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The 10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2011

A man relaxing at work. By Victoria Brienza


This is our 2011 Stressful Jobs report. See the 10 Most and Least Stressful Jobs of 2012

Trying to find a new job in a poor economy can be very stressful. It’s enough to make most job hunters duck for cover and wait out the recovery as a way to avoid the stress. However, even in this economy, it’s possible to find a challenging salaried position in a growing industry that also offers a low daily level of stress.

The health care field, for instance, is a great place to start looking. More than half of the 10 least stressful white-collar jobs ranked in our 2011 Jobs Rated report are for health care professionals. Good news, too, since health care continues to be a strong industry with excellent employment prospects.

Audiologists, who assess and treat hearing disorders, claim the top spot as the least stressful job in this year’s report. Audiologists aren’t required to complete medical school, but are required to have a doctoral degree (Au.D. or Ph.D.) from an accredited university. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of audiology is expected to see faster than average growth in the coming years as aging baby boomers start to suffer hearing loss and need assistance.

Computer and math-related professions round out most of the 10 least stressful salaried jobs. These industries are clamoring for qualified candidates that have the higher education or specialized training needed to succeed.

  • 1. Audiologist

    Stress Rank: 11
    Stress Score: 9.44
    Hiring Outlook Rank: 13 out of 200
    Hours Per Day: 8


    An Audiologist diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature, and degree of hearing function. The job is not typically physically demanding or stressful, but it does require a keen attention to detail and focused concentration.

Continue to see the 2nd Least Stressful Job of 2011

Unreliable and misleading

This article is a load of crap! I'm in audiology school and I have never been so stressed in my life. I absolutely love it and enjoy the challenges handed to me every day. It's so rewarding. Diagnosing patients with hearing loss and improving their quality of life with hearing aids is only a small aspect of what an Audiologist does. This article makes the field seem like a walk in the park but it requires a four year Doctoral Level degree and the programs only accept 5-10 people a year. They don' make it easy and do a great job of making your life difficult and stressful. I'd like to see the person that wrote this try and get in to school. They won't..


salute great post signed up to your RSS.

In most countries, the

In most countries, the financing of health care services features a mix of all five models, but the exact distribution varies across countries and over time within countries. In all countries and jurisdictions, there are many topics in the politics and evidence that can influence the decision of a government, private sector business or other group to adopt a specific health policy regarding the financing structure. Thanks.

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I am in fact delighted to glance at this web site posts which contains
tons of helpful facts, thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.

....find a new job then

So basically all of you COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR JOBS are competing for the "most stressed out American". I'm not very impressed...
We're all stressed- get over it, or find a new job.

Try being an NHS Audiologist (UK)

What a load of absolute cr*p. Really, cast iron, 100% cr*p.

This list is a JOKE!

Where did the author go to determine these jobs are least stressful? Just because someone has no trouble FINDING a job (if they are in high demand) doesn't mean it won't be stressful after you work the job.

My job is on this list, and my friends and I are VERY, VERY stressed. I have had to take anti-anxiety meds at a couple places I worked (and that is why I quit). Tell me how that qualifies as low stress?

As the economy tanks most people have to do more work. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a job with low stress any more.

Bad research

Totally unreliable, this is a reprehensible study. Research again, but this time, do it seriously!

John Lee

can you please clarify me the difference of duties between software engineer and computer programmer? As a software engineer myself, computer programming is one of my major routine works. oops. i must have been paid double.


I do both of the duties between software engineer and computer programmer...and it is extremely stressful. I generally work 10 - 14 hr days and provideoncall support at times

new candidate for no stress... about a job as a careercast columnist! With as much drivel as these articles are producing (between both the Least Stressful and the Most Stressful), blogging MUST be a no-stress job. Judging from the general reactions of these comments, the author is either an idiot or joking.

Job stress isn't even really ABOUT hours worked / competition / travel / etc, as many people thrive in these factors. Stress is about MISMATCHED personalities.

You want low stress? Find something you don't have to be paid to do. Turn your current hobbies and interests into a career. Reach out and network with your friends, family, and community. Get involved, and your job will find you.

Also, if you are younger, then odds are your job hasn't even have been invented yet, so what is the point of trying to predict what you will be doing in the next 10-20 years? Its just silly, and self-defeatist! Don't fall for this propaganda.

Finally, the salaries are VERY optimistic (as usual on any career-planning website, but still...). I have performed REAL research with the Bureau of Labor Statistics targeting demographics such as wage, hours, etc according to SOC codes, and this data is WRONG and MISLEADING. If I represented the job market as a whole, I would request that this article be retracted on grounds of libel.

Articles like this make me think the whole career-planning community is biased towards coercing people into choosing career paths which only serve the needs of the website owner (whether through brokering jobs or training...). I do not trust any website if they publish these kinds of articles.

