10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2011

Most Stressful JobsWith most Americans working longer and harder it's likely many workers are feeling more stressed than ever. Add to that the recent jump in gasoline prices and years of meager wage increases, and it's understandable why some people are near wit's end.

That said, some jobs by the very nature are more stressful than others. Whether it's working in a hospital emergency room, trying to sell homes in this economy or piloting aircraft over America's crowded skies, here's look at the 10 most stressful jobs (as compiled by CareerCast.com).

1. Commercial Pilot

Average salary: $106,153

You need look no further than Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger -- the pilot who two years ago managed to safely landed a plane full of people in the Hudson River -- to get a sense of why piloting jet aircraft can be so stressful. Not only are they expected to get passengers safely to their destination but on time, too -- even when the weather doesn't cooperate.

2. Public Relations Officer

Average salary: $90,160

As last year's gulf oil spill proved, having a savvy and dynamic public-relations team to navigate corporate disasters can go a long way toward maintaining a positive public image. More routinely, PR folks regularly meet with new clients, handle potentially hostile press inquiries and deliver presentations and speeches often in front of large crowds. Given those factors and more, it's not hard to see why PR professionals have one of the most stressful jobs out there.

3. Senior Corporate Executives

Average salary: $161,141

Senior executives are responsible for making business decisions that affect hundreds, thousands or even millions of people, whether they are employees, investors or customers. Moreover, their decisions on corporate policy and strategy, especially when poorly made, receive scrutiny reserved for few other people except for maybe those at the top levels of government.

4. Photojournalist

Average salary: $40,209

As the deaths of two Western photojournalists in Libya last week proves, the profession often involves working on the front lines of dangerous situations to get the story. Meeting tight editorial deadlines and possible technical glitches also add to the stress -- especially when you consider relatively low levels of pay.

5. Newscaster

Average salary: $50,456

You may never see them sweat, but with thousands if not millions of listeners glued to your every word, radio and TV newscasters know a thing or two about stress. It's also profession where accuracy is key. A simple mistake can end a lucrative job -- or career.

6. Advertising Account Executive

Average salary: $62,105

As ad revenues continue to dwindle at the nation's newspapers, getting advertisers to pay top dollar for ad space is a tough sell. But it isn't only sales skills that makes being an ad exec stressful. The job also requires high levels of creativity and self motivation, great attention to detail and the ability to succeed in a cut-throat career field.

7. Architect

Average salary: $73,193

Making drawings of buildings may seem like child's play, but architect's duties, which include planning, designing and overseeing construction of all kinds of buildings, are often done under tight deadlines and require a dedication to detail to ensure homes and office buildings are built safely.

8. Stockbroker

Average salary: $67,470

Tune into any business news channel during market hours and you'll likely get a sense of the kind of stress stockbrokers are exposed to. Images from the New York Stock Exchange frequently Wall Street brokers waving or shouting madly as the seek to cash in on stock movements. Those split-second decisions, whether mode on the trading floor or by computer, can result in making (or losing) millions of dollars for your customers.

9. Emergency Medical Technicians

Average salary: $30,168

Emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, are frequently the first to respond to an emergency or disaster. Their responsible for stabilizing injured people and sometimes have to contend with providing medical care in less-than-ideal conditions. Disasters such as the collapse of the Twin Trade Towers in New York and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans provide a glimpse of the kinds of challenges that await EMTs when they respond to emergency situations.

10. Real Estate Agent

Average salary: $40,357

Sure they dress nice, smile and often look the very model of success, but selling real estate in the post-mortgage mess era makes being a real-estate agent a stressful career choice. Then there are the demands that come with the job regardless of the state of housing market: lots of weekend work and spending lots of time with home buyers who may not know exactly what they are looking for.

Do you agree with this list? Share your thoughts below.

Next: 10 Most Kick-Back Careers of 2011

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Hello Moto!

