The Most (and Least) Stressful Jobs in the U.S. for 2019

Job stress is a common complaint among the workforce. In fact, according to a new survey from jobs website CareerCast, 78 percent of the respondents rated their stress at work as a seven or higher on a 10-point scale — a considerable increase from the 69 percent who said the same thing back in 2017. The most common stressors that the respondents named included meeting deadlines, the potential for job growth and having to deal with the public.

Based on these stress factors — plus others, including physical demands, travel, environmental conditions and hazards — here are the jobs that CareerCast has ranked as the most stressful and least stressful for 2019.

The most stressful jobs for 2019

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The following are the top 10 most stressful jobs, based on CareerCast’s evaluation. The median annual salaries (for 2017 — the most recent data available) and projected job growth by 2026 both are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

10. Taxi driver

Taxi drivers make a median annual salary of $24,880, less than the median pay for all workers of $37,690, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And their projected job growth rate is only 5 percent, also slightly less than the 7 percent average growth rate for all occupations.

9. Senior corporate executive

Senior corporate executives “plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although their jobs might come with a lot of stress, they make a good median salary of $104,700. And their projected job growth is 8 percent.

8. Public relations executive

Public relations executives have a situation similar to the senior corporate executives. The job can be demanding and involve long hours and travel. But their median salary is $111,280 and projected job growth is 10 percent.

7. Newspaper reporter

In what’s probably not breaking news to anyone, newspaper reporters unfortunately have the only negative projected job growth rate out of the 10 most stressful jobs at -10 percent. And their median salary is $39,370.

6. Event coordinator

Event coordinators experience several stress factors on the job, including meeting deadlines and travel. Their median salary is about $48,290 and projected job growth is 11 percent.

5. Broadcaster

Broadcasters also have to live by deadlines, and they work closely with the public. Their median salary is $62,910, and their projected job growth is stagnant.

4. Police officer

Police officers experience many daily stressors on the job, including physical demands and hazards. Their median salary is $62,960 and projected job growth is 7 percent.

3. Airline pilot

Airline pilots also work a demanding job, facing tight schedules and obviously a great deal of travel. Their median salary is $111,930, and the projected job growth rate is slower than average at 4 percent.

2. Firefighter

Like police officers, firefighters must contend with great physical demands and dangers on the job. Their median salary is roughly $49,080, and their projected job growth rate is 7 percent.

1. Enlisted military personnel

Enlisted military personnel came in at No. 1 on CareerCast’s survey, making this the most stressful job for 2019. Their median annual salary is a mere $26,802, and the projected job growth rate is stagnant.

The least stressful jobs for 2019

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At the other end of the spectrum, here are the jobs that CareerCast’s survey found to be the least stressful.

10. Massage therapist

It’s fitting that a job designed to relieve stress also wouldn’t be so stressful for its employees. Massage therapists make a median salary of about $39,990, and the projected job growth rate is much faster than average at 26 percent.

9. Pharmacy technician

Although pharmacy technicians frequently work with the public, they still ranked low in stress, according to the survey. Their median salary is $31,750 and projected job growth is 12 percent, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

8. Operations research analyst

“Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. They make a median salary of $81,390, and the projected job growth rate is 27 percent.

7. Jeweler

Even though their job growth rate of -7 percent isn’t very promising, jewelers still seem to maintain a low stress level. Their median salary is about $37,960 per year.

6. Medical records technician

Medical records technicians help manage health information, and some might even be able to do their jobs from home. Their median annual salary is $39,180 and projected job growth rate is 13 percent.

5. University professor

University professors often enjoy flexible schedules outside of their class time, though the job typically does require a higher education level. Their median salary is $76,000 and projected job growth rate is 15 percent.

4. Audiologist

“Audiologists diagnose, manage, and treat a patient’s hearing, balance, or ear problems,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median salary is $75,920, and the projected job growth rate is above average at 21 percent.