Thank you.

I think the author forgot to

I think the author forgot to factor-in mental stress (software engineers) and emotional stress (medical field like Audiology).

Just would like to ask why security guard isn't on the list? Or what about cashiers?


Please i can i get get a job in USA as a foreigner?,i want to relocate to the state and work.

10 least stressful jobs

I truly wonder at the error of the author of this list.

All are very stressful including the Philosopher.

The Philosopher has to be under the most pressure of all in that he or she has to be concerned that they will be found out.

The other folks have real jobs and are under stress.


I am a private practice owner of 2 offices and even with the "stress of business" after 10 plus years I would have to agree, our career is not is rewarding and am proud to be an unstressed audiologist!

Seeking low stress? Avoid pediatric and special needs audiology!

All Audiologists don't do the same jobs!!

I'm an Audiologist in a not-for-profit Public Health clinic. A recent national survey confirmed that I'm among the lowest paid Audiologists in the country. I have not had even a cost of living increase over the past 10 years. I work with young children who aren't always cooperative and happy to have me poking around in their ears, with patients with physical and mental challenges in addition to their communication difficulties, and with anxious families . ALL MY CHOICE!!

Is it rewarding? YOU BET.
Am I well compensated for my training and for the job demands? NO.
Is my job the least stressful in the country? SERIOUSLY??!!!

Total agreement with fellow paediatric audiologist

Articles like this forget that "audiolgist" covers a wide range of jobs and they aren't interchangeable. Anyone who considers audiology to be low stress has never had to tell parents that their newborn baby is deaf. And as for well paid? Not in not-for-profit or government positions. We're some of the poorest paid in the health sector. Working with kids might be rewarding (absolutely) but its not well paided and it certainly is stressful. Please don't encourge students who want a free ride to the good life to become audiologists - that's not the real world.

The only way to make a good living in audiology is to sell expensive hearing aids. I feel for my colleagues working in the hearing aid industry. not only do they have to sell expensive, complicated devies to an elderly market, but they have management watching their every sale, putting the pressure on. The hearing aid industry is as cut throat as any other sales industry, but with the added stress of having to work with vulnerable populations. Frankly, if you don't find audiology stressful, it probably means you're either charging too much or not doing a good job.

Stress is...

While probably not as stressful as defusing a land mine or directing air traffic, Audiology is indeed quite stressful. I suspect it is so because those of us who enter this field do so out of a desire to help people. What we don't expect is the lack of gratitude, and downright nasty behavior on the part of many of those people we want to serve. Perhaps because of the commercial sales history behind the hearing aid industry, those of us in the emerging field of audiology are struggling to overcome history and practices that we, ourselves find offensive. But then again, try this out for a low stress encounter: Aud: "Hello, Mr. Jones, how can I be of assistance today?" Mr. Jones: "Well, you're all a bunch of thieving crooks taking advantage of us old people and you're gonna charge me a bunch of money, and make me look old with those big honking ugly hearing aid things that never work anyway, you jackals. Now help me hear better!" That might be just a tad off-putting. Someone once said that stress is the enormous amount of energy expended preventing oneself from choking the living daylights out of someone who desparately needs it. I suspect the disconnect between our desire to serve, and many of our clients' equally fervent desire to remain unserved, is grating and leads to burnout. And a median income of $63K is pretty sad for a profession that is transitioning to a doctoral one. We must have overlooked one of grand dad's gold fillings. Flaming out Audiologist.

u r true ...

u r true ...

I hear you, but...

Yes, all jobs have stress, including us Audiologists. Yes, we have deadlines, yes we have reports, yes we have complaints, etc etc.

However, that is not what makes the role of an Audilogist stressful. Most of us work in highly pressurized sales environments where we need to meet quotas; we need to meet daily/monthly/quarterly/yearly unit and revenue targets in conjuction with meeting close rates, binaural rates, and return rates. We are not just clinicians, but we are business people. On top of this, we must keep up with the technology that is changing every day, government regulations, rules of our college- all while giving our clients the best (and most ethical) service we can.

Our clients often have a myriad of psychosocial, physical, and cognitive limitations, which means that while we have these corportate pressures, we must be very patient. We counsel clients on their declining clarity and processing to help them understand why their $3000 hearing aids are not helping them the way they want, we help the visually impaired to manage their hearing aids as best they can, we let our client with his bad leg rest on us while he gets up into our booth, and we carry our heavy equipment to home visits for those who can't come to see us.

This is by no means a complaint, I love my job, but please don't write about something you obviously know little about. At the end of the day, we love our jobs- yes it is stressful- but it is the most rewarding job (not the least stressful job). So, let's write about that next time :)

Stop Complaining and Get Some Perspective

All of you audiologists who are complaining need to stop being so narrowly focused on your personal issues and predictable in your responses.

