43 high-paying jobs for people who don’t like stress


You don’t have to be stressed out to earn a lot of money.
Larry W. Smith / Getty Images

  • Low-stress jobs with high pay are in abundance.
  • Plenty of jobs pay more than $60,000 a year on average but have lower stress levels, as defined by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Many of these jobs are in science or academia, but some of them require only a high school degree.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Think there’s no such thing as a high-paying, lower-stress job? Think again. It turns out there are plenty.

To find jobs with that perfect combination of high pay and less stress, we combed through the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a US Department of Labor database that compiles detailed information on hundreds of jobs and looked at salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Average annual salaries are pulled from May 2018 data.

O*NET rates the ” stress tolerance” for each job on a scale from zero to 100, where a lower rating signals less stress. (Note: We arenotsaying these jobs are “stress-free” — they just tend to rate lower than other professions.)

To rate each job, O*NET looks at how frequently workers must accept criticism and deal effectively with high stress at work.

Here are 43 jobs that pay more than $60,000 a year, on average, and earned a stress tolerance rating of 65 or lower, in order from highest to lowest stress score.

Vivian Giang and Jacquelyn Smith contributed to an earlier version of this article.

A woman working on a computer.

AP/Andre Penner

Stress tolerance:65

Average annual salary:$76,960

What they do:Conduct retail activities of businesses operating exclusively online. May perform duties such as preparing business strategies, buying merchandise, managing inventory, implementing marketing activities, fulfilling and shipping online orders, and balancing financial records.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

Transportation vehicle, equipment, and systems inspector (except aviation)

A transportation inspector examining a vehicle.

Larry W. Smith / Getty Images

Stress tolerance:65

Average annual salary:$75,330

What they do:Inspect and monitor transportation equipment, vehicles, or systems to ensure compliance with regulations and safety standards.

Education requirements:High school diploma.

Postsecondary area, ethnic, and cultural studies teacher

Charis Thompson, Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of Gender & Women’s Studies.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology/Flickr/Attribution

Stress tolerance:65

Average annual salary:$85,450

What they do:Teach courses pertaining to the culture and development of an area, an ethnic group, or any other group, such as Latin American studies, women’s studies, or urban affairs.

Education requirements:A doctoral degree with post-doctoral training.

Document management specialist

A document management specialist at work.

LBJ Library/Flickr/Attribution

Stress tolerance:65

Average annual salary:$93,350

What they do:Implement and administer enterprise-wide document management systems and related procedures that allow organizations to capture, store, retrieve, share, and destroy electronic records and documents.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree, though some only require an associate’s degree or a post-secondary certificate.

Nanotechnology engineering technician

A nanotechnology engineering technician.

Kevin Tong/UC Davis/Flickr/Attribution

Stress tolerance:64

Average annual salary:$65,720

What they do:Operate commercial-scale production equipment to produce, test, or modify materials, devices, or systems of molecular or macromolecular composition.

Education requirements:Associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

An industrial ecologist.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Stress tolerance:64

Average annual salary:$77,580

What they do:Apply principles and processes of natural ecosystems to develop models for efficient industrial systems. Use knowledge from the physical and social sciences to maximize effective use of natural resources in the production and use of goods and services.

Education requirements:At least a master’s degree, though some require a doctoral degree or only a bachelor’s.

An epidemiologist.

Pouya Dianat/AP

Stress tolerance:64

Average annual salary:$75,690

What they do:Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes. May develop the means for prevention and control.

Education requirements:At least a master’s degree, though some require a doctoral degree or only a bachelor’s.

A biomedical engineer working in a lab.

UC Davis College of Engineering/Flickr/CC 2.0 Attribution

Stress tolerance:63

Average annual salary:$95,090

What they do:Analyze and design solutions to problems in biology and medicine, with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care.

Education requirements:Typically need a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from an accredited program. Alternatively, they can get a bachelor’s in a different field of engineering and then either get a graduate degree in biomedical engineering or complete on-the-job training in biomedical engineering.

Postsecondary law teacher

A law professor.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Geoscientist (except hydrologists and geographers)

A geoscientist at work.

Savannah River Site/flickr

Stress tolerance:63

Average annual salary:$107,800

What they do:Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth.

Education requirements:At least a bachelor’s degree, and in several states geoscientists may need a license.

Molecular and cellular biologist

A molecular biologist at work.


Stress tolerance:62

Average annual salary:$83,600

What they do:Research and study cellular molecules and organelles to understand cell function and organization.

Education requirements:Doctoral degree, though some employers accept just a bachelor’s degree.

Postsecondary economics teacher

A teacher instructing a student.

Matt Cardy/Stringer/Getty Images

Stress tolerance:62

Average annual salary:$98,350

What they do:Teach courses in economics. Includes teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Education requirements:Typically need a Ph.D. to teach at the college level, but a master’s degree may be enough.

An astronomer looks at a telescope.

