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Time for a change? Here are the 30 least stressful jobs


By Nick Selbe, CareerTrends

Nobody likes to feel stress. It is an unpleasant experience, and most job seekers would love to find a career that minimize the amount of time spent in high-stress situations.

With this in mind, CareerTrends found the 30 least stressful occupations in the country using data from O*NET, an occupational database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. O*NET assigns scores in various categories for each occupation based on the results to survey questions sent out to employers.

For this list, we focused on three different scores, all graded on a 1 to 5 scale: frequency of conflict situations, exposure to hazardous conditions, and stress tolerance. These three grades were combined to create a “Total Stress Score,” which is out of 15, and the occupations with the lowest total stress scores were chosen for this list.

Survey scores explained:

  • Frequency of conflict situations: How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions: How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
  • Stress tolerance: Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Note: In the event of ties, the job with the lower stress tolerance score was ranked higher on the list.

#30. Cartographers

Total Stress Score: 6.86
Conflict frequency score: 2.53
Hazard exposure score: 1.11
Stress tolerance score: 3.22

Average annual salary: $65,410
Total employment: 11,970
Job description: Collect, analyze and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs and satellite data.

#29. Judicial Law Clerks

Total Stress Score: 6.85
Conflict frequency score: 2.26
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.59

Average annual salary: $59,910
Total employment: 12,660
Job description: Assist judges in court or by conducting research and preparing legal documents.

#28. Hand Sewers

Total Stress Score: 6.83
Conflict frequency score: 2.12
Hazard exposure score: 1.04
Stress tolerance score: 3.67

Average annual salary: $24,980
Total employment: 6,920
Job description: Sew, join, reinforce or finish, usually with needle and thread, a variety of manufactured items. Includes weavers and stitchers.

#27. Economics Professors

Total Stress Score: 6.83
Conflict frequency score: 2.36
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.47

Average annual salary: $106,980
Total employment: 13,580
Job description: Teach courses in economics. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

#26. Self-Enrichment Education Teachers

Total Stress Score: 6.82
Conflict frequency score: 2.1
Hazard exposure score: 1.07
Stress tolerance score: 3.65

Average annual salary: $42,350
Total employment: 217,530
Job description: 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.

#25. Sustainability Specialists

Total Stress Score: 6.82
Conflict frequency score: 2.18
Hazard exposure score: 1.25
Stress tolerance score: 3.39

Average annual salary: $73,480
Total employment: 926,610
Job description: Address organizational sustainability issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices and green procurement plans.

#24. Mail Machine Operators

Total Stress Score: 6.74
Conflict frequency score: 2.26
Hazard exposure score: 1.15
Stress tolerance score: 3.33

Average annual salary: $29,930
Total employment: 95,640
Job description: 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.

#23. Bakers

Total Stress Score: 6.72
Conflict frequency score: 1.94
Hazard exposure score: 1.22
Stress tolerance score: 3.56

Average annual salary: $26,270
Total employment: 176,610
Job description: Mix and bake ingredients to produce breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries or other baked goods.

#22. Mapping Technicians

Total Stress Score: 6.71
Conflict frequency score: 2.05
Hazard exposure score: 1.13
Stress tolerance score: 3.53

Average annual salary: $44,800
Total employment: 53,620
Job description: Calculate mapmaking information from field notes. Draw and verify accuracy of topographical maps.

#21. Operations Research Analysts

Total Stress Score: 6.71
Conflict frequency score: 2.19
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.52

Average annual salary: $84,180
Total employment: 95,860
Job description: 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.

#20. Barbers

Total Stress Score: 6.63
Conflict frequency score: 2.08
Hazard exposure score: 1.03
Stress tolerance score: 3.52

Average annual salary: $29,140
Total employment: 14,350
Job description: Provide barbering services, such as cutting, trimming, shampooing and styling hair.

#19. Proofreaders

Total Stress Score: 6.58
Conflict frequency score: 1.53
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 4.05

Average annual salary: $37,690
Total employment: 10,810
Job description: Read transcripts to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical or compositional errors. Includes proofreaders of Braille.

#18. Medical Transcriptionists

Total Stress Score: 6.55
Conflict frequency score: 2.09
Hazard exposure score: 1.03
Stress tolerance score: 3.43

Average annual salary: $35,720
Total employment: 57,830
Job description: 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.