You also need to maintain some dignity when someone writes something that is a boon to the profession. Listen, do you think that there is a single job on this planet that people couldn't write a long list of complaints about?? Believe me, there is not.

Audiology being singled out as the least stressful profession is based on a RELATIVE measure of stress as compared to other jobs. It is not saying that Audiology has NO stress. It is saying that it is LESS stressful, based on a myriad of measures, as COMPARED to other jobs.

You complaining about telling parents of Kids certain things, having to talk louder, and all of your other little quibbles comes off as spoiled behavior. What if there is a pipe fitter, firefighter, soldier, trash collector, surgeon, or school teacher reading this? They are going to come away with a notion that you are a bunch of spoiled people who can't maintain a professional demeanor, nor see your professional "stresses" in the right perspective.

Get a grip, get some perspective, suck it up, and be happy that the profession is getting some positive press.

Heartily agree!

One has to step back and see that your job involves giving a message of Hope!. You tell the parent of a deaf baby that they have options,
Or an adult that a simple telephone amplifier will help hear the sound better.
Our message and our profession is about making lives better.

Think about people who have to deny insurance claims, tell people they have little time to live , or that they lost all your money today!

Every job worth doing is stressful because of the parameters of excellency and poor remuneration, and difficult work -life balance.

If you did not get a call at 2 am to go birth a child, put out a fire, or crunch numbers through the are an audiologist!!!

Proud to be one.....

Help with the future

Being an audiologist for 15 years (10 in private practice) has been very rewarding. What job isn't stressful? Telling parents their newborn child is hearing impaired is not a positive day. However, providing that child with an improved quality of life through amplification is extremely positive. I have several high school students shadow me a year and watching their interest in our profession is exciting. One of my previous kids is now applying for her Au.D. So I challenge all of my colleagues to give back to our profession the best they can and help inspire the next generation of Audiologists.


it depends where you work, since its a business setting, if you own a private practice and have to manage your employees while at the same time be an audiologist, its very stressful!

I'd have to agree

I'd have to agree with the article. Most of the difficult work in the clinic is performed by the support staff.
Try getting an Audiologist to come out of their office when they are on a DNA! It's like some sort of blasphemy to ask them.

I have been an audiologist

I have been an audiologist for nearly 6 years. Although I am able to handle stress well, it will never be "not stressful" to tell a parent of a child with cancer that the chemotherapy has caused hearing loss (as if this family has not been through enough), or telling proud new parents that their beautiful newborn has a profound hearing loss (deaf). It is also stressful trying to test an autistic child or a baby in the NICU or the OR with complex medical/genetic issues hooked up to various tubes and wires who will most likely have hearing loss. Maybe they forgot to interview us pediatric audiologists?

Emotional reactions

Many of the comments seem to be missing the point. Audiology, like any job has stressful moments - it compares favourably to many others, however, in that the industry is in growth, is not as impacted as many others by economic downturns and, unlike photo journalism in a war zone, for instance, doesn't usually involve road side bombs and bullets. Let's also remember, there is no universal uniform measure of stress - this piece is just an opinion article with some valid points. If all else fails, take a teaspoon of cement - and harden up!


wow...this person has obviously never been to an audiologists office where you're yelling all day for people to hear you and repeating yourself over and over for people who don't have a hearing loss but also don't listen. There's nothing like making someone dizzy and holding their hair while they throw up...hum... And side note- the people taking pictures or putting pictures in the article should get someone who knows how to look in an ear. It's obvsiouly posed- there's no specula on the otoscope and they aren't holding the otoscope in any sort of proper way...

It all depends

I don't care what profession you are in, the stress that comes with the job often times depends on the people around you and the amount of freedom and variety on the job. Regardless, if $63,000 is the median income - that is a shame. Especially for all the newbies putting in 8 years of schooling to get their Au.D.

AuD student

As a first year AuD student I have not had the privledge of working in the field yet but I really find this hard to believe. Not only is getting into AuD grad school very competitive and stressful I am now working many hours on school work and observation. I also have the next 4 years building up a combined student loan total for 8 years at about $60K. If schooling alone is this stressful I find it hard to believe the job itself is a piece of cake.

Who's to Say?

Any job can be stressful. It's interesting to me that someone lumped ALL AUDIOLOGISTS into a single category. IF you own your own business of any kind, it can not only be extemely stressful but also extremely challenging to make it work. We are talking about patient care and patient satisfaction coupled with bringing in enough revenues to pay staff and expenses, keeping up to date on all equipment, services and products in order to provide the best of care. Any profession that deals with providing services (particularly services that most patients don't want and deny needing) has the potential of raising the blood pressure. This author needs to reassess the reality of audiology.

