Home » Military jobs top CareerCast annual list of Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs

Military jobs top CareerCast annual list of Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs

Least stressful? University professor

Information provided by CareerCast, compiled by The Lane Report

Military careers once again topped the list of the Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs, compiled by CareerCast, a career website for finding targeted job opportunities by industry, function and location.

A U.S. Army soldier with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team conducts a patrol in 2010 with a platoon of Afghan National Army soldiers in the village of Yawez, Wardak province, Afghanistan. Department of Defense photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest, U.S. Army.

The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces keep people around the world safe at a steep cost, CareerCast said. In 2012, the number of American casualties in Afghanistan and related operations exceeded 2,000, according to the Department of Defense.

Military officers are responsible for the well-being of their troops. No task could score higher on the stress scale’s metric than being responsible for the life of another person, noted CareerCast writer Kyle Kensing.

Adding to the stress, military personnel have to travel, work in the public eye, are in physical demand and danger, must move when they’re called upon, and be separated from family and friends for months and years at a time. Acclimating to civilian life and finding a job after their service ends are also big challenges.

Among civilian careers, firefighting is the most stressful, CareerCast said. Heart attack is commonly associated with stress, the site said, and a study by the National Fire Protection Association finds that 44 percent of firefighter deaths were the result of heart attacks.


Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of workers are stressed out by at least one thing at work, according to a recent work-stress survey by Harris Interactive for Everest College.

In choosing the most stressful and least stressful jobs, CareerCast used 11 job demands to rank the amount of stress: travel, growth potential (income divided by 100), deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, hazards encountered, own life at risk, life of another at risk and meeting the public. Each demand was assigned a range of points.

A high score was awarded if a particular demand was a major part of the job, fewer points were awarded if the demand was a small part of the job, and no points were awarded if that demand was not normally required.

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The Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2013 by CareerCast

(Click here to read the entire CareerCast story and expanded job listings.)

  1. Enlisted military personnel — Median salary: $41,998 (for 8+ years experience.) The dangers of serving as enlisted military personnel are well known at times of conflict, especially while on active duty deployment. Even in times of peace, military members take on many rigorous tasks.
  1. Military general— Median salary: $196,300. Generals dictate tactical strategy in combat, which directly impacts both the success of military operations and the safety of subordinates. The decisions generals make effect the lives of the soldiers who trust them most.
  1. Firefighter — Median salary: $45,250. The U.S. Fire Administration reported 81 on-duty fatalities in 2011 and 77 in 2012, making this one of the most dangerous career paths. Firefighters typically work shifts up to 48 hours, which contributes to physical fatigue and can weigh heavily on family life and emotional well-being.
  1. Commercial airline pilot — Median salary: $92,060. The possibility of danger is very real, and it’s the assurance and experience of a seasoned pilot that makes flights safe. Commercial airline pilots spend long stretches away from home while traveling around the globe.
  1. Public relations executive — Median salary: $57,550. Public relations executives are masters of damage control, thus need to be able to think and act quickly under stress. It also is one of the professions attracting the most college students, which makes landing and keeping a good job that much more difficult.
  1. Senior corporate executive — Median salary: $101,250. Market volatility challenges corporations and the people who lead them in today’s tough economic climate. Corporate executives are beholden to investors, board members, employees and the public.
  1. Photojournalist – Median salary: $29,130. The images from natural disasters and war that bring their gravity into our homes come from intrepid photojournalists working in dangerous situations. A select few can command top dollar, but wages are typically low.
  1. Newspaper reporter — Median salary: $36,000. Newsrooms around the U.S. are cutting back on staff and requiring reporters to work longer hours for lower pay, and be masters of new online technologies. These changes add to the stress of a job that already carries the responsibility of working under strict deadlines as well as a high public profile.
  1. Taxi driver — Median salary: $22,440. Low pay, potentially undesirable hours and danger make taxi driving very stressful. Taxi drivers are among the most susceptible to robbery of any other profession.
  1. Police officer — Median salary: $55,010. An officer’s beat can be one of the most dangerous in the working world. Loss of life on the job is a real, on-going concern. Police officers are tasked with a community’s safety, but they also must uphold the standards to which the profession is held.

Did your job make the list? Do you agree with CareerCast’s assessment? Or are you working in one of the least stressful jobs?

Top 10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2013 by CareerCast

(Click here to read the CareerCast story and see the expanded listings.)

  1. University professor — Median salary: $62,050. In short, your students want to be there, you’re not evaluated on standardized tests, and getting tenure guarantees lifetime employment.
  1. Seamstress/tailor — Median salary: $25,850. Seamstresses/tailors must show a great attention to detail, but have the ability to work creatively every day.
  1. Medical records technician — Median salary: $32,350. A growing profession in the stable healthcare industry, medical records technicians work in the office side of hospitals, doctors and dentists practices.
  1. Jeweler — Median salary: $35,170. Jewelers work out of the public spotlight, primarily in workshops and behind the scene in jewelry stores. The most successful jewelers are entrepreneurs with their own outlets, and most still have lucrative opportunities to buy and sell precious metals for a profit.
  1. Medical lab technician — Median salary: $46,680. Technicians work in an environment conducive to productivity, largely free from distraction to analyze samples.
  1. Audiologist – Median salary: $66,660. Audiologist is a field with a tremendous outlook for growth, as well as a healthy median pay level that rises annually with demand. The work environment is pleasant, the clients are passive (typically elderly) and most audiologists maintain their own practice and set their own hours.
  1. Dietitian — Median salary: $53,250. Dietitians serve a vital role in American culture as they help to battle obesity. Most dietitians work with people from many different walks of life and ages, and tend to focus on crafting plans for individuals.
  1. Hairstylist — Median salary: $22,500. A hairstylist often works in a fast-paced environment, with customers coming and going throughout the day. The field is one that promotes creativity. Salaries are typically low, but this is a career funded largely on gratuities, which can be very generous.
  1. Librarian — Median salary: $54,500. A peaceful atmosphere and unlimited access to literature makes librarian a welcoming career option for the bookish. Librarians have many careers paths.
  1. Drill press operator — Median salary: $31,910. Despite working with heavy machinery in industrial environments, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the work has little danger, and drill press operators typically have the ability to work at their own pace.

Learn more about jobs, and find job listings, at careercast.com.

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