3. Hair stylist

Hair stylists do have somewhat physically demanding jobs, as they’re on their feet for long stretches. But they also often can work flexible hours, which helps to relieve some stress. Their median salary is $25,850 and projected job growth rate is 13 percent.

2. Compliance officer

Compliance officers ensure their organization abides by laws and regulations. Their median salary is $67,870 and projected job growth rate is 8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Diagnostic medical sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers use specialized imaging equipment to help diagnose medical conditions. And even though the medical field can be highly stressful, this job still ranked as the least stressful, according to CareerCast’s survey. The median annual salary is $71,410 and projected job growth rate is above average at 23 percent.

How to limit stress on the job

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So you work in a stressful job, and switching careers to something more relaxing isn’t possible. What can you do? Here are some tips to help you combat the effects of stress at work.

Recognize when you’re under stress

It might not always be so apparent that you’re under stress, so it’s important to know the signs. “Stress may cause physical complaints, such as tension headaches, back pain, indigestion, or heart palpitations,” according to Harvard Medical School. “It may appear as cognitive problems, such as poor concentration and indecisiveness.” Plus, stress can bring out emotions, such as crying, moodiness and anxiety. And it might trigger behaviors, including overeating and smoking.

Identify the triggers

What one person finds stressful, another might be able to cope with perfectly fine. So it’s key to identify your personal stress triggers. “For a week or two, record the situations, events and people who cause you to have a negative physical, mental or emotional response,” Mayo Clinic suggests. Then, analyze your data to detect patterns. Maybe you’re most stressed after your long commute. Or it could simply be that you find your office chair incredibly uncomfortable. Breaking down your stress into these simple triggers can go a long way in helping you manage it.

Set goals

“Often, the best way to cope with stress is to find a way to change the circumstances that are causing it,” Mayo Clinic says. So once you’ve identified some specific stress triggers, set attainable goals to combat them. “It’s often helpful to improve time management skills — especially if you tend to feel overwhelmed or under pressure at work,” according to Mayo Clinic. Create a list that prioritizes your tasks to help you stay on track, and don’t hesitate to reach out to colleagues or your boss when you need to.

Practice self-care

Remember to take care of yourself — both at work and at home — to prevent stress from becoming overwhelming. Take breaks at work, even if it’s just for a couple minutes to clear your head. “Also try to take breaks from thinking about work, such as not checking your email at home in the evening or choosing times to turn off your cellphone at home,” Mayo Clinic suggests. Participate in hobbies and other activities that make you happy. Eat a healthy diet, and get enough exercise. And don’t be hesitant to talk about your stress to friends, colleagues or a medical professional.

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51 comments

Mia B
Melisa B23 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad A
Chad Anderson28 days ago

Thank you.

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Joanna M
Joanna Mabout a month ago

Re: #9 - I'm surprised that pharmacy tech was considered least stressful. I've never worked as one, so I don't know for sure, but it seems they'd have to deal with a lot of people mad their meds aren't ready, blaming them when it's the dr's fault for something, or insurance for not covering something, etc.

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Joanna M
Joanna Mabout a month ago

As a former newspaper reporter, I can vouch for #7. But as someone who now works in a school system, I'm surprised that didn't make your list. It's not just difficult kids, but the parents...these days, a lot of parents refuse to believe their kid could do anything wrong, it must be the school's fault, etc. They also expect the schools to do all sorts of things that used to be considered part of the parent's responsibilities in raising the child.

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Leo C
Leo Cabout a month ago

thank you for sharing!

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David C
David Cabout a month ago

really?????? how about teacher? physician? surgeon? these are really less stressful than broadcaster and event planner?????

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Sue M
Sue Mabout a month ago

Interesting to see which ones you have included! Very surprised that teachers aren't included on the most stressful list and then university professors on the least! I believe that university lecturers/teachers find their work very stressful (and I know of a few who have unfortunately taken their own lives as a result)

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Leo Custer
Leo Cabout a month ago

Thank you for posting!

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Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Habout a month ago

thanks

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