Think there’s no such thing as a high-paying, low-stress job? Think again. It turns out there are plenty of low-stress professions in which you can pull in a pretty penny. Research undertaken by Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., a career-information expert, compared average salaries and stress levels of the 767 occupations to identify jobs with that perfect combination of high pay and low stress.
The stress tolerance for each job is a rating on a scale from zero to 100, where a lower rating signals less stress. It measures how frequently workers must accept criticism and deal effectively with high stress on the job.
Here is the list:
Orthodontists – Stress tolerance: 67.0 with an average annual salary: $196,270
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.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree, four-year dental school, and one to two years of residency training
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects – Stress tolerance: 67.0 with an average annual salary: $94,040
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.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree (practical experience is also highly valued)
Computer Hardware Engineers – Stress tolerance: 67.0 with an average annual salary: $106,930
What they do: Research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program
Food Scientists – Stress tolerance: 55.8 with average annual salary: $65,340
What they do: Ensure that agricultural establishments are productive and food is safe.
Education requirements: At least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited post secondary institution; many get a doctoral degree
Astronomers – Stress tolerance: 62.0 with an average annual salary: $110,440
What they do: Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree, but most astronomers go on to get a master’s and Ph.D.
Economists – Stress tolerance: 63.3 with an average annual salary: $101,450
What they do: Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Political Scientists – Stress tolerance: 60.8 with an average annual salary: $100,900
What they do: Political scientists study the origin, development, and analyze the structure and operation of political systems and trends.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree, followed by master’s or Ph.D in political science, public administration, or a related field.
Mathematicians – Stress tolerance: 57.3 with an Average annual salary: $103,310
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.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s or master’s degree for those who want to work in government, and a doctorate may be required to work for private companies.
Law Teachers – Stress tolerance: 62.8 with an average annual salary: $122,280
What they do: Teach courses in law.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s and law degrees.
Actuaries – Stress tolerance: 63.8 with an average annual salary: $107,740
What they do: Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree and a series of exams to become certified.
Physicists – Stress tolerance: 61.3 with an average annual salary: $117,040
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.
Education requirements: Ph.D. for most research jobs.
Optometrists – Stress tolerance: 70.3 with an average annual salary: $111,640
What they do: Optometrists perform eye exams to check for vision problems and diseases. They prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses as needed.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s, four-year doctor of optometry program, and a state license.
Computer and Information Systems Managers – Stress tolerance: 64.3 with an average annual salary: $132,570
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.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree.
Art Directors – Stress tolerance: 69.0 with an average annual salary: $96,650
What they do: Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree or previous work experience.
Statisticians – Stress tolerance: 64.0 with an average annual salary: $83,310
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.
Education requirements: Typically need a graduate degree.
Geoscientists (Except Hydrologists and Geographers) – Stress tolerance: 62.5 with an average annual salary: $108,420
What they do: Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth.
Education requirements: At least a Bachelor’s degree (in several states, geoscientists may need a license).
Applications Software Developers – Stress tolerance: 65.0 with an average annual salary: $96,260
What they do: Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree and strong computer programming skills.
Note: Stress tolerance is measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Information Network, with lower scores indicating less stress on the job.