Most Stressful Jobs

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.

25. Nurse Practitioner

Median Salary: $111,680

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 52.2%

In most states, nurse practitioners do a lot of what doctors do, such as seeing patients, prescribing medicines, ordering tests and diagnosing problems. It’s not the most stressful job, and there are generally more positives than negatives in this career, but it can come with stress.

You take care of people, some of whom may be very ill, and if you work with a difficult physician or difficult family members of patients, you could take a lot of frustrations home with you. There’s also a lot of medical and insurance red tape and regulations to deal with.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.

24. Information Security Analyst

Median Salary: $103,590

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 33.3%

In some ways, information security analyst sounds like the opposite of a stressful job. If you love computers, you’ll be immersed everything digital. You’ll create security barriers to keep hackers and cyberattacks at bay.

But if one day your defenses fail, and hackers do gain access to the company or client that your system is supposed to guard, that’s going to be stressful.

Learn more about information security analysts.

23. Structural Iron and Steelworker

Median Salary: $54,830

Education Needed: High school degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 5.9%

These workers help build bridges and buildings by installing iron or steel beams.

How stressful is it? Mostly, how you feel about your job depends on your ability and comfort level when working in dangerous situations. You could be working in very hot or cold weather and maneuvering at great heights. However, numerous safety regulations are in place to protect you.

Learn more about structural iron and steelworkers.

22. Cardiovascular Technologist

Median Salary: $59,100

Education Needed: Associate degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 8.1%

As a cardiovascular technologist, you’ll help diagnose and treat people with heart and blood vessel issues and diseases.

Some of the patients may be in poor health, and being around people who are scared they won’t be around much longer can be mentally taxing. You will also be on your feet much of the day. The hours might be irregular, since sometimes patients will need your help during evenings and weekends.

Learn more about cardiovascular technologists.

21. Construction Worker

Median Salary: $37,890

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

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 8%

In this job, you may do everything from pounding nails to digging ditches. Is it really stressful? Well, people are telling you what to do, and what you have to do is physical labor. The work can be challenging, while the paycheck may not always feel big enough for the sweat equity you put into this career, and there is also the possibility of injury.

Learn more about Construction workers.

20. Child and Family Social Worker

Median Salary: $48,430

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 12.6%

The good news: This is a job, usually in the government, in which you aim to make children’s lives better. When that happens, you won’t be tense at all; you’ll be overjoyed.

The stressful part? You’re going to meet children who may be homeless and may not be getting enough food or love. Coping with their hardship while trying to help can lead to a lot of stress and hand-wringing.

Learn more about child and family social workers.

19. Rehabilitation Counselor

Median Salary: $37,530

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 10.4%

In this job, you’ll help people get physically and emotionally healthier, often by getting them the services they need, like a wheelchair or access to a therapist.

But you’ll also see a lot of people at their worst. If you can manage to absorb that stress, you should be OK. What could affect your morale, though, are 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.

18. Surgeon

Median Salary: $208,000 or more

Education Needed: Doctoral degree, residency and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2030: -2.8%

In this profession, you could become a general surgeon, or you might specialize as an orthopedic surgeon or a neurological surgeon.

Surgeons operate for long hours and need to stay focused throughout a procedure. Sometimes they’re called to work at odd hours of the night. Then there’s the worry about malpractice lawsuits, and, of course, this is life or death. You’re certainly going to worry at times about making a mistake while operating.

Learn more about Surgeons.

17. Marriage and Family Therapist

Median Salary: $51,340

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 16.4%

These professionals work to restore harmony among couples who were once in love and now aren’t so sure.

The good news is that when you help a family get through a difficult marriage, and possibly fix a couple’s relationship, you’re going to feel elated.

That said, this can be a stressful job. You’ll often interact with people who are almost certainly dealing with conflict on a daily basis. You may be working with children who are affected by a divorce. When couples and children are angry, they may take it out on you.

Learn more about marriage and family therapists.

16. Paramedic

Median Salary: $36,650

Education Needed: Emergency medical technology and paramedic training and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 11%

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 and schools — wherever someone is sick or injured and unable to reach medical care on their own.

When a paramedic is needed, everyone is relieved to see you. You’re an instant hero. But this is a stressful job and considering what you do, the pay could be better. People you meet on the job are often not just hurt but scared. You’re often in a crisis situation — one after another.

Some people thrive on that type of stress. For others, it may be too much.

Learn more about paramedics.

15. Compliance Officer

Median Salary: $71,100

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 6.2%

In this job you’ll work to ensure companies and governing bodies don’t break internal policies and federal, state and local laws.

Is that that stressful of a job? Well, 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 anxiety and stress, especially if you’re not a detail-oriented person.

On top of that, you have to make sure employees and the employer are following policies and the law. If they refuse or take out their anger on you, you’ll find yourself in a stressful situation.

Learn more about compliance officers.

14. Clinical Social Worker

Median Salary: $57,630

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 13.2%

It’s easy to see why a job like this as a stressful one. 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.

13. Community Health Worker

Median Salary: $42,000

Education Needed: High school diploma

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 21.0%

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 stressful days.

After all, you’re meeting with sick adults and sick kids, and while it’s rewarding to help them, it will wear on you at times. What might get to you is when your community doesn’t have the budget for you to do everything you’d like to do to help the residents of your city.

Learn more about community health workers.

12. Firefighter

Median Salary: $52,500

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

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 8.5%

It’s pretty obvious why this job can be stressful. You are sometimes endangering your life, and the choices you make could endanger your fellow firefighters. Post-traumatic stress from firefighting incidents is pretty common.

On top of that, long shifts away from your family are often part of the job, and if you’re nursing injuries over the years, that, too, can take a toll on your psyche.

