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The 10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2010

Musical Instrument Repairer

Imagine that you were given the chance to cut your amount of job-related stress in half – would you do it?

It's doubtful many employees would refuse such an opportunity, especially at a time when the economy is causing heightened workplace anxiety. But while embracing a stress-free lifestyle may sound like a wonderful idea, for some it might not be worth the cost. Would you be willing to sacrifice a career with growth potential for less anxiety? How about a good salary, or a job with high levels of satisfaction? Examining the 10 least stressful jobs for 2010, this is a choice many job seekers have to make if they want less tension in their work lives.

This year's least stressful job, Musical Instrument Repairer, ranks well in the three stress "Mega Factors" (work environment, job competitiveness and risk) used to measure tension levels, but offers little earning potential or opportunity for advancement. The same deficits apply to several other jobs on the list, such as Appliance Repairer, Piano Tuner and Janitor, which are unlikely to cause tension headaches, but also have relatively low median incomes and (with the exception of Janitor) poor employment prospects.

See how our rankings are determined in the complete 2010 Jobs Rated report Methodology

Of course, everyone's desire to climb the corporate ladder is different, and for some the relatively low stress of being a Librarian is more appealing than the potential of a high risk, high reward career like Senior Corporate Executive. Similarly, Surgeons work long hours and have little room for error, but are paid exceptionally well for their efforts. Whether this is enough to ease the pain of such a high-pressure career, however, depends largely on the job seeker.

Think it's time to ditch the rat race and find a job that won't cause indigestion? Check out one of the 10 Least Stressful Jobs for 2010:

Maintains and repairs band and orchestral instruments of all kinds.

  • Overall Score: 412.00
  • Income: $33,200.00

  • Work Environment:
    234.700
  • Stress:
    18.776
  • Hiring Outlook:
    4.00

Maintains complete, accurate, and up-to-date medical records for use in treatment, billing, and statistical surveys.

  • Overall Score: 263.00
  • Income: $31,150.00

  • Work Environment:
    165.200
  • Stress:
    19.620
  • Hiring Outlook:
    17.00

Interprets statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, and death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters.

  • Overall Score: 46.00
  • Income: $85,229.00

  • Work Environment:
    179.440
  • Stress:
    20.187
  • Hiring Outlook:
    24.79

Operates industrial trucks and tractors to move products and raw materials for manufacturing firms.

  • Overall Score: 431.00
  • Income: $29,125.00

  • Work Environment:
    454.500
  • Stress:
    20.450
  • Hiring Outlook:
    13.75

Performs major and routine maintenance on a variety of electrical home appliances.

  • Overall Score: 543.00
  • Income: $34,157.00

  • Work Environment:
    610.220
  • Stress:
    21.123
  • Hiring Outlook:
    1.57

Transcribes dictations, prepares correspondence, and assists physicians and other medical scientists in compiling reports, articles, speeches and conference proceedings.

  • Overall Score: 273.00
  • Income: $30,105.00

  • Work Environment:
    322.240
  • Stress:
    21.147
  • Hiring Outlook:
    17.55

Selects and organizes materials to make information available to the public.

  • Overall Score: 344.00
  • Income: $53,145.00

  • Work Environment:
    385.200
  • Stress:
    21.400
  • Hiring Outlook:
    4.45

Maintains financial records and prepares statements of a company's income and daily operating expenses.

  • Overall Score: 274.00
  • Income: $33,133.00

  • Work Environment:
    204.400
  • Stress:
    21.462
  • Hiring Outlook:
    11.83

Adjusts piano strings to achieve proper musical pitch.

  • Overall Score: 528.00
  • Income: $32,200.00

  • Work Environment:
    563.280
  • Stress:
    22.297
  • Hiring Outlook:
    3.50

Cleans offices and other spaces within buildings, and keeps areas in good condition.

  • Overall Score: 475.00
  • Income: $22,140.00

  • Work Environment:
    489.600
  • Stress:
    22.440
  • Hiring Outlook:
    13.40

While the majority of jobs on this list offer little growth potential or income, there are some exceptions. Actuaries enjoy relatively stress-free workplaces thanks to an excellent work environment and little risk of serious injury or death. However, the salary and employment prospects for Actuaries are also very good, thanks in part to the rigorous testing required to become licensed. This makes Actuary stand out among the least stressful jobs, and is a major reason that the profession also ranks as the best overall job for 2010.

These rankings present a stark choice between jobs with low stress, and ones with high incomes and the opportunity for growth. However, for many job seekers, an ideal career may in fact lie somewhere in between these extremes. In this case, consulting CareerCast's complete ranking of 200 jobs (from Accountant to Zoologist) can help you find a profession with balance, so you can enjoy  the right combination of salary, work environment, growth potential and, of course, stress.

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