Dale Fulkerson/AP Images

Stress tolerance:62

Average annual salary:$111,090

What they do:Observe, research, and analyze astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.

Education requirements:Ph.D. for most research jobs.

Operations research analyst

An analyst at work.

Andrey Popov/shutterstock

Stress tolerance:61

Average annual salary:$88,350

What they do:Use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

Education requirements:Many entry-level positions are available for those with a bachelor’s degree, but some employers prefer to hire applicants with a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Solar energy systems engineer

A solar energy systems engineer.

Steve Marcus/Reuters

Stress tolerance:61

Average annual salary:$99,410

What they do:Perform site-specific engineering analysis of energy efficiency and solar projects. Design solar hot water and space heating systems for new and existing structures.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

Applications software developer

A software developer.

Adam Berry/Getty Images

Stress tolerance:61

Average annual salary:$108,080

What they do:Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree and strong computer programming skills.

Chemical engineers at work.

UC Davis College of Engineering/Flickr/CC 2.0 Attribution

Stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary:$114,470

What they do:Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products like gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

A physicist at work.


Stress tolerance:61

Average annual salary:$125,280

What they do:Conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

Education requirements:Ph.D. for most research jobs.

Transportation equipment electrical and electronics installer and repairer

An employee works on a vehicle.

David Ramos/Getty

Stress tolerance:60

Average annual salary:$61,460

What they do:Install, adjust, or maintain mobile electronics communication equipment, including sound, sonar, security, navigation, and surveillance systems on transportation equipment.

Education requirements: High school diploma with post-secondary certificate.

Sustainability specialist

Specialists working.


Stress tolerance:60

Average annual salary:$76,960

What they do: Address organizational sustainability issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices, and green procurement plans.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

Cattle rancher John Ladd.

Astrid Galvan/AP

Stress tolerance:59

Average annual salary:$79,940

What they do: Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of agricultural establishments.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

A statistician.

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

Stress tolerance:59

Average annual salary:$92,600

What they do:Use statistical methods to collect and analyze data and help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, the sciences, or other fields.

Education requirements:Typically need a graduate degree.

Geographic information systems technician

Technicians at work.

Wikimedia Commons/Rick Naystatt

Stress tolerance:59

Average annual salary:$93,350

What they do: Assist scientists, technologists, or related professionals in building, maintaining, modifying, or using geographic information systems (GIS) databases.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

Industrial engineering technologist

Industrial engineering technologists.


Stress tolerance:58

Average annual salary:$65,720

What they do: Assist industrial engineers in such activities as quality control, inventory control, or material flow methods. May conduct statistical studies or analyze production costs.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

A scientist at work.

U.S. Army Materiel Command Follow/Flickr

Stress tolerance:58

Average annual salary:$83,600

What they do:Implement production processes for nanoscale designs to produce or modify materials, devices, or systems of unique molecular or macromolecular composition.

Education requirements:At least a bachelor’s degree, and some employers may require a master’s or doctoral degree.

A mathematician.

University of the Fraser Valley/flickr

Stress tolerance:57

Average annual salary:$104,870

What they do:Conduct research in fundamental mathematics or in application of mathematical techniques to science, management, and other fields; solve problems in various fields using mathematical methods.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s or master’s degree for those who want to work in government, and a doctorate may be required to work for private companies.

Food scientist and technologist

A food scientist.

Charlie Riedel/AP

Stress tolerance:56

Average annual salary:$72,570

What they do:Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods. Analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein. Research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

Environmental restoration planner

An environmental scientist at work.

Gary Kazanjian/AP

Stress tolerance:53

Average annual salary:$77,580

What they do: Collaborate with field and biology staff to oversee the implementation of restoration projects and to develop new products. Process and synthesize complex scientific data into practical strategies for restoration, monitoring or management.

Education requirements: At least a bachelor’s degree, and some employers may require a master’s degree.

Cartographers and photogrammetrists

A cartographer surveying a mountain range.

Sam McNeil/AP

Stress tolerance:52

Average annual salary:$68,340

What they do:Collect, analyze, and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs, and satellite data. Research, study, and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, political, educational, and design purposes.

Education requirements:Bachelor’s degree.

Remote sensing scientists and technologists

Members of NASA’s Mars 2020 project take a moment after attaching the remote sensing mast to the Mars 2020 rover. The image was taken on June 5, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility’s High Bay 1 clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.


Stress tolerance:52

Average annual salary:$110,090

What they do:Apply remote sensing principles and methods to analyze data and solve problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning, or homeland security. May develop new sensor systems, analytical techniques, or new applications for existing systems.

Education requirements:At least a bachelor’s degree, and some employers may require a master’s or doctoral degree.

Fuel cell engineers.

US Navy

Stress tolerance:50

Average annual salary:$92,800

What they do:Design, evaluate, modify, or construct fuel cell components or systems for transportation, stationary, or portable applications.

Education requirements:At least a bachelor’s degree; a master’s degree or Ph.D. is needed for some jobs in this field.



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