Top 10 Highest-Paying Jobs With Low Stress

by J. Money - Published March 27, 2019

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Looking for a new job?

One that pays well without much stress?

No problem – here’s a list of according to Money.com I just caught… Should be pretty easy to just go out and snag one, yeah? ;)

(Stress tolerances ranked from 0-100, with the lower the number the less stressful the job is, per The Department of Labor’s )

  1. Materials Scientists — Stress tolerance: 53 // Average salary: $101,910
  2. Mathematicians — Stress tolerance: 57 // Average salary: $104,700
  3. Economists — Stress tolerance: 59 // Average salary: $112,650
  4. Statisticians — Stress tolerance: 59 // Average salary: $88,980
  5. Geographers — Stress tolerance: 59 // Average salary: $76,790
  6. Physicists — Stress tolerance: 61 // Average salary: $123,080
  7. Chemical Engineers — Stress tolerance: 61 // Average salary: $112,430
  8. Political Scientists — Stress tolerance: 61 // Average salary: $112,030
  9. Software Applications Developers — Stress tolerance: 61 // Average salary: $106,710
  10. Materials Engineers — Stress tolerance: 61 // Average salary: $98,610

So basically, the better you are with numbers the better the chance of striking gold! Perhaps since numbers can never talk back or disrespect you?! ;)

I also like that none of these jobs came anywhere close to having a stress level tolerance of 0, haha… Probably because *those* jobs pay next to nothing to have that much fun! Not unlike blogging, where you can make anywhere from $0.00/year to $1,000,000/year with an exact median of $5.00/year – hah!

Still, I like these lists better than the “highest paying jobs in the world” types we’ve shared before since it encompasses a much more well-rounded picture than focusing simply on the money.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you’re a highly emotional individual like yours truly, these things tend to matter to your quality of life! Or possibly even having a life, for that matter!

For example, here’s a smattering of some of the more lucrative jobs we’ve featured on this site in the past, of which I’d maybe try two of them if ever forced to, haha…

  1. Neurosurgeon –> $643,000
  2. Petroleum Engineer –> $265,000 (here’s the first, though not sure exactly what it entails?)
  3. Dentist –> $253,000
  4. Petroleum Geologist –> $247,000
  5. Actuary –> $208,000 (and here’s the second – because death!!!)
  6. Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) –> $205,000
  7. Underwater Welders –> $100+/hr
  8. Tattoo Artists –> $100+/hr

Fun to dream about though and how much faster it would get you to FIRE! :) Anyone here rock any of these jobs and can give us some good insight?

Here’s the two posts where these come from if anyone’s interested: 10 Jobs That Make at Least $100 an Hour, and The 6 Best (And Highest Paying!) Jobs in America

How about your job? How would you rate both its stress and pay?

Does it match your personality/lifestyle, or are you completely chasing the money???

It takes all kinds to run this world, so I thank you for your contribution regardless! :)

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Can't Say Where I Work March 27, 2019 at 6:35 am

I left my low stress job for a higher stress job (slightly higher paying job) at a growing company. This is my first experience with a company that is growing so quickly and making money hand over fist that we cannot keep up with demand. You would think, hey great, but every day is an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows as we scramble to keep up with demand.

I decided to switch from low stress for higher stress in exchange for a big pay off in 2-3 years (going public). I just hope I don’t lose my mind!

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2 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Sounds like an adventure at the least! Haha… I feel like most of us can do anything for 2-3 years if we really had a good carrot dangling in front of us which it seems like you do :) The trick is knowing when to bail if that pot at the end never comes!

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3 Anon March 27, 2019 at 7:34 am

As yesterday was a rather stressful day, I would not be giving a fair assessment. It is a matter of trying to meet a deadline, when my group just got the paperwork we needed. Thank goodness it is a relatively rare occurrence. If it happens too often, moving forward it will negatively affect my job satisfaction.

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4 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Sorry to hear! I hope it doesn’t become a common thing for you!

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5 Pharm.D. March 27, 2019 at 7:43 am

O*Net is pretty accurate. It ranks pharmacist as 91. Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. I would rank it at 100! The pay is excellent, but you are under fire from the second you step foot in there until the second you leave…every. single. day. If you’re already in it, I shouldn’t have to tell you to save your stash as quickly as you can and get out. If you’re young and thinking about pharmacy school…don’t. You’ve been warned.

