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Top Most Stressful Jobs in America

top most stressful jobs in america

Everyone deals with stress and pressure in their own way at work.

Whether you are a server at a restaurant, managing a small team of three people, or running your own business with over 100 members of staff. Everyone’s stress is relative to their life and their jobs. It’s not a competition at the end of the day. 

Those who don’t feel stressed with work, good for them! That, for most people, however, is a challenge. Many people will realize that work-life balance is very important, especially with mental health problems sweeping the nation. 

However, there are more stressful jobs than others when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. So, What are the Top Most Stressful Jobs in America? I’ll get to that very soon, but first, let’s discuss…

Stress In The Work Place

Does it surprise you that 94% of people surveyed admitted feeling stressed at work? And of that, 35% of people report that stress is due to their boss. Management and higher figures in the workplace are the main sources of stress at work, whether their attitude or demands. 

80% of people reported that a change in leadership could affect their stress levels, whether for better or worse. Another alarming figure shows that 63% of Americans in 2019 were ready to quit their jobs due to stress. This was right before the pandemic; perhaps working conditions changed, and working from home benefited many employees and significantly changed their stress levels. 

Top Most Stressful Jobs In America – What Makes A Job Stressful?

Many factors contribute to a stressful working life. These include;


Some job roles demand you travel and spend long periods away from home. Look at military personnel, for example. They spend large amounts of time away from their families and friends, working in demanding roles and witnessing horrific events. This can cause a lot of stress and worry for an individual.

Growth Potential

Many people are stuck in jobs with low salaries and little to no growth potential. This makes it stressful to predict the future, plan a family or think of moving forward due to a lack of growth opportunities.


Working to deadlines is stressful for most of us, especially if we have a lot of work and other demanding things. Not only do staff have to try and maintain a healthy work-life balance, but they may also have a family, another job, or other commitments. Constant deadlines to meet it can make for a very stressful life.


Working in an environment where you are always competing to be seen and heard is likely to cause stress and anxiety to most of us. It doesn’t matter how confident you are in your work; this can cause burnout and anxiety.

How To Manage Stress

It’s important to find productive ways to manage your stress at work. Stress will affect your performance and mental well-being, so it’s essential to get on top of it before you suffer burnout. 

Remember, the key things to help you and your body in the first place come down to diet and exercise. Make sure you are eating good brain-stimulating food while at work and home, and try to fit in some exercise. That could even mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator. 

Manage Time Efficiently 

Create a to-do list and work from the top down. Don’t skip things, then stress that you haven’t completed them. List everything according to deadlines and importance. Having something visually to look at and help you with your daily tasks can take the stress and pressure from your mind that’s probably spinning with 100 things to do. 


Something a lot of us struggle with. If you can avoid taking your work home, it will benefit you as you feel you’re actually clocking out. Take time to recharge, leave your work phone in the office, and don’t look at your emails until the next working day.

Be positive

We know we can’t completely eliminate stress and those feelings that creep upon us, but we can change our mindset. Try to think positively about what you can do to ease your stress, whether writing a to-do list or taking a long walk, or perhaps working outside for the afternoon. Do what makes you feel good.

The Top Most Stressful Jobs In America

Top Most Stressful Jobs

1 – Enlisted Military Personnel

Average Salary: Varies greatly depending on the role.

A job in the military consists of grueling training, learning the essential skills to fight in combat, and ultimately going to war and fighting in other countries. It often requires individuals to leave their homes for long periods and put themselves in life-threatening conditions. It also involves witnessing killings, horrendous acts of violence, and traumatic experiences for civilians.

More often than not, soldiers come back with issues such as PTSD due to the things they have witnessed during their work. However, a career in the military does come in all shapes and sizes! Whether you decide to be on the front line or working in the background, all these roles fulfill people by giving them the reassurance they are fighting for their country.

If stress is your thing, then it doesn’t get more extreme than the Navy SEALs; if you think you can handle it, find out How to become a Navy SEAL.

2 – Surgeon

Average Salary: $342,580

There’s a reason why surgeons earn such a healthy salary. They require over ten years of study, but they have to put themselves in very stressful situations every day and literally have someone else’s life in their hands. 

Whether a neurosurgeon or a plastic surgeon, they will work on people’s bodies in vulnerable states. You may not feel sorry for someone earning so much money and wondering how they could feel stressed, but remember, we’re talking about work stress here. How would you feel with someone’s body lying on a table in your hands? 

3 – Firefighter

Average Salary: $51,555

Firefighters choose a dangerous profession. Again, like the military, which could result in death. While most people would run out of a burning building, they run in. Luckily, they are well trained.

 In the state of California, it takes around four years to qualify as a professional firefighter; it may vary from State to State. You must complete EMT training too to assist in life or death situations. Often firefighters also witness unimaginable scenes. Another job that puts you in the eyes of death and danger; no wonder it can be stressful.

Sound interesting? Then find out more in my informative look at How to Become a Firefighter.

4 – Pilot

Average Salary: $134,440

A pilot is another stressful job role. With lots of travel and time spent away from home, pilots truly live life up in the sky. Depending on which plane a pilot flies, they are often responsible for hundreds of people and their lives.

 They must fly in unexpected weather conditions and keep people calm in any instance of disturbance. With technology so advanced today, pilots do have help in the aircraft. However, when it comes to it, there have been situations where pilots have had to land their planes in water and on land, not always on a runway. 

