10 Most Kick-Back Careers of 2011

chill 2011 CareersMany workers thrive on high levels of stress on the job to keep them motivated and competitive within their industry. And of course, the nation's current high unemployment rate can make looking for a job much more stressful than just a few years ago.

Still, a stressful job isn't for everyone and thankfully many rewarding careers are pretty "chill." Several career fields have too few qualified applicants, making finding employment easier, while others simply place fewer demands on workers. From testing patients' hearing to cleaning their teeth to helping them with their diets, here's a look at the 10 least stressful jobs of 2011 (as compiled by CareerCast.com):

1. Audiologist

Average salary: $63,144

Poking around peoples' ears may not sound like the best of jobs. But ensuring patients can hear to the best of their ability has its own rewards. Further, being an audiologist isn't physically taxing or stressful, although it does require a keen attention to detail and concentration.

2. Dietitian

Average salary: $52,127

If you're a self-confessed foodie, this may just be the job for you. Dietitians assess patients' dietary needs, plan menus and provide guidance on cooking healthful meals. The job sometimes involves working in institutional settings, such as hospitals or nursing homes, and may include weekend work.

3. Software Engineer

Average salary: $87,140

Software engineer. It even sounds placid, doesn't it? The job involves having education or expertise in developing and maintaining computer programs, but the nature of the profession means that workers in this field can work from virtually anywhere, thanks to telecommuting. Add to that flexibility the ability to earn high wages, and you've got a career that doesn't sound hard at all.

4. Computer Engineer

Average salary: $71,176

Another high-tech career, computer engineers -- like their software counterparts -- can work from just about anywhere in the world while earning a handsome wage. The downside, of course, is that jobs can be shipped overseas on whim.

5. Dental Hygienist

Average salary: $67,107

Let's face it, cleaning patients' teeth isn't a glamorous profession. But it pays well, doesn't require a five-day work week and the field continues to expand, ensuring plenty of work for those who enjoy helping people have the brightest smile possible.

6. Speech Pathologist

Average salary: $65,143

A high-paying profession that provides decibels of personal satisfaction, speech pathologists treat hearing, speech and language disabilities. That frequently involves working with children, which in itself can be its own reward. Further, as America's population continues to age, plenty of older people will require such treatment, meaning job opportunities in this field are expected to remain robust for years.

7. Philosopher

Average salary: $61,221

Dorothy's scarecrow would be proud. Who'd have thunk that merely thinking about things could lead to such a well paying and low-stress job? It's not all daydreaming, however. Philosophers are frequently college professors who must churn out research and teach. But the job does provide flexibility and once you've reached tenure, you're nearly guaranteed a job for life.

8. Mathematician

Average salary: $94,178

Sure it's just numbers, but Americans have long had a problem comprehending math, creating a dearth of mathematicians. The career usually involves working for academia or government, so jobs tend to be stable. Still, getting a key post can involve lots of competition.

9. Occupational Therapist

Average salary: $70,193

Another people job, occupational therapists devise programs to help boost mental, physical and emotional ability in impaired people, helping to make them more self-reliant. As with other health professions, aging baby boomers nearly ensure demand in this field will remain strong.

10. Chiropractor

Average salary: $68,358

"Oh, my aching back!" Who among us hasn't heard that uttered by a coworker or family member. The rise in hours spent in front of computers working or playing is partly to blame for all that pain and nearly assures that the chiropractic field will remain robust for years to come. The ability to set your own hours while earning a decent income also make this a low-stress job.

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

Next: 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2011

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March 28 2012 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some of these are right-on like audiologist, dentist, and the therapy/pathologists.

Others are way off like the 2 teaching ones and the 2 engineers.

If something is difficult, it automatically becomes stressful.

The teaching ones would not be stressful if our educational system was not practically broken.

May 04 2011 at 4:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with kv37 and alyse completely - do your research before you write an article!

My father is an engineer and his job is anything but stress-free. Yes, he is able to telecommute, but that just means that he is working more hours at home (many times more than 70 hours a week). He is constantly being called to help fix problems that, if not solved quickly, will mean serious problems down the road.

May 03 2011 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what about a wal mart greeter

May 02 2011 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What nonsense. The author obvioulsy thinks these people sit around eating bon-bons.

May 02 2011 at 7:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Obviously, the least stressful job of any is, an "Air Traffic Controller" since all you do is sleep in the control tower. Where do I sign up ???

May 02 2011 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a dietitian who has worked in several different industries that employ dietitians (hospitals, nutrition products company, longterm care facilities) and as a public speaker on nutrition in several venues, and as a retired U.S. Army dietitian who was called up for Desert Storm in 1990, I can only surmise that David Schepp did not speak with any dietitian before he decided that the practice of dietetics is a stress-free career. I agree with Alyse and suggest David speak with people, especially those in management, working in the fields he defined as stress-free to find out what their days are really like.

May 02 2011 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This article is offensive to so many hard-working people. David Schepp is the one with the stress-free career, sitting around all day, writing articles about truly difficult careers which he knows nothing about. Ask any real audiologist, occupational therapist or or computer engineer what their typical day at work is like.

May 01 2011 at 10:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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May 01 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to soulsista's comment

So, what's yer point?

May 02 2011 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just about all government jobs are low stress. Sleeping, snacking, gossiping...all primary activities. We will not forget the truly stressful "public" jobs of the military, police, fire...Those people are for real; most of the rest are leaches.

May 01 2011 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jimflowers's comment

And social workers!!!

May 01 2011 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm inclined to agree with you, but it's not just government workers. It's also government contractors who manage to land nice, fat gov't contracts that last for years. I know, I worked for one. I was amazed at the number of people who spent most of their day hanging out at other peoples' cubicles.

May 01 2011 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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