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6 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:21 pm

Wow really?? I would have never guessed that about pharmacy work… I’m glad it pays well to help make up for it! :)

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7 Brandy March 27, 2019 at 8:09 am

I think the high-stress versus low stress is more related to where you work and what the company culture is like. You can have two people with the same job skills but working in 2 different companies and get totally different results based on what the corporate culture is like.

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8 Scott March 27, 2019 at 9:09 am

I was thinking the same thing. The same job at different companies or even in different locations could lead to very different levels of stress. Add on the commute and that’s a whole other factor into your stress.

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9 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Excellent points…. throw in the *people* and even *bosses* too and it could be a world of a difference even at the same company!

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10 [HCF] March 27, 2019 at 8:15 am

As a Web Applications Developer, I can tell that this ranking is probably right, however, I would point out that the stress levels can vary depending on the company and the management. I would add that your stress level could be anywhere in the 30-90 range. Can not talk about salaries as I don’t live in the US and I earn a fraction of that amount. Being in the lower end of the stress spectrum I am kind of ok with that sacrifice though.

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11 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Could you take on clients from the US and then get paid as such? Like freelance work? Or not that easy to do?

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12 [HCF] March 28, 2019 at 3:35 am

Actually, I could, but finding clients and managing a business is not an easy task in my opinion. Also, if you want to go for a transition from employment to freelance you better have a 6-12 months living costs saved up to smooth it out. These are missing prerequisites yet :)

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13 Sam March 28, 2019 at 10:10 pm

Going to freelance from full time would be possible, but it’s going to be difficult. I managed the transition because I had an understanding boss who allowed me to work fewer days in the week while I built up a client base. Without that, you’d need a fair bit of money as [HCF] says, that and some big balls.

Managing your own business comes with it’s own challenges too, working for mostly overseas clients would mean you’re likely out of sync time wise. You’ll probably have meetings at unsociable times. This, and the fact that you’ll be working from home means there will be very little separation between work and life.

This is all going to serve to increase the stress of work. On the other hand most people are going to be able to earn more than working locally, meaning they’ll either be better off, or may not need to work a full week, or both. Plus for me personally, I’ve never felt more secure in work – it took a couple of years, but I am always backed up now – haven’t had to go looking for work for probably over a year. So more stress, not a great work/life balance, but it has it’s benefits. :)

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14 Nate March 27, 2019 at 8:17 am

Chemical Engineer right here… sort of. By education anyway. The chemical part has dwindled over the years in practice. But I’ll agree it’s always been relatively low stress. Looks like I need to ask for a raise based on your average salary listed there. I’m a little shy of that number.

Surprised to see political scientists on the list. What’s more stressful than talking about, thinking about, or pretty much doing anything related to politics?

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15 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:32 pm

Definitely not something you can talk about in the public without punched in the face every which way, haha…

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16 Adam March 27, 2019 at 8:35 am

My brother’s a geographer with the Census Bureau. Usually his job is pretty stress-free… except when politics start vying against established procedure. He hasn’t been particularly enjoying the last two years. But he still makes almost twice what I do (and a good bit more than what’s listed above)!

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17 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:33 pm

I don’t think he’s alone in that :)

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18 Joe March 27, 2019 at 10:26 am

Interesting. STEM is still pretty good. I think it really depends on your employer.
Research seems less stressful than development in STEM.

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19 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:38 pm

I literally had to google what STEM was today haha… It’s one of those acronyms I can never remember!

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20 Lorrie March 27, 2019 at 10:35 am

My fiancee is actually an underwater welder! He’s a commercial diver by trade and there is good money in it if you can do that sort of thing…lol

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21 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:33 pm

HA!! Awesome!!! First time I’ve ever heard anyone say they do that! :)

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22 Life Outside The Maze March 27, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Cool list, side bonus to being good at numbers in addition to making you some good cash at a low stress level is that then you being good at numbers makes you even more cash at an even lower stress level when you invest wisely with your number knowledge. My advice is to take what you are good at and what aspects of work make the time go by fast and then find the highest possible paid role in that area. No matter what the salary, you will not make a lucrative career unless you can get into it right? Thanks for the info J. Money :)

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23 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Thanks for adding to the convo! :)

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24 RN March 27, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Critical Care RN here. Extremely stressful job-90-95. (No kidding-life & death!). Decent pay. $ 62.00/hour after 40 years. 3 days a week of 12 hours each day is a bonus. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I’m there at the best & worst time of people’s lives and I feel I make a difference in life.

