist in the assessment of range of motion and muscle strength, or propose client therapy plans.

Operations Research Analysts

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $84,180

What they do: Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation or other managerial functions.

Economists

Stress tolerance: 63

Average salary​: $109,230

What they do: Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services.

Actuaries

Stress tolerance: 64

Average salary​: $110,560

What they do: Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty.

Statisticians

Stress tolerance: 64

Average salary​: $84,440

What they do: Use statistical methods to collect and analyze data and help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, the sciences, or other fields.

Computer & Information Systems Managers

Stress tolerance: 64

Average salary​: $141,000

What they do: These workers help determine the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing the appropriate computer systems to meet those goals.

Applications Software Developers

Stress tolerance: 65

Average salary​: $102,160

What they do: Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs.

Judicial Law Clerks

Stress tolerance: 65

Average salary​: $59,910

What they do: Assist judges in court or by conducting research and preparing legal documents.

Ushers

Stress tolerance: 65

Average salary​: $21,060

What they do: Assist patrons at entertainment events by performing duties, such as collecting admission tickets and passes from patrons, assisting in finding seats, searching for lost articles and locating such facilities as rest rooms and telephones.

Self-Enrichment Education Teachers

Stress tolerance: 66

Average salary​: $42,350

What they do: Teach or instruct courses other than those that normally lead to an occupational objective or degree. Courses may include self-improvement, nonvocational and nonacademic subjects. Teaching may or may not take place in a traditional educational institution.

Computer Hardware Engineers

Stress tolerance: 67

Average salary​: $114,970

What they do: Research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.

Hand Sewers

Stress tolerance: 67

Average salary​: $24,980

What they do: Sew, join, reinforce or finish, usually with needle and thread, a variety of manufactured items. Includes weavers and stitchers.

Marine Engineers & Naval Architects

Stress tolerance: 67

Average salary​: $100,090

What they do: Design, build, and maintain ships, including aircraft carriers, submarines, sailboats, and tankers. Marine engineers work on the mechanical systems, such as propulsion and steering. Naval architects work on the basic design, including the form and stability of hulls.

Orthodontists

Stress tolerance: 67

Average salary​: $221,390

What they do: Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.

Art Directors

Stress tolerance: 69

Average salary​: $101,990

What they do: Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions.

Statistical Assistants

Stress tolerance: 69

Average salary​: $44,220

What they do: Compile and compute data according to statistical formulas for use in statistical studies. May perform actuarial computations and compile charts and graphs for use by actuaries.

Optometrists

Stress tolerance: 70

Average salary​: $115,750

What they do: Optometrists perform eye exams to check for vision problems and diseases. They prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses as needed.

Bakers

Stress tolerance: 73

Average salary​: $26,270

What they do: Mix and bake ingredients to produce breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries or other baked goods.

Mail Machine Operators

Stress tolerance: 73

Average salary​: $29,930

What they do: Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Use hand or mail handling machines to time stamp, open, read, sort and route incoming mail. Address, seal, stamp, fold, stuff and affix postage to outgoing mail or packages.

Crossing Guards

Stress tolerance: 77

Average salary​: $27,730

What they do: Guide or control vehicular or pedestrian traffic at such places as streets, schools, railroad crossings or construction sites.

Top Low Stress High Paying Jobs

Below we've outlined the top 10 careers for people looking for low stress high paying jobs.

What qualifies as "high pay" is somewhat subjective and based on where you live and your lifestyle.

For our list, we set a threshold of an average salary of $80,000. ​

  1. Remote Sensing Scientists
  2. Mathematicians
  3. Geographic Information Systems Technicians
  4. Political Scientists
  5. Physicists
  6. Astronomers
  7. Economics Professors
  8. Geoscientists (Except Hydrologists and Geographers)
  9. Law Teachers
  10. Operations Research Analysts

If you're contemplating a career switch, consider any of the 10 in this list, or look through the complete list above.

Remember, you don't have to force yourself to work in a stressful career path if it's making you unhappy.

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