41 jobs to avoid if you hate stress

  • Certain jobs are much more prone to stress than others.
  • Careers in medicine and law enforcement tend to be high-stress, along with customer service roles like telephone operator or event planner.
  • Roles that deal in mental health, like social work and psychiatry, are also high-stress.

Do you crack under pressure? Crumble when you’re stressed? If so, you’d be better off pursuing a career in science or education than you would in healthcare or law enforcement.

Using data from the Occupational Information Network(O*NET), a US Department of Labor database full of detailed information on jobs, we found the 41 professions you should avoid if you really don’t like stress.

O*NET rates the “stress tolerance” for each job on a scale from zero to 100, where a higher rating signals more stress. To rate each job, O*NET looks at how frequently workers must accept criticism and deal effectively with high stress at work.

The following are jobs that earned a stress tolerance rating of 93 or higher. We’ve also included how much they pay, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you’re the type of person who thrives under pressure or can stay cool, calm, and collected in high-stress situations, these jobs may be perfect for you. If you’re the crack-or-crumble type, you may want to avoid them:


Umpires, referees, and other sports officials

They officiate at competitive athletic or sporting events.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017): $US26,800


Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor

They counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017): $US46,740


Respiratory therapist

They assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US59,710


Residential advisor

They coordinate activities in residential facilities in secondary and college dormitories, group homes, or similar establishments.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US26,830


Psychiatric aide

They assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US27,110


Police patrol officer

They patrol assigned area to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, control crowds, prevent crime, and arrest violators.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US61,050


Nurse midwife

They diagnose and coordinate all aspects of the birthing process, either independently or as part of a healthcare team.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US100,590


Municipal firefighter

They control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US49,080


Lodging manager

They plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that provides lodging and other accommodations.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US51,800


Funeral service manager

They plan, direct, or coordinate the services or resources of funeral homes. Includes activities such as determining prices for services or merchandise and managing the facilities of funeral homes.

Stress tolerance: 93.3

Average annual salary (2017):$US78,040


Clinical psychologist

They diagnose or evaluate mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests, and formulate and administer programs of treatment.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US75,090


Child, family, and school social worker

They provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children.

Stress tolerance: 93.3

Average annual salary (2017):$US44,380


Agent or business manager of artists, performers, or athletes

They represent and promote artists, performers, and athletes in dealings with current or prospective employers.

Stress tolerance: 93

Average annual salary (2017):$US64,940


Probation officer and correctional-treatment specialist

They provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US51,410


Ship pilot

They command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, straits, or sounds, or on rivers, lakes, or bays.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US70,920


Patient representative

They assist patients in obtaining services, understanding policies and making health care decisions.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US32,890


Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

They perform surgery and related procedures on the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions to treat diseases, injuries, or defects.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US208,000+


Mental health counselor

They counsel with emphasis on prevention and work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US46,740


Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse

They care for ill, injured, or convalescing patients or persons with disabilities in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private homes, group homes, and similar institutions.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2018):$US45,030


General internist

They diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2018):$US192,930


First-line supervisor of police officers and detectives

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US87,910


Education administrator (preschool and childcare center/program)

They plan, direct, or coordinate the academic and nonacademic activities of preschool and childcare centers or programs.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US46,890


Correctional officer and jailer

They guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institutions in accordance with established regulations and procedures.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US43,540


Chief executive

They determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US183,270


Art therapist

They plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients’ physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US47,680


Advanced practice psychiatric nurse

They provide advanced nursing care for patients with psychiatric disorders. May provide psychotherapy under the direction of a psychiatrist.

Stress tolerance: 94

Average annual salary (2017):$US70,000


Phlebotomist

They draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research.

Stress tolerance: 95

Average annual salary (2017):$US33,670


Meeting, convention, and event planner

They coordinate activities of staff, convention personnel, or clients to make arrangements for group meetings, events, or conventions.

Stress tolerance: 95

Average annual salary (2017):$US48,290


Healthcare social worker

They provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses.

Stress tolerance: 95

Average annual salary (2017):$US54,870


Critical care nurse

They provide advanced nursing care for patients in critical or coronary care units.

Stress tolerance: 95

Average annual salary (2017):$US70,000


Airline pilot, copilot, and flight engineer

They pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo.

Stress tolerance: 95

Average annual salary (2017):$US137,330


Transit and railroad police

They protect and police railroad and transit property, employees, or passengers.

Stress tolerance: 96

Average annual salary (2017):$US70,280


Surgeon

They treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation.

Stress tolerance: 96

Average annual salary (2017):$US208,000+


Police, fire, and ambulance dispatcher

They operate radio, telephone, or computer equipment at emergency response centers.

Stress tolerance: 97

Average annual salary (2017):$US39,640


Obstetrician and gynecologist

They are physicians who provide medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth and those who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases of women, particularly those affecting the reproductive system.

Stress tolerance: 97

Average annual salary (2017): $US208,000+


Dancer

They perform dances on stage, for on-air broadcasting, or for video recording.

Stress tolerance: 97

Average annual salary (2017): $US14.25/hour


Acute care nurse

They provide advanced nursing care for patients with acute conditions such as heart attacks, respiratory distress syndrome, or shock.

Stress tolerance: 97

Average annual salary (2017):$US70,000


Telephone operator

They provide information by accessing alphabetical, geographical, or other directories.

Stress tolerance: 98

Average annual salary (2017):$US36,320


Nurse anesthetist

They administer anesthesia, monitor patient’s vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia.

Stress tolerance: 98

Average annual salary (2017):$US165,120


Anesthesiologist assistant

They assist anesthesiologists in the administration of anesthesia for surgical and non-surgical procedures, and monitor patient status and provide patient care during surgical treatment.

Stress tolerance: 98

Average annual salary (2017):$US104,860


Urologist

They diagnose, treat, and help prevent benign and malignant medical and surgical disorders of the genitourinary system and the renal glands.

Stress tolerance: 100

Average annual salary (2017):$US208,000+

Jacquelyn Smith contributed to an earlier version of this article.

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