Low-Stress Jobs

The least stressful jobs that offer good work-life balance

With the pandemic continuing in 2023, and the possibility of a recession that could mean slower job growth, higher inflation and rising interest rates, jobs with a lower educational cost to get started, as well as better work-life balance, are desirable. This can help you navigate your career with much less emotional and financial stress. To help you find a more manageable career choice, we scoured our Best Jobs rankings for those occupations that have average or lower stress levels. These positions also offer above-average median incomes, which is great for your wallet.

Keep reading for a look at 17 low-stress jobs that pay well. Income and education data comes from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Landscaper and Groundskeeper

Median Salary: $34,430

Education Required: No formal educational credential

For some landscapers and groundskeepers, work is seasonal. Schedules may vary between busier seasons in the summer or spring. These workers are the reason landscapes and lawns near office buildings or other public spaces look trimmed and beautiful year-round.

To become a landscaper and groundskeeper, you aren’t required to have a formal education. In some states, you must be licensed to use pesticides. It takes about one year to train with pesticides on the job, but many landscapers and groundskeepers need less than a month of on-the-job training in order to get started in this profession.

Learn more about landscapers and groundskeepers.


Median Salary: $208,000

Education Required: Doctoral or professional degree

Orthodontist is ranked high on the Best Jobs list, at No. 14. Like other dentists, orthodontists can certainly have their own practice. This means more control over hours, and being your own boss, which may reduce stress. Some dentists work longer hours, but many work fewer than 40 hours a week.

Orthodontists must attend a dental program after college. To specialize, a residency of up to four years is required. Orthodontists must also obtain a state license in order to practice.

Learn more about orthodontists.

Software Developer

Median Salary: $120,730

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Software developers have some flexibility in the way that they work. Some are able to work part time, on a contract basis or even work remotely. This job also does not require an advanced degree to break into, the higher salary is attractive and there’s a great deal of demand for this work. Projected job growth is more than 25%, which is faster than the average, and the unemployment rate is low at 1.2%.

Software developer is ranked No. 1 Best Job for 2023, Best STEM Job and Best in Technology Jobs.

Learn more about software developers.

Web Developer

Median Salary: $77,030

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Web developers also have flexibility to work from home or work part time. Since a master’s degree is not required for this job, it does not come with a lot of student debt to worry about. Web developers build and maintain websites to ensure customer needs are met. They also test websites to make sure that they are easy to use and navigate. Job growth for this role is fast, at 30.3%.

Learn more about web developers.


Median Salary: $160,370

Education Required: Doctoral or professional degree

Some dentists run their own businesses. Being your own boss can definitely reduce stress and give you more flexibility with planning time off and choosing work hours. The higher salary may mean a better quality of life, and dentists are consistently in demand so there is job security in this profession.

Learn more about dentists.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Median Salary: $61,730

Education Required: Associate degree

Occupational therapy assistants, compared to other medical professions, may have more flexibility as far as work schedules. Clients usually come in by appointment and work stays at the office; you don’t take it home with you in the evenings. This can mean greater work-life balance.

Working one-on-one with clients on their healing plan is rewarding work and may also help offset stress levels.

Learn more about occupational therapy assistants.

Computer Systems Analyst

Median Salary: $99,270

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Computer systems analyst is another job that can be done from home, part time or by contract, which can provide work-life balance. With a higher salary, you can also have a higher quality of life with this role without being saddled with a lot of student debt. Computer system analysts review a company’s IT systems and recommend ways to improve them. This may involve new designs, upgrading existing software and hardware, as well as running tests. They may also do programming. Computer system analyst ranks No. 5 in Best Technology Jobs.

Learn more about computer systems analysts.

Data Scientist

Median Salary: $100,910

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

The stress level for this job depends on the field and the company a data scientist works for. It may be possible to set your own schedule when it comes to completing projects before moving on to the next one, according to Data Science Nerd. Data scientists gather data, create algorithms for computers to analyze it and then make recommendations for organizations based on the data. For example, some data scientists use their findings to conduct research or to develop a marketing strategy.

Learn more about data scientists.

Epidemiologist/Medical Scientist

Median Salary: $78,830

Education Required: Master’s degree

Epidemiologist/medical scientist ranks No. 1 in Best Science Jobs. Since epidemiologists or medical scientists can work in a range of different disciplines, they have flexibility when it comes to work and stress levels. While some epidemiologists may work in the field, others work in an office.