Learn more about firefighters.

11. Security Guard

Median Salary: $31,050

Education Needed: High school diploma

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 14.6%

This is a job that, at times, might be very relaxing. You’re standing guard, on the lookout for anything suspicious.

But it can be stressful. You could be overseeing a busy retail store, looking for shoplifters. You might go hours with very little to do, until suddenly you must order someone off the premises or call law enforcement to the scene.

Learn more about security guards.

10. Financial Analyst

Median Salary: $83,660

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 6.4%

In this job, you’ll probably offer financial advice to executives at a company. That part won’t be stressful.

But it can be a very stressful job with long hours. Imagine what it’s like to talk to executives or clients who are unhappy about the economy — and blaming your financial advice for losses at the firm.

When the economy is going great, you’ll probably love your job. When the economy is tanking, you’ll probably need some stress-relief strategies.

Learn more about financial analysts.

9. Sales Manager

Median Salary: $132,290

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 7.0%

Sales managers oversee a team of salespeople.

Companies often live or die by sales, so sales managers deal with a lot of pressure from the top, such as the owner of the company and other executives. You’ll be told to make sure your salespeople are meeting sales targets. Executives may tell you that the company’s fate lies in your sales team’s hands — and they won’t be completely wrong.

If you love selling, though, you may thrive on this sort of challenge.

Learn more about sales managers.

8. Mental Health Counselor

Median Salary: $48,720

Education Needed: Master’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 14.9%

Many people find this to be a meaningful and fulfilling career. After all, you’ll help diagnose people with mental and emotional disorders.

But it can be a stressful occupation. 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 the right help for clients is challenging. This job also doesn’t pay as much as other stressful occupations, but if you can clear your head at night of the day’s stresses, you should sleep well.

Learn more about mental health counselors.

7. Anesthesiologist

Median Salary: $208,000 or more

Education Needed: Doctoral degree, residency and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2030: -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.

How is this a stressful job, especially with the money you make? 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. One misstep on a bad day and someone could die. At times, it’s absolutely a stressful job.

Learn more about anesthesiologists.

6. Patrol Officer

Median Salary: $65,540

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

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 7.2%

This job isn’t always like what you see on TV. In your downtime, the stress may not be too bad and you could be writing reports and updating records. You might be on patrol, looking for trouble and not finding it.

But then sometimes you do. You may also work odd hours, and you could find yourself in a dangerous situation at any moment. Is the potential there to get stressed out? Absolutely.

Learn more about patrol officers.

5. IT Manager

Median Salary: $151,150

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 10.9%

The IT manager runs the show when it comes to all of the technological needs of a company. That may not sound stressful, but you’ll manage other IT workers, and you’ll have all of the stress that comes with management. Plus, if you think about the problems that can arise from a security breach or how a business can come to a standstill if the internet isn’t working, you’ll suddenly be the person everyone will turn to for help.

Learn more about IT managers

4. Construction Manager

Median Salary: $97,180

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree preferred

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 11.5%

The blueprints have been drawn, and you’re the one leading the charge to get a structure built. You’ll be securing work permits, hiring contractors and keeping the client informed on the progress.

But when things go wrong (and they will), and the client loses patience, your employer is angry that things aren’t moving fast enough, and your employees are complaining, that’s when you’ll see how skilled you are at managing stress.

Learn more about construction managers.

3. Physician

Median Salary: $208,000 or more

Education Needed: Doctoral degree, residency and licensure

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 4.5%

There are all sorts of physicians, from obstetricians to emergency room doctors to 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.

So why is this potentially a stressful job? Largely it depends on what you’re doing. If you’re delivering a cancer diagnosis or caring for an influx of patients during a pandemic or after a natural disaster — yes, you’re going to be frazzled.

Learn more about physicians.

2. Lawyer

Median Salary: $126,930

Education Needed: Doctoral or professional degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 8.9%

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.

It sounds mostly glamorous and not stressful. That said, it depends on the type of law you specialize in and your personality. If you’re helping anxiety-riddled hotheads through stressful situations such as bankruptcy, divorce or a DUI, you might take some of that residual stress home. The hours are also long, you may have a lot of debt from law school, and the complexities of the law — which is always changing — can be tough to keep up with. You’re going to have a lot on your plate.

Learn more about lawyers.

1. Financial Manager

Median Salary: $134,180

Education Needed: Bachelor’s degree

Expected Job Growth by 2030: 17.3%

Financial managers are in charge of a business’s financial records and often make big, important monetary decisions.

That’s a lot of responsibility. When the economy is suffering or the company isn’t bringing in enough revenue, and you’re weighing whether to let employees go, you’ll need to make difficult choices. If your company doesn’t meet its financial goals, you could be held accountable. So in this job, you need to be adept at managing stress.

Learn more about financial managers.

The 25 most stressful jobs:

— Nurse Practitioner.

— Information Security Analyst.

— Structural Iron and Steelworker.

— Cardiovascular Technologist.

— Construction Worker.

— Child and Family Social Worker.

— Rehabilitation Counselor.

— Surgeon.

— Marriage and Family Therapist.

— Paramedic.

— Compliance Officer.

— Clinical Social Worker.

— Community Health Worker.

— Mental Health Counselor.

— Firefighter.

— Security Guard.

— Financial Analyst.

— Sales Manager.

— Anesthesiologist.

— Construction Manager.

— Patrol Officer.

— IT Manager.

— Physician.

— Lawyer.

— Financial Manager.

More from U.S. News

The 25 Best Jobs of 2022

25 Best Jobs That Pay More Than $100K

16 Low-Stress Jobs

Most Stressful Jobs originally appeared on

Update 03/21/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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