15 High-Paying Jobs for People Who Don't Like Stress

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Want a high-paying job in a low- stress environment?

We reached out to Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., a career information expert, to find out which jobs fit the bill. Shatkin compared average salaries and stress levels of the 747 occupations identified by the U.S. Department of Labor 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. The data was gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Information Network (O*NET).


1. Dental Hygienists

Stress tolerance: 71.3
Average annual salary: $70,210

What they do: Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care.

Education requirements: An associate's degree in dental hygiene and a license in the state they practice in

2. Engineers

Stress tolerance: 69.5
Average salary annually: $92,030

What they do: Engineers use science and mathematics to come up with economical solutions to technical problems.

Education requirements: Bachelor's degree

3. Technical Writers

Stress tolerance: 69.3
Average annual salary: $65,500

What they do: Technical writers produce instruction manuals and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.

Education requirements: Bachelor's degree

4. Urban and Regional Planners

Stress tolerance: 69
Average annual salary: $65,230

What they do: Urban and regional planners develop plans and programs for the use of land.

Education requirements: Bachelor's and master's degrees

5. Art Directors

Stress tolerance: 69
Average annual salary: $80,880

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

6. Audiologists

Stress tolerance: 67.5
Average annual salary: $69,720

What they do: Audiologists diagnose and treat a patient’s hearing and balance problems using advanced technology and procedures.

Education requirements: A doctoral degree and must be licensed in practicing state.

7. Orthodontists

Stress tolerance: 67
Average salary annually: $186,320

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

8. Optometrists

Stress tolerance: 65.5
Average annual salary: $97,820

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

9. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Stress tolerance: 64.3
Average annual salary: $120,950

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

10. Actuaries

Stress tolerance: 63.8
Average annual salary: $93,680

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

11. Economists

Stress tolerance: 63.3
Average annual salary: $91,860

What they do: Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services.

Education requirements: Bachelor's degree

12. Law teachers

Stress tolerance: 62.8
Average annual salary: $99,950

What they do: Teach courses in law.

Education requirements: Bachelor's and law degrees

13. Astronomers

Stress tolerance: 62
Average annual salary: $96,460

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.

14. Political Scientists

Stress tolerance: 60.1
Average annual salary: $102,000

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

15. Mathematicians

Stress tolerance: 57.3
Average annual salary: $101,360

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 masters degree for those who want to work in government, and a doctorate may be required to work for private companies

Stress tolerance is measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Information Network, with lowers score indicating less stress on the job.

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