They organize studies to identify issues with public health, looking for patterns when it comes to disease and other health issues. They communicate their findings to public officials.

Learn more about job epidemiologist/medical scientists.


Median Salary: $105,900

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Actuaries assess the financial cost of unexpected events, such as natural disasters. Consulting actuaries that work in investment banking may have more demanding work schedules. However, actuaries working in other areas typically work 40 hours a week in an office setting. A consistent work schedule may mean good work-life balance.

Learn more about actuaries.


Median Salary: $124,300

Education Required: Doctoral or professional degree

Optometrists may occasionally have to work longer hours, but they are not on call. Dealing with emergencies is also rare. These combined factors mean a job with a more predictable work schedule that is lower stress compared to other professions in the medical field.

Learn more about optometrists.

Dental Hygienist

Median Salary: $77,810

Education Required: Associate degree

Dental hygienists tend to have more flexible schedules. Many are able to work part time, only a few days a week. They may also work at more than one dentist office. Dental hygienists clean teeth and educate patients about oral health and care.

Learn more about dental hygienists.

Physical Therapist Assistant

Median Salary: $61,180

Education Required: Associate degree

Most physical therapist assistants work full time, but some have the option to work part time. The work can be stressful when it comes to helping patients follow a treatment plan, however working under direct guidance of the physical therapist means they are not making critical decisions about a patient’s health. The job does not require a college degree, so a large amount of student debt is also not a concern.

PTAs are also responsible for guiding patients through exercises, educating them about their health and some administrative tasks. Aiding patients with recovering mobility and achieving their health goals is rewarding, which makes the hard work feel well worth it.

Learn more about physical therapist assistants.


Median Salary: $102,270

Education Required: Doctoral or professional degree

Biochemists earn a high salary, which can mean a better quality of life, and being able to make a real difference through research can be very rewarding. They study things like disease, molecular growth, nerve cells, heredity and other areas, depending on their specialization. Biochemist is ranked No. 2 in Best Science Jobs. Biochemists usually work regular hours, though sometimes they do need to work longer hours to meet deadlines.

Learn more about biochemists.

Biomedical Engineer

Median Salary: $97,410

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Biomedical engineers have lower stress compared with other medical jobs that require longer hours or that may be physically challenging. They may work more than 40 hours a week, but the work is also satisfying. They do research and development to make advancements in medical technology.

Learn more about biomedical engineers.

Recreation and Fitness Worker

Median Salary: $30,930

Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

If you’ve even been to summer camp or taken part in a recreational sport, then you’ve seen firsthand how recreation and fitness workers help people of all ages stay active. Recreation and fitness worker also has a below average stress score in the Best Jobs ranking. There’s high flexibility as far as work-life balance, since recreation workers often work weekends, part time or may take part in seasonal work.

To become a recreation and fitness worker, you need at least a high school diploma or equivalent as well as on-the-job training. But that goes by fast and may be less than a month.

Learn more about recreation and fitness workers.

Hearing Aid Specialist

Median salary: $59,500

Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Hearing aid specialists have a below average stress score in the Best Jobs ranking. Working with people who have hearing loss can be challenging, but it can also feel good to help people get back to a good state of hearing. You can enter this job without expensive college debt, which relieves some of the financial pressure.

Hearing aid specialists test hearing and try to find the best device that fits into a client’s ear, as well as the best device for their lifestyle. Hearing aid specialists should have a high school diploma or equivalent, and they also receive some on-the-job training.

Learn more about hearing aid specialists.

These are the best low-stress jobs:

— Landscaper and Groundskeeper.

— Orthodontist.

— Software Developer.

— Web Developer.

— Dentist.

— Occupational Therapy Assistant.

— Computer Systems Analyst.

— Data Scientist.

— Epidemiologist/Medical Scientist.

— Actuary.

— Optometrist.

— Dental Hygienist.

— Physical Therapist Assistant.

— Biochemist.

— Biomedical Engineer.

— Recreation and Fitness Worker.

— Hearing Aid Specialist.

More from U.S. News

Why Your College Major Does Not Define Your Career

How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace

How People With Disabilities Can Find Jobs

Low-Stress Jobs originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 02/16/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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