Is Your Job Position Among America’s Most Stressful?


Stress is unavoidable, but a vast majority of Americans feel unduly stressed at work, with 78% of respondents to a new CareerCast survey rating their job stress at seven or higher on a ten-point scale. That’s a jump from the 2017 CareerCast stress survey, which found 69% of responding readers scored their job stress seven or higher.

What are the most stressful positions out there? Beware, media executives.

To assist job seekers and career changers in finding a good fit profession, CareerCast has released its 2019 ranking of the least and most stressful jobs.

Based on an evaluation of 11 stress factors, including deadlines, hazards, physical demands and public interaction, CareerCast ranks Enlisted Military, Firefighter and Airline Pilot as the top three most stressful jobs.

But, Broadcaster and Journalist are also among the top stress-filled jobs.

The least stressful are Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Compliance Officer and Hair Stylist.

“Stress in the workplace might prompt job seekers to consider a career change. We have identified jobs such as Medical Records Technician, Operations Research Analyst and Massage Therapist, which might be a good fit for those seeking a less stressful position,” says CareerCast’s Kyle Kensing. “However, people who thrive on the pressures inherent to high-stress jobs and are willing to put themselves in immediate danger, might choose a stressful job like firefighter or police officer. While no job is stress-free, choosing a profession based on its stress level is purely a personal choice.”

CareerCast’s Least Stressful Jobs of 2019

Profession Annual Median Salary* Growth Outlook* CareerCast Stress Score
1. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer $71,410 23% 5.069
2. Compliance Officer $67,870 5% 5.763
3. Hair Stylist $25,850 13% 6.722
4. Audiologist $75,920 21% 7.280
5. University Professor $76,000 15% 8.421
6. Medical Records Technician $67,870 5% 8.52
7. Jeweler $37,960 -7% 9.0
8. Operations Research Analyst $81,390 27% 9.093
9. Pharmacy Technician $31,750 27% 9.19
10. Massage Therapist $39,990 26% 10.385

CareerCast’s Most Stressful Jobs of 2019

Profession Annual Median Salary* Growth Outlook* CareerCast Stress Score
1. Enlisted Military Personnel (E3, 4 years experience) $26,802 N/A 72.579
2. Firefighter $49,080 7% 72.375
3. Airline Pilot $111,930 4% 61.2
4. Police Officer $62,960 7% 51.943
5. Broadcaster $62,910 0% 51.269
6. Event Coordinator $48,290 11% 51.192
7. News Reporter $39,370 -10% 49.955
8. Public Relations Executive $111,280 10% 49.475
9. Senior Corporate Executive $104,700 8% 48.971
10. Taxi Driver $24,880 5% 48.167


The most common stress factor cited in the CareerCast survey was meeting deadlines (38% of respondents), with growth potential and interacting with the public tied for a distant second stressor at 14% each.

The average American ages 25 to 54 spends 40.3 hours per week at work, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s approximately one-quarter of the entire week, a third of waking time for those who sleep an average of seven hours per night. Factor in travel to-and-from one’s place of employment, and the amount of time dedicated to employment increases further. All this is to say that work occupies so much of our life that if work’s stressful, life will be stressful.

To rank the most and least stressful careers from the 200 professions on the Jobs Rated report, CareerCast evaluated 11 stress factors: travel required; growth potential; deadlines; working in the public eye; competition in the field; physical demands; environmental conditions; hazards encountered on a regular basis; own life at risk; life of others at risk; and meeting or interacting with the public at large. The methodology can be found here.

*Median Annual Salary and Projected Hiring Growth by 2026 are via the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.