33 high-paying jobs for people who don't like stress

Square RootsAgricultural engineers are well-compensated while tending to work in low-stress environments.
  • October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and it’s important to have a job that supports efforts to stay well.
  • There are many jobs that are both well-paid and offer a relaxing work environment.
  • Using data from the Department of Labour and Bureau of Labour Statistics, we found 33 jobs with annual salaries over $US75,000 that also offer a relatively low-stress work situation.
  • Highly ranked low-stress well-paying jobs include material scientists, mathematicians, and geographers.
  • If you’re struggling, call the SAMHSA National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and it is important for people to work in a job that values and supports mental health.

“The workplace can be a key location for activities designed to improve wellbeing among adults,” the CDC wrote in a 2018 guide of mental health at work.

Intense, high-stress jobs where you might face a lot of pressure aren’t right for everyone.

Fortunately, for those who would like to work under more relaxing conditions, there are plenty of high-paying jobs that also tend to offer low-stress work environments.

The Department of Labour’s O*NET Online occupational database includes survey-based measurements of how important various skills, activities, and personal traits are for a particular job. One of the characteristics measured is stress tolerance, which O*NET describes as jobs requiring “accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.”

O*NET scores job characteristics like stress tolerance on a scale from 0 to 100, where a 0 means stress tolerance is not at all necessary for an occupation, and 100 suggests a job with a very high-stress environment.

We ranked occupational groups from most to least stressful using O*NET’s stress tolerance score, with lower scores indicating less stressful jobs. Since we are interested in high-paying jobs, we looked at occupations with average annual salaries of at least $US75,000, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics data for May 2019, the most recently available release.

Several of the jobs fell in academia, with postsecondary teachers in various fields and researchers in economics, statistics, mathematics, and materials science dominating the top of the list.

Here are 33 high-paying low-stress jobs, ranked from most to least stressful, and by average annual wages in the event of a tied stress tolerance score:


33. Optometrists

Peathegee Inc/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 70

Average annual salary: $US122,980

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine eyes and treat conditions and diseases.


32. Technical writers

Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $US76,860

What they do, according to O*NET: Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.


31. Environmental scientists and specialists

Gary Kazanjian/AP

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $US77,940

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research or perform investigations for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population.


30. Financial examiners

PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $US92,330

What they do, according to O*NET: Enforce or ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing financial and securities institutions and financial and real estate transactions.


29. Art directors

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $US109,600

What they do, according to O*NET: Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media, such as print, broadcasting, and advertising.


28. Ship engineers

Igor-Kardasov/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $US79,540

What they do, according to O*NET: Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ships.


27. Postsecondary mathematical science teachers

Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $US86,330

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in maths, statistics, and actuarial science.


26. Postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers

Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $US88,970

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in philosophy, religion, and theology.


25. Geoscientists

Adwo/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $US108,350

What they do, according to O*NET: Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth.


24. Petroleum engineers

Larisa Rudenko/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $US156,780

What they do, according to O*NET: Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs.


23. Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $US97,170

What they do, according to O*NET: Represent and promote artists, performers, and athletes in dealings with current or prospective employers.


22. Agricultural engineers

Square Roots

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $US98,290

What they do, according to O*NET: Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems.


21. Computer hardware engineers

Associated Press

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $US123,030

What they do, according to O*NET: Research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment.


20. Orthodontists

Master Video/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $US230,830

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies.


19. Computer and information research scientists

Maskot/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual salary: $US127,460

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.


18. Postsecondary geography teachers

Kachor Valentyna/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual salary: $US86,540

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in geography.


17. Environmental engineers

Moof/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual salary: $US94,220

What they do, according to O*NET: Research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines.


16. Epidemiologists

Reuters/Maria Armas

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual salary: $US78,290

What they do, according to O*NET: Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes.


15. Statisticians

Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual salary: $US95,680

What they do, according to O*NET: Develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organise, interpret, and summarize numerical data to provide usable information.


14. Economists

SmartPhotoLab/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual salary: $US116,630

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy.


13. Biomedical engineers

Tom Robertson/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 63

Average annual salary: $US97,090

What they do, according to O*NET: Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products.


12. Postsecondary economics teachers

Business Insider

Importance of stress tolerance: 63

Average annual salary: $US119,160

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in economics.


11. Food scientists and technologists

Mark Edward Atkinson/Tracey Lee/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $US76,190

What they do, according to O*NET: Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyse food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein, among other research.


10. Hydrologists

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $US86,330

What they do, according to O*NET: Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters.


9. Materials scientists

Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $US100,430

What they do, according to O*NET: Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials.


8. Physicists

pixelprof/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $US131,080

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


7. Operations research analysts

Pattanaphong Khuankaew / EyeEm/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $US90,600

What they do, according to O*NET: Formulate and apply mathematical modelling and other optimising methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions.


6. Software applications developers

Maskot/Getty

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $US111,620.

What they do, according to O*NET: Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialised utility programs.


5. Chemical engineers

Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $US117,090

What they do, according to O*NET: Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products.


4. Political scientists

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $US120,260

What they do, according to O*NET: Study the origin, development, and operation of political systems.


3. Farm and ranch managers

Lynne Sladky / AP

Importance of stress tolerance: 59

Average annual salary: $US80,360

What they do, according to O*NET: Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms and other agricultural establishments.


2. Geographers

Laurence Dutton/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 59

Average annual salary: $US81,970

What they do, according to O*NET: Study the nature and use of areas of the Earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena.


1. Mathematicians

Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 57

Average annual salary: $US107,280

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research in fundamental mathematics or in application of mathematical techniques to science, management, and other fields.

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