#17. Economists

Total Stress Score: 6.52
Conflict frequency score: 2.17
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.35

Average annual salary: $109,230
Total employment: 19,090
Job description: 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.

#16. Crop Farmworkers

Total Stress Score: 6.52
Conflict frequency score: 1.62
Hazard exposure score: 1.57
Stress tolerance score: 3.33

Average annual salary: $22,130
Total employment: 272,170
Job description: 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.

#15. Statisticians

Total Stress Score: 6.48
Conflict frequency score: 2.12
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.36

Average annual salary: $84,440
Total employment: 29,870
Job description: Develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organize, interpret and summarize numerical data to provide usable information. May specialize in fields such as bio-statistics, agricultural statistics, business statistics or economic statistics.

#14. Remote Sensing Scientists

Total Stress Score: 6.46
Conflict frequency score: 2.15
Hazard exposure score: 1.23
Stress tolerance score: 3.08

Average annual salary: $98,240
Total employment: 21,130
Job description: 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.

#13. Upholsterers

Total Stress Score: 6.42
Conflict frequency score: 2.42
Hazard exposure score: 1.05
Stress tolerance score: 2.95

Average annual salary: $33,550
Total employment: 30,180
Job description: Make, repair or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.

#12. Archivists

Total Stress Score: 6.41
Conflict frequency score: 2.22
Hazard exposure score: 1.1
Stress tolerance score: 3.09

Average annual salary: $53,880
Total employment: 5,460
Job description: Appraise, edit and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

#11. Door-To-Door Sales Workers

Total Stress Score: 6.4
Conflict frequency score: 2.35
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.05

Average annual salary: $26,160
Total employment: 7,510
Job description: Sell goods or services door-to-door or on the street.

#10. Ushers

Total Stress Score: 6.38
Conflict frequency score: 2.69
Hazard exposure score: 1.06
Stress tolerance score: 2.63

Average annual salary: $21,060
Total employment: 114,000
Job description: 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.

#9. Mathematicians

Total Stress Score: 6.37
Conflict frequency score: 2.08
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.29

Average annual salary: $112,560
Total employment: 3,170
Job description: 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.

#8. Geographic Information Systems Technicians

Total Stress Score: 6.29
Conflict frequency score: 1.9
Hazard exposure score: 1.03
Stress tolerance score: 3.36

Average annual salary: $87,310
Total employment: 223,370
Job description: 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.

#7. Crossing Guards

Total Stress Score: 6.25
Conflict frequency score: 2.4
Hazard exposure score: 1.31
Stress tolerance score: 2.54

Average annual salary: $27,730
Total employment: 68,640
Job description: Guide or control vehicular or pedestrian traffic at such places as streets, schools, railroad crossings or construction sites.

#6. Massage Therapists

Total Stress Score: 6.23
Conflict frequency score: 1.94
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.29

Average annual salary: $43,170
Total employment: 92,090
Job description: 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.

#5. Etchers and Engravers

Total Stress Score: 6.22
Conflict frequency score: 1.25
Hazard exposure score: 1.63
Stress tolerance score: 3.34

Average annual salary: $31,880
Total employment: 9,490
Job description: Engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber or other materials. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers and silk screen etchers.

#4. Statistical Assistants

Total Stress Score: 6.13
Conflict frequency score: 1.97
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 3.16

Average annual salary: $44,220
Total employment: 13,510
Job description: 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.

#3. Library Technicians

Total Stress Score: 5.88
Conflict frequency score: 2.53
Hazard exposure score: 1
Stress tolerance score: 2.35

Average annual salary: $34,200
Total employment: 94,170
Job description: Assist librarians by helping readers in the use of library catalogs, databases and indexes to locate books and other materials. Answer questions that require only brief consultation of standard reference. Sort and shelve books or other media.

#2. Agricultural Sorters

Total Stress Score: 5.73
Conflict frequency score: 2.14
Hazard exposure score: 1.1
Stress tolerance score: 2.49

Average annual salary: $23,260
Total employment: 35,290
Job description: Grade, sort or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color or condition.

#1. Models

Total Stress Score: 4.72
Conflict frequency score: 1.68
Hazard exposure score: 1.1
Stress tolerance score: 1.94

Average annual salary: $37,240
Total employment: 4,460
Job description: Model garments or other apparel and accessories for prospective buyers at fashion shows, private showings or retail establishments. May pose for photos to be used in magazines or advertisements. May pose as subject for paintings, sculptures and other types of artistic expression.

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