Seven High-Stress Jobs and What They Pay


high-stress jobsby Lydia Frank

If you've ever had a job, you've likely experienced stress related to that job. And most of us expect to deal with some level of work-related stress. It's inevitable, isn't it? However, work stress can lead to some serious consequences for both workers and employers.

For example, health care expenditures are nearly 50 percent greater for workers who report high levels of stress, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Plus, studies also show that stressful working conditions are associated with "increased absenteeism, tardiness and intentions by workers to quit their jobs -- all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line," according to NIOSH.

Online salary and career database recently conducted a survey and asked workers about their stress levels at work. Those jobs considered "high stress" were rated as "extremely stressful" or "fairly stressful" by at least 60 percent of the respondents in the survey. While some of the jobs that made the list may surprise you, it turns out that sometimes the most stressful jobs are not always the most obvious.

According to NIOSH, "conditions that commonly lead to stress include unrealistic deadlines and workloads, lack of control over the working environment, lack of supervisory support and poorly defined work roles."

1. Financial Aid Counselor

Median annual salary: $38,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 75%

Not only does Financial Aid Counselor top PayScale's list of most stressful jobs, it doesn't pay that well, which can be stressful enough. As college tuition costs climb and U.S. wages remain relatively flat overall (see The PayScale Index for U.S. compensation trends), it can't be easy to help prospective students and their parents find ways to pay for school.

2. Sales Account Manager

Median annual salary: $61,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 73%

Account managers in sales are typically held to a sales quota by day/week/month/quarter, depending on the company. If you're routinely not meeting that quota, not only will you likely be stressed, you could be out of a job. Job performance is measured by a number of factors, but when you're in sales, your future at the company is pretty closely tied to how much money you're bringing in the door.

3. Restaurant Assistant Manager

Median annual salary: $33,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 72%

Managing a busy restaurant can be rewarding, but it's also most certainly stressful. There are employees, vendors and customers all demanding your attention. And the long hours and low pay don't help. The most difficult tasks for this job "may be dealing with irate customers and motivating employees," according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

4. Registered Nurse

Median annual salary: $58,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 70%

The specialties and work settings for registered nurses vary greatly, but regardless of what type of registered nurse you are, the job requires that you provide both medical and emotional support for patients and their families. That's a big responsibility. If you can handle the stress, there are plenty of jobs to go around. "Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations," according to the BLS.

5. Probation Officer

Median annual salary: $40,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 70%

Probation officers work closely with convicted criminals sentenced to probation, their families and the courts. They often have very heavy workloads, due to court-imposed deadlines, according to BLS. Some additional requirements include extensive travel, carrying a firearm or other weapon for protection and collecting and transporting urine samples for drug testing. "All of these factors make for a stressful work environment," according to the BLS. "Although the high stress levels can make these jobs very difficult at times, this work also can be very rewarding. Many workers obtain personal satisfaction from counseling members of their community and helping them become productive citizens."

6. Management Consultant

Median annual salary: $97,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 62%

Management consultants "analyze and propose ways to improve an organization's structure, efficiency, or profits," according to the BLS. This is a job that constantly puts you into new situations where something's broken. The company hiring you wants a fix, and you're on the hook to provide it. Because 26 percent of management consultants are self-employed (more than three times the average for all occupations), according to the BLS, your success or failure has an immediate impact on your personal bottom line. Talk about stress.

7. Elementary School Teacher

Median annual salary: $41,000

People in this job reporting high stress: 62%

People generally go into teaching to make a difference, but the day-to-day realities of dealing with a roomful of children don't always match up with the vision of being an educator. Teachers often find themselves playing babysitter and disciplinarian in addition to trying to get Johnny to learn fractions or Suzy to memorize the state capitals. Despite all of that, however, 78 percent of elementary school teachers report they are satisfied with their job, according to

Source: All salary and stress data is from The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers in the United States with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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school teachers today have class sizes of 12-20kids + or - . You mean to say, for a teacher this size class is a high stress job..??!!.. Puh-leeze. Try 48-52 kids in a class. The Nuns didn't have the problems with kids, to the extent they have in schools today. Discipline and Judeo-Christian ethics were taught and adhered to by most. What makes the difference IS the lack of Discipline & Respect. Public Schools need to have a major curriculum change. Its back to basic and more discipline. More discipline...less stress and getting rid of the liberals = less stress.
Todays ' public' schools are a mess. The Teachers Associations, their unions, and the Gov't. have made Public school system a laughing stock, graduating dumbed-down and stupified pupils into the world, that fail to adapt to the ' Reality' of social norms and what's expected of them, in todays work force. So, when I hear a teacher complaining of current class sizes, as being stressful and students doing ' what they want' etc. etc., causing 'stress'... They can only blame their own system of education, which is disfunctional at the least, and marginally prepares their charges for the world, their being dumped into, at best. This goes for Colleges as well, being over-priced and littered with Liberial/Leftist teaching staffs, that litter the country with young minds that defy America's Judeo-Christian underpinnings, The Bill of Rights, and rule of law, all the while looking for a Socialistic Utopia they can wallow in, while receiving their daily bread from the very government they despise. Just watching this all unfold IS worrisome and stressful, to say the least.
Stress is found everywhere today, at every level. Long term stress affects the cells of the body and ultimately causes health problems to occur. Just driving to work can be major stress. Do that everyday and you can develop chronic stress syndrome. We all live with Stress, one way or the other, at various levels. Its what we've done to ourselves from the Gov't. on down. Have stress?...take a pill they say. No thanks! Find a method to deal with stress and prevent the damage it can do to your health and your relationships. Stress Kills [.]