Want to fly and safeguard the US? Then check out How to Become an Air Force Pilot.

5 – Police Officer

Police Officer

Average Salary: $67,600

A police officer works with the public to protect the public. As a police officer, you will likely witness shootings, death, car accidents, overdoses, and abuse, among other things. 

Not only can that cause stress to you, but you must also have thick skin and try to leave work at work and not bring it home with you. It is a job that changes daily, and often you’ll have no idea what you’ll be dealing with that day. In 2021, can you believe that 73 police officers were killed in the line of duty. 

Want to help the community? All you need to know can be found in How to Become a Police Officer.

6 – E.R Nurse

Average Salary: $80,000

Just as we are getting over the pandemic, it’s safe to say nurses probably had one of the most stressful jobs, especially in the past few years. 

With the fear-mongering of the pandemic high and people worried going into work that they wouldn’t make it out alive, nurses’ mental health was definitely put on the line and stretched. Nurses are the link between patients and doctors and often the ones you build a connection with. They truly are angels. 

7 – Emergency Dispatcher

Average Salary: $38,000

An emergency dispatcher is the first port of call when speaking to someone about an emergency. First of all, emergency dispatchers have to think on their feet, and anything they do or say could affect someone’s or multiple people’s lives. 

Dispatchers have received praise and reached national news for some of their cool and collected responses on the phone. Whether they are dealing with a young child whose parents are in trouble or a hostage situation, dispatchers answer stressful calls every day. It can cause PTSD and anxiety through thinking of what things could have been. Therefore it lands number seven as the most stressful job.

Think you can handle the pressure? Find out more in my look at How to Become a Police Despatcher.

8 – Journalist

Average Salary: $48,300

You may be thinking, how has a journalist earned a top spot on this list? It’s not like they are dealing with life or death situations, although, believe it or not, they can be. Let’s look at an extreme example of a journalist reporting on serial killers, murderers, gangs, or high profile people; they could become a target. Many journalists have lost their lives in the line of work. 

Although this is not the main concern, journalists do not get paid very well. They have to work long hours. If a story they are working on breaks before they can report it, it can affect their career. If you strike it lucky, you can make big bucks, but it is a very competitive job role.

Want to put pen to paper? Then take a look at my in-depth Journalist Job Description.

9 – Social Worker

Average Salary: $51,760

Social workers often deal with large workloads and stressful situations surrounding abuse, domestic violence, and children in very vulnerable situations. This is already a tell-tale sign of a stressful job. 

Social work is one of the fastest-growing careers in the states. In 2020 there will be more than 715,000 social worker jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2030 social work will grow by 12%. Although the role is stressful, there are benefits. You may take on cases where you solve issues between families and help vulnerable children. 

Thinking of helping those around you? Everything you need to know is in our article on How to Become a Social Worker.

10 – Teacher

Average Salary: $60,909 (Public School)

You may be thinking, why have teachers topped this list? Pay rises throughout their careers, long holidays, and hanging out with cute kids all day sounds fun. 

However, teachers often never stop working. They take markings home with them. They deal with vulnerable children. They have the responsibility of teaching and shaping children for their future while sticking to a strict curriculum and making sure children learn and develop appropriately. They also have to handle classes of up to 40 students at a time. That takes patience!

Interested? Well, check out How to Become a Teacher.

The Top 10 Least Stressful Jobs

Least Stressful Jobs

If you don’t fancy taking on a stressful job, let’s take a look at some of the less stressful options that could be available to you! Now, this is just a list. Remember, everyone deals with stress differently, so if you are in any of these professions and feel stress in the workplace, that’s valid too. 

This data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Landscaper – Average Salary: $29,250
  • Web Developer – Average Salary: $77,200
  • Massage Therapist: – Average Salary: $43,620
  • Dental Hygienist – Average Salary: $77,000
  • Occupational Therapist – Average Salary: $86,280
  • Physical Therapist – Average Salary: $59,770
  • Orthodontist – Average Salary: $208,000
  • Dentist – Average Salary: $164,000
  • Data Scientist – Average Salary: $98,230
  • Statistician – Average Salary: $92,770

You’re Going To Need An Amazing Resume!

And that’s where we can help! Let’s start with my top online choices such as Your Guide To A Stand Out Modern Resume – Make Your Resume The One That Stops the 6-Second Scroll, or find out how to Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired, as well as Resume: Writing 2023 – The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Resume that Lands YOU the Job!.

In addition, I also recommend using How to Write the Perfect Resume: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Get the Job You Want, as well as The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Writing a Winning Resume, and the Knock ’em Dead Resumes: A Killer Resume Gets MORE Job Interviews!, all available online in 2023.

Our website also boasts a collection of great articles such as my Best Resume Format Guide, my Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes, or perhaps you’d like to know Does A Resume Need An Objective, or How Long Should A Resume Be, or even How Many Years You Should Go Back On A Resume, and How To Show A Promotion On Your Resume.

Top Most Stressful Jobs in America – Final Thoughts

It is only human to have stress in any work role. That’s not to say that the least stressful jobs in America’s employees don’t suffer from anxiety from time to time. 

However, the top 10 stressful jobs that made this list often involve risks to either someone’s own life or has someone else’s life in their hands. 

Remember, many resources are available if you feel stressed at work. It is essential to try and keep positive mental health well-being to avoid burnout. Take some time or speak to your superiors if you are struggling.

Good luck, and I hope you find your perfect job!

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