The Most Stressful Jobs in the U.S. in 2021

Top stressful jobs

Every job has its downsides and share of stress, but some jobs are more stressful than others. Maybe it’s the tight deadlines, demanding schedule or simply the fact that the work involves life-and-death situations. But it’s undeniable that some careers, even if they’re glamorous or emotionally rewarding, can be especially stressful.

If you’re someone who actually thrives in such a role, read on to learn more about the 25 most stressful jobs, which are drawn from the U.S. News Best Jobs rankings. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Physician

Median Salary: $206,500

Education Needed: Doctoral degree, residency and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4.3%

There are all sorts of physicians, from obstetricians to emergency room doctors and dermatologists and urologists. Or you might be a primary care provider. When you’re helping people feel better or maintain their health, you’re going to feel great. But when you’re delivering a cancer diagnosis or caring for an influx of patients during a pandemic — or both — yes, you’re going to be stressed.

Learn more about physicians.

IT Manager

Median Salary: $146,360

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 10.4%

The IT manager runs the show when it comes to all of the technological needs of a company. If you think about how a business can come to a standstill if the internet isn’t working or the problems that can arise from a security breach, you’ll start to see how IT manager can be a stressful job.

Learn more about IT managers.

Anesthesiologist

Median Salary: $208,000

Education Needed: Doctoral degree, residency and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 0.5%

Anesthesiologists are doctors who administer general or regional anesthesia, which allows surgeons and other physicians to operate without the patient feeling pain or discomfort. It’s a potentially risky and deadly procedure, so anesthesiologists need to carefully monitor a patient’s vital signs before, during and after a surgery. At times, it’s absolutely a stressful job.

Learn more about anesthesiologists.

Financial Manager

Median Salary: $129,890

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 15.5%

Financial managers are in charge of a business’s financial records and often make big, important monetary decisions. When the economy is rough or the company isn’t bringing in enough revenue, and you’re starting to wonder if you need to suggest letting employees go, you’ll need to make difficult choices.

Learn more about financial managers.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Median Salary: $49,610

Education Needed: Master’s degree

>Expected Job Growth by 2029: 22.3%

These professionals work to restore harmony among couples who were once in love and now aren’t so sure. In this job, you often interact with people who are almost certainly dealing with conflict on a daily basis. You may be working with children who are affected after a divorce. The career can be stressful, but it’s also hugely rewarding when you are able to help mend relationships and make a difference.

Learn more about marriage and family therapists.

Lawyer

Median Salary: $122,960

Education Needed: Doctoral or professional degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4%

Lawyers help clients navigate the legal world. They might represent individuals, businesses or government agencies. They may appear in court on behalf of clients or never see a courtroom. Stressful? It probably depends on the type of law you specialize in and your personality. But if you’re helping people through stressful situations such as bankruptcy, divorce or a DUI, you might take some of that residual stress home.

Learn more about lawyers.

Surgeon

Median Salary: $208,000

Education Needed: Doctoral degree, residency and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2029: -2.2%

In this profession you could become a general surgeon, or you might specialize as an orthopedic surgeon or a neurological surgeon. Stressful? Well, this is life or death. Surgeons operate for long hours and need to stay focused throughout a procedure.

Learn more about surgeons.

Compliance Officer

Median Salary: $69,050

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4.6%

In this job you’ll be making sure companies and governing bodies don’t break internal policies and federal, state and local laws. In certain industries, such as finance and health care, this is much harder than it might sound. Preventing violations of policy and law, as well as keeping up with new and changing regulations, can be sources of stress. You also have to be very detail-oriented, which stresses some people out.

Learn more about compliance officers.

Construction Manager

Median Salary: $95,260

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree preferred

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 8.5%

The blueprints have been drawn, and you’re the one leading the charge to get this structure built. You’ll be securing work permits, hiring contractors and keeping the client informed on the progress. When things go wrong (and they will), and the client loses patience, that’s when you’ll see how skilled you are at managing stress.

Learn more about construction managers.

Mental Health Counselor

Median Salary: $46,650

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 16.8%

In this career, you’ll help diagnose people with mental and emotional disorders, and you will regularly interact with people who are stressed, depressed and ill. You may have a large number of cases to deal with at once, and sometimes getting clients the right help is challenging. This job also doesn’t pay as much as other stressful occupations, but many people find it to be a meaningful and fulfilling career.

Learn more about mental health counselors.

Clinical Social Worker

Median Salary: $56,750

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 14.4%

You’re often working with people at the worst moments in their lives. You might be working with children in foster care, people affected by drugs or domestic violence victims. You’re going to do a lot of good in the world, but you’re going to see a lot that would stress anyone out.

Learn more about clinical social workers.

Child and Family Social Worker

Median Salary: $47,390

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 11.7%

The good news? This is a job usually in the government in which you’re trying to make children’s lives better. The bad? You’re going to meet children who may be homeless and who may not be getting enough food or love. Coping with their hardship while trying to help can lead to a lot of stress.

Learn more about child and family social workers.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Median Salary: $35,950

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 10.3%

You’re helping people get physically and emotionally healthier, often by getting them the services they need, like a wheelchair or access to a therapist. You’re seeing a lot of people when they are stressed. If you can manage to not transfer that stress to you, you should be OK. What may affect you, though, are your possible student loans. You deserve a higher paycheck for the work you do and the education you need for this job.