Did you leave out the obvious top 3-policeman, fireman & HELLOO air traffic controller! Take commercial pilot off the list please! I worked for United Airlines as an int'l flight attd for almost 20 yrs & the pilots are NOT stressed out because of flying! Maybe stressed out about other more personal matters, but believe me when I say it's called a cockpit for a reason! They are extremely well paid & should be, but stressed out about getting the plane to the layover hotel would not be one of them. They always have "auto pilot" and the "auto pilot" doesn't get paid $200,000 ++ a year for a part time job...that has flight attendants at their beck & call the entire flight...like we don't have 350 people in coach waiting to be fed with only 4 flight attendants to do the job (cutbacks) meanwhile calling us up to "the cockpit" in the middle of our dinner service to find out what's new! I flew the long hauls & I am sure it's different for the newer younger guys flying domestically, but I would still argue that the flight attendants are more stressed out than the pilots. After 9-11, we lost at least a flight attendant a cabin, had to start doing "bomb checks" as part of our pre-flight safety checks, (which used to be making sure the oxygen tanks on board were full and that there was enough champagne for first class) Now post 9-11 the pilots are safely locked away with the proper defense tools(shall we say) and the flight attendants are supposed to defend themselves with a couple of soda cans in a pillow case to knock the bad guys in the head? Sometimes I felt like telling obnoxious passengers after 9-11 that I can either serve you coffee or a cocktail with a smile or I can kick your ass with the self defense class I paid for myself...you decide because UAL couldn't care less about me! PS...BEHAVE! The flight attendants took roughly 3 pay cuts after 9-11...work more flight hours with less help and have a company (at least at United) that would rather replace you with a newer younger version of you that would take your job &! do it for free! With over 300 applicants for just one flight attd position, UAL was happy to work their flight attds to the bone and in my case got rid of me just a couple years prior to my retirement package, after 17 years of faithful service (and I must say a heck of a lot of fun!) DENIED my return to work after I was on a medical leave of absence to have back surgery and 2 wrist surgeries (all work related) and left me unisurable medically, denied my unemployment benefits and cancelled or denied EACH & EVERY insurance policy I had paid premiums on monthly for almost 20 years. I now need neck surgery & a new hip....I am only 53! UAL made me apply for social security disablity 3 times & finally they told me to hire a pay a lawyer to fight for my SSDI because they weren't going to cough up a dime. My work comp atty is an @ss & sold me down the river! Now that's a stressful job & would NEVER EVER happen to a pilot!

September 28 2012 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

disagreed! how can they miss doctors?!!

December 07 2011 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Demers

Being a teacher is stressful. In a time when more children come from broken or blended homes, teachers are not only expected to make sure "no child is left behind" academically, but we are expected to help them socially, and emotionally. Teachers are being pressured to accept merit pay as well. Teachers cannot hand pick their classes to ensure good performances by students. they take what they are given. While students they work with may improve, students may not improve enough to be at grade level benchmark. As a result, teachers are on the hot seat as to why! Couple all these issues into the ever changing curriculum that teachers need to adapt to, as well as the changes in technology etc.... Late nights in grading, student tutoring, lesson planning and preparation, and professional growth, being a teacher is stressful..... We teach the America of tomorrow! What a responsibility!

June 24 2011 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

did not see mechanics on list ,, we get very dirty at times ,, we pay for our own equipment (tools) ,, an bust our knuckles all the time ,, training an up-dates never stops ,, an always fighting the weather .. an then have to here about a rattle or noise that turns out to be junk in the car moveing around .. all we here is fix-it till you get the bill .. but the one who fixed it (mechanic ) get a very small amount of that ..

May 04 2011 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 04 2011 at 9:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the #1 most stressful job HAS to be Wal-Mart greeter. I mean, what if you greet someone, and he just looks away and doesn't answer you! That's mean.

May 04 2011 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scott's comment

Most people probably do look away. Too busy to acknowledge someone they don't know.

May 06 2011 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa King-Davis

Um hello did someone forget that the MOST stressful job that deserves the top spot is being a Soldier? These men and women have to not only protect themselves but protect innocent civilians as well as their brothers and sisters in arms. Come home from a war and learn how to be a father or mother all over again, the ropes of being home rather than how to fight for survival. These men and women do deployment after deployment after deployment. Does anyone know what that does to a person? I would assume not unless of course they live this life. My husband is a soldier and to see the day after day and year after year of doing this job STRESSES him out. Yes he chose it BUT he is doing what most men OR women have NO cahones to do!

May 04 2011 at 8:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mr. Wonderful

Disagree on "Real Estate Agent". Yes, they are under a lot of stress, but not any more than any other "commission ONLY" salesperson.

May 04 2011 at 7:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

LAME! Not one mention of our military personnel! Try going door to door in an urban combat situation ... or being an EOD technician ... how about the SEAL's who just brought you the carcass of Osama ... or try working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier ... civilians ... and don't even get me started on newscasters ... and pay ... geez ... American civilians ... God ... so many ra-tards ... so few bullets! And Architects?!?! YGTBFSM!!!

May 04 2011 at 7:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How about school teachers--you put up with 30 little darlings all day, their parents, fellow staff members, the administrators not to mention going home to your family at home. Don;t get me started about us being underpaid-and some teachers have doctorate degrees. I only have a masters so my pay is about the same as medic with maybe a two year degree. Barbara

May 04 2011 at 6:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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