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

biomedical engineer
Biomedical engineers are well-compensated while tending to work in low-stress environments.

  • There are many jobs that are both well-paid and offer a relaxing work environment.
  • We looked at jobs that pay at least $75,000 annually and that have a relatively low-stress work situation.
  • Here are those jobs ranked from most to least stressful, and by average annual wages in the case of a tie.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
33. Technical writers

mechanics reading manual

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $78,590

What they do, according to O*NET: Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.

32. Environmental scientists and specialists

enviromental scientist

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $80,090

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research or perform investigations for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population.

31. Financial examiners

financial planner

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $92,730

What they do, according to O*NET: Enforce or ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing financial and securities institutions and financial and real estate transactions.

30. Database architects

computer servers

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $101,090

What they do, according to O*NET: Design strategies for enterprise databases, data warehouse systems, and multidimensional networks.

29. Art directors

art director

Importance of stress tolerance: 69

Average annual salary: $114,490

What they do, according to O*NET: Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media, such as print, broadcasting, and advertising.

28. Ship engineers

marine engineer

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $81,110

What they do, according to O*NET: Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ships.

27. Postsecondary mathematical science teachers

professor

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $86,760

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in math, statistics, and actuarial science.

26. Postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers

professor teaching

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $90,160

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in philosophy, religion, and theology. 

25. Geoscientists

geologist

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $112,110

What they do, according to O*NET: Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth.

24. Petroleum engineers

petrolum engineer

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual salary: $154,330

What they do, according to O*NET: Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs.

23. Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

sports agent

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $98,070

What they do, according to O*NET: Represent and promote artists, performers, and athletes in dealings with current or prospective employers.

22. Agricultural engineers

Agricultural engineer working in a greenhouse.

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $101,620

What they do, according to O*NET: Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems.

21. Computer hardware engineers

Supercomputer Qualified IT specialist Danny Rotscher checks the operating system of the High Performance Computing and Storage Complex II (HRSK-II) during the official opening of the new data center of the Lehmann Center (LZR) of the Dresden University of Technology in Dresden, Germany, May 13, 2015.

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $126,140

What they do, according to O*NET: Research, design, develop, or test computer or computer-related equipment.

20. Orthodontists

dentist dental

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual salary: $237,990

What they do, according to O*NET: Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies.

19. Postsecondary education teachers

A professor teaching a class of students.

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual salary: $75,010

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach education courses.

18. Computer and information research scientists

computer programmer

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual salary: $130,890

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

17. Postsecondary geography teachers

geography map

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual salary: $87,160

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in geography.

16. Environmental engineers

environmental engineers

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual salary: $96,890

What they do, according to O*NET: Research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines.

15. Epidemiologists

epidemiologist

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual salary: $83,620

What they do, according to O*NET: Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes.

14. Statisticians

data chart on tablet

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual salary: $97,170

What they do, according to O*NET: Develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organize, interpret, and summarize numerical data to provide usable information.

13. Economists

economist

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual salary: $120,880

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to address economic problems related to the production and distribution of goods and services or monetary and fiscal policy.

12. Bioengineers and biomedical engineers

biomedical engineer
Biomedical engineers are well-compensated while tending to work in low-stress environments.

Importance of stress tolerance: 63

Average annual salary: $98,340

What they do, according to O*NET: Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products.

11. Postsecondary economics teachers

Paul Krugman Business Insider

Importance of stress tolerance: 63

Average annual salary: $123,720

What they do, according to O*NET: Teach courses in economics.

10. Food scientists and technologists

food scientist studying basil

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $80,190

What they do, according to O*NET: 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, among other research.

9. Hydrologists

hydrologist

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $90,150

What they do, according to O*NET: Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters.

8. Materials scientists

materials scientists

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $104,450

What they do, according to O*NET: Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials.

7. Physicists

Physicists

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual salary: $137,700

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

6. Commercial and industrial designers

A car designer working on a car design.

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $76,290

What they do, according to O*NET: Design and develop manufactured products, such as cars.

5. Operations research analysts

analyzing data

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $92,280

What they do, according to O*NET: Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions.

4. Chemical engineers

Chemical engineer

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $114,820

What they do, according to O*NET: Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products.

3. Political scientists

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) administers the oath of office to House members and delegates of the U.S. House of Representatives at the start of the 116th Congress inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2019.

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual salary: $124,100

What they do, according to O*NET: Study the origin, development, and operation of political systems.

2. Geographers

A geographer at work.

Importance of stress tolerance: 59

Average annual salary: $85,620

What they do, according to O*NET: Study the nature and use of areas of the Earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena.

1. Mathematicians

mathmetician

Importance of stress tolerance: 57

Average annual salary: $112,530

What they do, according to O*NET: Conduct research in fundamental mathematics or in application of mathematical techniques to science, management, and other fields.

Method and data source

The Department of Labor’s O*NET Online occupational database includes survey-based measurements of how important various skills, activities, and personal traits are for a particular job.

One of the characteristics measured is stress tolerance, which O*NET describes as jobs requiring “accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.”

O*NET scores job characteristics like stress tolerance on a scale from 0 to 100, where a 0 means stress tolerance is not at all necessary for an occupation, and 100 suggests a job with a very high-stress environment.

We ranked occupational groups from most to least stressful using O*NET’s stress tolerance score, with lower scores indicating less stressful jobs. Since we are interested in high-paying jobs, we looked at occupations with average annual salaries of at least $75,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics data for May 2020, the most recently available release.

The above jobs were ranked from most to least stressful. In the case of a tied stress tolerance score, we ranked by average annual wages.

Several of the jobs fell in academia, with postsecondary teachers in various fields and researchers in economics, statistics, mathematics, and materials science dominating the top of the list.

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