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25 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:35 pm

Oh wow, I can imagine… Does it help you appreciate your own mortality too, or not as much since you’ve been doing it for a while?

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26 Crystal Stemberger March 27, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Well, I own a pet sitting business and we have rental property. Crystal’s Cozy Care brings in $40,000 a year and is growing (brings in $90,000+ but our contract employees make about 55-60%). Rental brings in $21,000. I’d rate pet sitting as a stress level 45 only because of the occasional emergencies that pop up. Day-to-day norm is around 30. Rental property is like a 50 stress level (emergencies like the a/c dying or the toilet bowl upstairs cracking down the middle and the water went through the ceiling) with a day-to-day being around 10.

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27 J. Money March 27, 2019 at 5:36 pm

I love that you’re still doing Cozy Care :) I remember when you first started it!! Such a good fit for you :)

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28 Crystal Stemberger March 28, 2019 at 1:30 am

Right?! It really is. I get to meet the owners and pets at the premeets and then sometimes cover jobs for our contract employees if something comes up or they have the day off. People and fur clients. It’s great!

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29 J. Money March 28, 2019 at 6:04 pm

Haha… The Good Life :)

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30 Nita March 28, 2019 at 4:23 am

I’m a chemist, employed by the government.

I’m protected (lowers the stress a LOT) and well paid (for government here, I’m in one of the best-paying departments) for a reasonably stressful job, say around 60, but I can easily make it higher these days because of my very low tolerance for BS.

However… moving up the ladder would increase the stress to at least 80, so I’m meh about it.
I’m thinking of a lateral move in statistics or web development later (I have solid basics of both and can learn) if it makes sense in income increase and work conditions (especially work from home, which I’d love, but you can’t when you’re a chemist obviously).
Same thing as [HCF], I’d still only make a fraction of the salaries displayed here, though.

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31 J. Money March 28, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Very cool you have options, at least!! AND that you know yourself well enough that you don’t want to take on any more stress to the situation… I learned that the hard way once moving up to a more managerial position instead of just doing the stuff I actually *enjoyed* doing.. (Why is it that when you get good at something the next step is often managerial when managing people has nothing to do with the actual *work* you just got good at?)

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32 Leila March 29, 2019 at 9:54 am

I am a microbiologist for the government and make about $53K at 25 y/o (with my Masters degree).

I can say my job is not really stressful at all. I spend most of my time in the lab, so the main thing that gets stressful is spending hours on an experiment only for it to fail, but that’s just how science works!

If I’m not in the lab I am at my desk reading science articles, writing research updates, or updating my lab notebook/stats.

I don’t have to clock in or out, or even submit timesheets. I typically work M-F 7-3 (I luckily get to choose my own schedule).

I take a pretty long lunch everyday where I eat then take a walk around campus and read a book for leisure.

Ultimately I want to be a full time blogger and youtuber, so this job allows me to spend my free time at home working on those goals!

I honestly can’t complain because I work under a great mentor with a great team and this job beats all my past customer service jobs significantly! :)

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33 J. Money March 29, 2019 at 1:49 pm

You have totally found yourself a dream job! Haha… that sounds magnificent! And you’re only 25 too – your journey has only just begun! Soak it all in!

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34 ERIK April 3, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Yo J Money. I’m a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA or Nurse Anesthetist). And I have to say IT’S THE BEST JOB I EVER HAD. I’m in the business to better lives and occasionally save a life so the work can be somewhat stressful at times.

I have been a follower of your blog since 2012. Back then my wife and I were worth a minus $150K and 7 years later we are now a positive $350K two kids under the age 4. We feel very lucky to have this career that allows us to build wealth even while going down to 1 income. By my simple calculations, my total compensation is closer to $235K per year: 8 weeks paid time off, 401(k) profit sharing of $25K per year, FREE PPO health plan w/ $6K into a HSA, 1/2 FICA taxes, $5K bonus, $2.5K continuing education fund.

In a month, I’m about to embark on a new adventure: become self-employed as a CRNA. This FIRE community has been tremendous on this journey. Thank you!

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35 J. Money April 4, 2019 at 7:19 am

Nice man!!!

Way to find something that warms your heart as well as your wallet! :)

And 2012 – wow… that’s a long time to be reading this blog, haha… I’m glad you’re still enjoying it!

Looks like we were around $300k net worth back then with 0 kids and only 1 income, and now we’re up to 2 incomes, $800k net worth and 3 kids! Everything is expanding! Haha…

Keep saving those lives! :)

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