Learn more about rehabilitation counselors.

Firefighter

Median Salary: $50,850

Education Needed: A high school diploma, and then a training course through a fire academy.

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 6.1%

We know what you’re thinking: What could possibly be stressful about fighting a little fire? OK, so this one’s pretty obvious. Also, aside from the fact that you’re sometimes endangering your life, and that the choices you make could endanger your fellow firefighters, long shifts away from your family are often part of the job.

Learn more about firefighters.

Patrol Officer

Median Salary: $63,150

Education Needed: At least a high school degree; often, more education and training required

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 5.7%

It isn’t like you see on TV. Often, patrol officers are writing reports and updating records. You might often be on patrol, looking for trouble and not finding it. But then sometimes you do. If you pull someone over for a speeding ticket, are you thanked for being concerned about their safety? Probably not. You work odd hours, and there’s always the chance of being in a dangerous situation at any moment. Is the potential there to get stressed out? Absolutely.

Learn more about patrol officers.

Sales Manager

Median Salary: $126,640

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 3.5%

Sales managers oversee a team of salespeople. Companies often live or die by sales, and so there is a lot of pressure for sales managers to put pressure on salespeople to meet sales targets. If you love selling, though, you may thrive on that sort of challenge.

Learn more about sales managers.

Financial Analyst

Median Salary: $81,590

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 5.5%

In this job, you’ll probably be offering financial advice to executives at a company. That won’t be stressful, but when the economy goes south and executives are frustrated by the company’s finances, there will likely be days that you wish you had stayed home.

Learn more about financial analysts.

Paramedic

Median Salary: $35,400

Education Needed: Emergency medical technology and paramedic training and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 6.4%

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians care for patients in the real world, sometimes far from a doctor’s office or hospital. They’re called into homes, businesses, restaurants, schools — wherever somebody is sick or injured and unable to get to medical care on their own. They’re in situations where people are often not just hurt but scared. Some people thrive on that type of stress. For others, it may be too much.

Learn more about paramedics.

Cardiovascular Technologist

Median Salary: $57,720

Education Needed: Associate degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 5.4%

As a cardiovascular technologist, you’ll help diagnose and treat people with heart and blood vessel issues and diseases. Your stress level may vary, but some of the patients may be in poor health, and that may be taxing. You will also be on your feet much of the day.

Learn more about cardiovascular technologists.

Structural Iron and Steelworker

Median Salary: $55,040

Education Needed: High school degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 4.7%

These workers help build bridges and buildings by installing iron or steel beams. How stressful is it? Mostly, it depends on your ability to work in dangerous situations. You could be working in very hot or cold weather, maneuvering at great heights. However, numerous safety regulations are in place to protect you.

Learn more about structural iron and steelworkers.

Construction Worker

Median Salary: $36,860

Education Needed: No degree needed; on-the-job training

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 5.4%

In this job you may be doing everything from pounding nails to digging ditches. Stressful? Well, people are telling you what to do, and what you have to do is physical labor. The work can be challenging, and there is the possibility of injury.

Learn more about construction workers.

Community Health Worker

Median Salary: $40,360

Education Needed: High school diploma

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 15.2%

Community health workers often help members of the public get better access to good health care. For example, they may help children get better nutrition or help someone with HIV get affordable medicine. You’ll feel good when you are able to help people, but you’ll likely have some frustrating moments.

Learn more about community health workers.

Physician Assistant

Median Salary: $112,260

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 31.3%

Physician assistants practice medicine but under the general supervision of a doctor. The doctor is usually never in the room with the physician assistant and patient, but the physician will be reviewing the charts later. Is it a stressful job? Like any job, it has stressful moments since you’re dealing with patients of all sorts and a lot of regulations in the world of medicine. It can be especially stressful or rewarding, though, depending on how well you get along with the doctor overseeing you.

Learn more about physician assistants.

Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $109,820

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 52.4%

In most states, nurse practitioners do a lot of what a doctor does, seeing patients and prescribing medicines, ordering tests and diagnosing problems. It’s not the most stressful job, but it can come with stresses. You’re taking care of patients, some of whom may be very ill, and there’s a lot of medical and insurance red tape and regulations to deal with.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Median Salary: $100,980

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2029: 31.5%

Professionals in this career run a health care facility, dealing with doctors and people who work in health insurance. You’ll navigate personalities, egos, insurance billing issues, medical software and electronic health records that are always changing. You may be great at the job, but it’s certainly a position that has the potential to be very stressful.

Learn more about medical and health services managers.

These are some of the most stressful jobs:

— Physician.

— IT Manager.

— Anesthesiologist.

— Financial Manager.

— Marriage and Family Therapist.

— Lawyer.

— Surgeon.

— Compliance Officer.

— Construction Manager.

— Mental Health Counselor.

More from U.S. News

The Fastest-Growing Jobs in America

The Best Medical Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

25 Best Jobs for High School Graduates

The Most Stressful Jobs in the U.S. in 2021 originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 03/15/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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