Which Professions Are the Most Stressful?

stressful professions Airline pilots and media-related jobs may sound like glamorous gigs, but they're also extremely stressful, according to the new CareerCast 2011 report on the least and most stressful jobs. On the other hand, a number of jobs in the health care industry rank on the least stressful list.

To come up with these rankings of most and least stressful jobs, CareerCast researchers measured work environment, job competitiveness and risk. The criteria included 11 factors that invoke stress. Each factor was assigned a range of points, and a high score was given if stress was a major factor on the job, while fewer points were given if it wasn't normally required.

While commercial airline pilots have the most nerve-wracking job of all, the humble audiologist -- the practitioner who assesses and treats hearing disorders -- is ranked as the nation's least stressful profession. In fact, more than half of the 10 least stressful professions are in the health care field, including audiologist ( No. 1), dietitian (No. 2), dental hygienist (No. 5), speech pathologist ( No. 6), occupational therapist (No. 9) and chiropractor (No. 10).

"Professions that involve low stress have very little danger and minimal physical demands, both of which can compound stress," explains Tony Lee, publisher, CareerCast.com. "Job seekers who want a laid-back career and a high quality of life should look for professions that involve shorter work weeks, low pressure and little competition."

That would be about the opposite of a commercial airline pilot, as the Southwest Airlines pilot who was forced to make an emergency landing in the Arizona desert when a hole ripped through the fuselage of the plane he was flying en route to Sacramento, Calif., can attest to.

But who knew that four of the top 10 most stressful professions are media-related: public relations executive (No. 2), photojournalist (No. 4), newscaster (No. 5) and advertising account executive (No. 6).

"Jobs in communications can be high pressure, especially for public relations executives handling crisis situations, newscasters who go on-air with little or no time for preparation, and photojournalists working in dangerous environments," says Lee. "And as traditional forms of communication transition to digital, those who want to remain employed need to embrace new technologies or find a new career."

Highest Stress Professions:

1. Commercial Airline Pilot

2. Public Relations Executive

3. Corporate Executive, Senior

4. Photojournalist

5. Newscaster

6. Advertising Account Executive

7. Architect

8. Stockbroker

9. Emergency Medical Technician

10. Real Estate Agent




Lowest Stress Professions:



1. Audiologist

2. Dietitian

3. Software Engineer

4. Computer Programmer

5. Dental Hygienist

6. Speech Pathologist

7. Philosopher

8. Mathematician

9. Occupational Therapist

10. Chiropractor


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