It is well-known that some people can manage stress better than others and that some jobs have high levels of stress, while others are not as stressful.

It makes sense for people to pick a job that matches the amount and type of stress they are comfortable with.

So where can you get information on job stress levels?

One source is CareerCast, which did some analysis on 200 different jobs. Their ranking system for stress considers 11 different job demands that can reasonably be expected to evoke stress (see box).

Each demand is assigned a range of points. A high score is awarded if a particular demand is a major part of the job, fewer points are awarded if the demand is a small part of the job, and no points are awarded if that demand is not normally required.

For example, “deadlines” was one demand measured. Journalists, who often face daily deadlines, received the maximum of 9 points in this category. In contrast, barbers, who seldom face deadlines, received no points.

The demands measured and the point ranges assigned to each area are as follows:

Stress Factors

Scoring Range



Outlook/Growth potential

Income ÷ 100



Working in the public eye




Physical demands (stooping, climbing, etc.)


Environmental conditions


Hazards encountered


Own life at risk


Life of another at risk


Meeting the public


Total Maximum Points = 97 + Outlook/Growth Potential

To compute a score for each occupation, points are added together for all 11 categories.

It might not be the most scientific study, but the information is still interesting and can be useful as a starting point. As CareerCast mentions in the study:

The scores reflect only a typical stress profile for any given occupation. For any individual worker, stress can vary greatly depending on the particular working conditions, his or her boss and co-workers, mental outlook and a multitude of other factors which play a part in stress.

The 10 most stressful jobs are:

Commercial pilot

The pressure is high for commercial airline pilots. They are not only expected to guarantee the safety of passengers, but to also keep their flights on time, even when flying in inclement weather. A pilot’s irregular working hours and routes lead to continual layovers in various cities and, often, to jet lag.

Public relations officer

Public relations officers are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for many companies and government agencies. They typically are responsible for giving presentations and making speeches, often in front of large crowds. This highly competitive field and tight deadlines keep stress at high levels for specialists. Some PR officers are also required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.

Senior corporate executive

Corporate executives are in charge of formulating the policies and strategies for their companies, while also directing the operations. Senior executives are expected to have in-depth knowledge in many different fields. They face pressure to make company-wide decisions that can have far-reaching effects for the employees.


Photojournalists capture their stories through the lens of a camera. They are often on the frontlines of dangerous situations in order to get the story. Danger in the field, deadlines and technological glitches are factors why their jobs can be considered stressful.


Newscasters prepare and deliver the news on television or radio. They typically deliver the day’s news from inside the studio, but for larger stories they may broadcast from the field. In this 24-hour news-cycle society, the stress level for newscasters can be intense as they try to out-scoop their competitors and get the story out first.

Advertising account executive

Advertising account executives are responsible for acquiring and maintaining major accounts for their companies. The work requires a high level of creativity, attention to detail and self-motivation, under strict deadlines. In this cut-throat industry, competition is fierce, leading to emotional and mental stress. The long and irregular hours can be taxing as well.


Architects plan, design and oversee the construction of commercial or residential spaces. Their drawings and specifications are the roadmap that contractors use before a hammer hits the first nail. Architects often must cope with stress and pressure of turning work out under tight deadlines.


Stockbrokers facilitate the purchase or sale of stocks, bonds and securities for their investor clients. They often work for large brokerage firms. Their stress levels can ebb and flow with the ups and downs of the market.

Emergency medical technician (EMT) 

Emergency medical technicians are typically the first responders to emergency situations where medical care is needed. These technicians are often the lifeline for patients between the location of the accident and the hospital. The hours are long and often require 24-hour shifts.

Real estate agent

Real estate agents are the intermediaries between buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Agents work long, erratic hours including most weekends, spending much of their time showing properties to clients. The field is highly competitive, which can cause high levels of stress.