November 20 2015 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very informative to see articles and different opinions from others. I am sure this shows both sides and enlightens each side on how each side can work together to come with a plan that works better for everyone.

March 22 2015 at 12:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You've got to be kidding. Financial aid counselor? This is a joke. Where's cop or fire fighter? Fishing boat captain? Airline pilot? Soldier? Man we're a bunch of pu**ies.

March 19 2015 at 12:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Ya nothing is as easy as keeping the focus of 32 snot nosed kids for a year. Your only expected to teach kids to read that are so dumb their parents can not read either. I bet you could handle it! Not!

February 11 2011 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Yarbels's comment


A few pointers for you:

Your: possessive adjective, as in "your email message"
You're: contraction as in "You are clearly not an English teacher." to read WHO are so dumb THAT their parents CANNOT read...
("who" is preferred to "that" in reference to a person)

Also "ya" ??? do you mean "Yeah" or even "Yes"?
snot nosed should be "snot-nosed"

Maybe you should let someone else handle it.

July 26 2011 at 7:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Looking at the gal in the picture makes me wonder how much it pays to be a boobs model?

February 11 2011 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This list is horrible. There are hundreds of stressful jobs out there, but these are not them.

Being a school teacher is stressful? Give me a break!

February 08 2011 at 9:23 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Oliver's comment

guess you haven't been in a classroom in 40 would think differently. By the way, do you have to buy your own office supplies and other needed things to do your job properly, on your job? My daughter the teacher has to...

February 10 2011 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stacknef's comment

Spare us. I'm so tired of hearing how stressed out and underpaid teachers are. You know what's stressful? Seeing my property tax bill and how much goes to the teacher's pension fund. I'm sick of hearing teachers whine.

March 19 2015 at 12:57 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down

Try to handle 186 students a day, teaching junior high school...different subjects; students with raging hormones; students passed on who read on a 3rd grade level; those who don't speak or understand English; gang wanna-be's; parents who work several jobs, so aren't home; other parents who threaten to sue the teacher or the school district; kids who lie about being treated badly; principals who don't back up the teachers when they're threatened; classrooms broken into and materials stolen (often teacher's personally paid for items); books destroyed; graffiti written on items or scratched onto windows; recesses spent on guard duty, breaking up fights; after school duties and meetings; low pay...should I go on? Do you really think you could handle it? It's a lot of stress!

March 19 2015 at 2:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joanne's comment

To bogeydog17, we don't have a teacher pension fund. Our social security goes into a fund that draws a whopping 5%. At least in Texas that is how it is run.

March 19 2015 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Theresa Geil

Stress is everywhere. All employers should insist upon proper breaks, adequate nutrition and mental health days. Exercise programs during work hours would decrease the stress greatly and employees could actually enjoy coming to work as much as they presently do running away from the workplace.
Treating all workers with the respect they deserve as humans happens only in my dream world where going to the bathroom, getting a drink of water, or calling one's sick child's doctor is ok. Nothing more irritating and dehumanizing than having each bathroom visit timed and each sip of water numbered. Recognizing the contributions and giving praise for a job well done under tremendous stress is practically nil today...faster, faster..more, MORE!!! T

January 30 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Anthony Regensburger

I am wondering if they only considered private sector career fields.
"conditions that commonly lead to stress include unrealistic deadlines and workloads, lack of control over the workng environment."
I have a feeling that Govt' and Military service positions were left out of this "stress" survey.
I can honestly say that i was slightly upset that the Combat Infantryman, Combat Medic, Cavalry Scout, and other "outside the wire" positions weren't even mentioned.
I hope that the "stressful" positions listed above are happy that they dont have to worry about a mortar round raining down on them while they sleep, a roadside IED turning their BMW into scrap metal, or the occassional victim operated suicide vest walking into their cushy office.
I signed up to defend the freedoms of this country no matter what road that respnsibility takes me down. And i will. But please include us in the next survey. We would appreciate it.

January 29 2011 at 6:53 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anthony Regensburger's comment

Right on !! Nothing like getting shot at to add a litle stress!! Also how about my old job?? I was an air trafic controller foe 30 years at LAX,MIA, and ZKC Centers. No stress there !!

January 29 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

One not listed. A Debt Collector. I tried to collect, but had sympathy for the people I talked to. I tried to negotiate, esp. with those who had unemployment or health issues. My bosses wouldn't hear of it. All they cared about was getting the money. I really wish now (that I am unemployed and looking for work) that my bosses get fired or laid off soon, that is how callous they were. All they cared about was collecting the money. I tried to deal with PEOPLE. To negotitate with those who were suffering. My bosses, all they cared about was collect the money. Fuck them. But please, add debt collector to this list.

January 29 2011 at 1:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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