The 28 Most Stressful Jobs by Nick Selbe, CareerTrends

No matter what industry you work in, stress is an unwelcome part of any occupation. A recent study by Chicago-based employee assistance provider ComPsych deemed “unclear expectations from supervisors” as the most stressful part of any job. The study focused specifically on stress in the workplace during times of change. Of course, that notes just one source of workplace stress people face every day.

With these types of daily challenges in mind, CareerTrends found the 28 most stressful jobs in America using data from O*NET, an occupational database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. O*NET assigns scores in various categories for each occupation based on the results to survey questions sent out to employers.

In examining the jobs that landed on the list, we found there was no correlation between total stress score and average salary. Unfortunately for these employees, working the most stressful job doesn’t guarantee the biggest payout.

For this list, we focused on three different scores, all graded on a 1 to 5 scale: frequency of conflict situations, exposure to hazardous conditions, and stress tolerance. Only jobs with at least 10,000 total employees were included.

These three grades were combined to create a “total stress score,” and the occupations with the highest total stress scores were chosen for this list.

The 28 Most Stressful Jobs

Survey scores explained:

  • Frequency of conflict situations: How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions: How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
  • Stress tolerance: Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Note: In the event of ties, the job with the higher stress tolerance score was ranked higher on the list.

#28. Automotive Specialty Technician

Total stress score: 11.33
Conflict frequency score: 3.3
Hazard exposure score: 4.21
Stress tolerance score: 3.82

Average annual salary: $34,092
Total employment: 633,390

#27. Forest Fire Fighting Supervisor

Total stress score: 11.34
Conflict frequency score: 3.08
Hazard exposure score: 3.76
Stress tolerance score: 4.5

Average annual salary: $60,372
Total employment: 59,870

#26. Airline Pilot

Total stress score: 11.35
Conflict frequency score: 3.37
Hazard exposure score: 3.17
Stress tolerance score: 4.81

Average annual salary: $98,733
Total employment: 75,760

#25. Anesthesiologist Assistant

Total stress score: 11.41
Conflict frequency score: 3.37
Hazard exposure score: 3.12
Stress tolerance score: 4.92

Average annual salary: $89,300
Total employment: 91,670

#24. Power-Line Installer

Total stress score: 11.44
Conflict frequency score: 3.12
Hazard exposure score: 4.6
Stress tolerance score: 3.72

Average annual salary: $62,094
Total employment: 114,540

#23. Fire Investigator

Total stress score: 11.44
Conflict frequency score: 3.43
Hazard exposure score: 3.56
Stress tolerance score: 4.45

Average annual salary: $53,376
Total employment: 11,370

#22. Flight Attendant

Total stress score: 11.44
Conflict frequency score: 3.99
Hazard exposure score: 2.77
Stress tolerance score: 4.68

Average annual salary: $42,022
Total employment: 98,510

#21. Geothermal Technician

Total stress score: 11.46
Conflict frequency score: 2.83
Hazard exposure score: 4.67
Stress tolerance score: 3.96

Average annual salary: $36,126
Total employment: 138,460

#20. Subway Operator

Total stress score: 11.47
Conflict frequency score: 3.63
Hazard exposure score: 3.34
Stress tolerance score: 4.5

Average annual salary: $54,471
Total employment: 11,300

#19. Medical Laboratory Technologist

Total stress score: 11.48
Conflict frequency score: 2.98
Hazard exposure score: 4.17
Stress tolerance score: 4.33

Average annual salary: $54,678
Total employment: 161,710

#18. Pump Operator

Total stress score: 11.56
Conflict frequency score: 2.85
Hazard exposure score: 4.2
Stress tolerance score: 4.52

Average annual salary: $41,643
Total employment: 12,170

#17. Oil Drill Operator

Total stress score: 11.57
Conflict frequency score: 3.29
Hazard exposure score: 4.2
Stress tolerance score: 4.08

Average annual salary: $50,061
Total employment: 26,480

#16. Elevator Installer

Total stress score: 11.66
Conflict frequency score: 2.67
Hazard exposure score: 4.93
Stress tolerance score: 4.06

Average annual salary: $68,792
Total employment: 20,590

#15. Stationary Engineer

Total stress score: 11.69
Conflict frequency score: 3.21
Hazard exposure score: 4.55
Stress tolerance score: 3.93

Average annual salary: $48,323
Total employment: 37,550

#14. Petroleum Pump Operator

Total stress score: 11.7
Conflict frequency score: 2.77
Hazard exposure score: 4.9
Stress tolerance score: 4.03

Average annual salary: $54,492
Total employment: 41,700

#13. Conveyor Operator

Total stress score: 11.72
Conflict frequency score: 3.17
Hazard exposure score: 4.3
Stress tolerance score: 4.25

Average annual salary: $31,891
Total employment: 38,830

#12. Correctional Officer Supervisor

Total stress score: 11.72
Conflict frequency score: 4.46
Hazard exposure score: 2.86
Stress tolerance score: 4.4

Average annual salary: $56,184
Total employment: 45,150

#11. Powerhouse Equipment Installer

Total stress score: 11.73
Conflict frequency score: 2.84
Hazard exposure score: 4.75
Stress tolerance score: 4.14

Average annual salary: $67,128
Total employment: 22,120

Most stressful jobs – #10. Police Supervisor

Total stress score: 11.74
Conflict frequency score: 4.17
Hazard exposure score: 2.81
Stress tolerance score: 4.76

Average annual salary: $68,973
Total employment: 101,420

Most stressful jobs – #9. Refrigeration Mechanic

Total stress score: 11.93
Conflict frequency score: 3.29
Hazard exposure score: 4.72
Stress tolerance score: 3.92

Average annual salary: $40,601
Total employment: 261,390

Most stressful jobs – #8. Gas Derrick Operator

Total stress score: 11.93
Conflict frequency score: 3.38
Hazard exposure score: 4.62
Stress tolerance score: 3.93

Average annual salary: $45,966
Total employment: 20,760

Most stressful jobs – #7. Nurse Anesthetist

Total stress score: 11.93
Conflict frequency score: 3.97
Hazard exposure score: 3.03
Stress tolerance score: 4.93

Average annual salary: $147,256
Total employment: 36,590

Most stressful jobs – #6. Power Plant Operator

Total stress score: 11.94
Conflict frequency score: 2.94
Hazard exposure score: 4.8
Stress tolerance score: 4.2

Average annual salary: $62,908
Total employment: 40,300

Most stressful jobs – #5. Furnace Operator

Total stress score: 11.98
Conflict frequency score: 3.59
Hazard exposure score: 4.72
Stress tolerance score: 3.67

Average annual salary: $34,012
Total employment: 20,590

Most stressful jobs – #4. Forest Firefighter

Total stress score: 12.08
Conflict frequency score: 3.61
Hazard exposure score: 4.08
Stress tolerance score: 4.39

Average annual salary: $38,890
Total employment: 308,790

Most stressful jobs – #3. Police Patrol Officer

Total stress score: 12.09
Conflict frequency score: 4.56
Hazard exposure score: 2.85
Stress tolerance score: 4.68

Average annual salary: $47,819
Total employment: 638,810

Most stressful jobs – #2. Quality Control Manager

Total stress score: 12.11
Conflict frequency score: 3.92
Hazard exposure score: 3.61
Stress tolerance score: 4.58

Average annual salary: $88,381
Total employment: 167,200

Most stressful jobs – #1. Continuous Mining Machine Operator

Total stress score: 12.21
Conflict frequency score: 3.25
Hazard exposure score: 4.9
Stress tolerance score: 4.06

Average annual salary: $43,099
Total employment: 11,540

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