Too funny...

This is just the most ridiculous, inane and just out and out ignorant article. I don't even know where to start. I have been an audiologist for 25 years and have been dealing with patients with cognitive disabilities, hearing disabilities, physical disabilities....all of whom want you to perform a miracle. Oh, let's not forget the patients who scream at us, throw hearing aids at us and throw up on us as we try to test their balance. Or the parents who break down and cry because you just told them their beautiful child cannot hear. Any profession that deals with people who have emotional and physical ailments is stressful....doesn't matter how much money you make or how much time you spend doing it. I would like to see the people who made these observations sit in my chair, walk in my shoes, and deal with my patients for just one day....and let's see how many Valium you end up popping in the end.
Clueless Idiots.

Disagree strongly

Try telling a parent that their beautiful newborn baby is profoundly deaf. Then tell me we don't have a stressful job.


This is a load of rubbish! Being an audiologist is so stressful!! The responsibility we have and all the paperwork and file notes drives me insane! I go home everyday feeling so stressed out! Not sure where the person who wrote this article got her stats from...

not stressful...?

not stressful...? dang!!totally agree with you anynomous...

No stress in IT what?!?!?!?!

So when a server goes down and you can't meet your deadlines until you scramble and work crazy hours into the night you have no stress? How about working with clients to prevent scope creep or meeting some crazy demand for an exit strategy with no real time. Hell computers are sress and if you think any field where you have to create an application using a computer is no stress then you a fool.

Whoever wrote this article needs to be fired for a lack of any sort of research.

Marketing and Scope Creep

From a software engineer's perspective. Nothing else really need be said.

Is it really the profession???

I have come to the conclusion that it is not about stressful professions, but instead stressful people. Based on the comments thus far, you know who you are...

Audiology ranks first-place in Least Stressful Job

CareerCast folks, you are right on target! Audiology is an amazing profession in so many ways! The profession of Audiology is dedicated to helping people with hearing loss and balance problems to cope with their challenges. It is a rewarding career track, one that requires scientific background and an interest in technology, as well as compassion and interpersonal skills. With the huge number of Baby Boomers coming of age, there will be an even better market for audiology jobs. As President of the American Academy of Audiology and an audiologist for the past 38 years, I strongly encourage high school and undergraduate students to come onboard to a wonderful, fulfilling profession. Patti Kricos

not physically demanding?

not physically demanding? ever done an epley on a 400lb man who is freaking out on the table? plus, I'd love to see the little stress on someone's face after they've spend the last 20-minutes instructing and re-instructing someone on how to put a batter in the hearing aid only to have them insert it upside down.

I'm in school now to be an

I'm in school now to be an audiologist, and I can promise you that having a patient put a battery in a hearing aid upside down doesn't touch the stress in my previous career! Not only is this an interesting field, it gives you the satisfaction of helping people, as well. I don't think there is such a thing as a stress-free job, but this is not as stressful as most.

Spoken like someone who has no clue

As an IT worker, I take offense to this inane, garbage that passes for an article. I will assume this is a bad joke by some intern who is bored with his or her duties. Otherwise, clearly you have no clue as to what it takes to be either a software engineer or computer programmer. I guess these could be considered low stress jobs if the engineer/programmer is clarvoyant. Otherwise, you are comunicating from the wrong orifice. Is it safe to assume that blogger/columnist should also make this list considering apparently no research went into the writing of this article? As a software engineer, if I could get away with turning in the type of crap this article represents to my boss and still get paid, I would totally agree with you until then, stay off of the boss' computer, you could get yourself in trouble putting out this type of crap.

No clue

I absolutely agree with you. Computer programming is one of the most mentally draining jobs I have ever had. Many jobs that are physically stressfully would never leave you so depleted after a days work. This person does not really know what they are talking about. And leaves me to think he may have other motives for doing this- like trying to stir us up...

Man up!

I am a recent Au.D. graduate working in a very busy ENT clinic. We see an average of about 20-25 patients per day between me and one other audiologist. I do 5-6 neurodiagnostic ABRs and/or VNGs per week (sometimes as many per day). Our audio evaluations are shortened to about 10-15 minutes, and we usually have a line of about 3-5 angry patients waiting for us during clinic hours. Considering all of this and comparing it to other jobs I've had, this is the least stressful profession I've been in.

I've been a camp counselor, a short-order cook, a musician, a resident assistant in a nursing home, a researcher in an ICU. You think it's stressful telling parents that their child is deaf? Try telling a son or daughter that their parent is septic and may die soon - oh, but can you let us test this drug on him while he's still alive? Or try taking care of 12 screaming children in the middle of the woods. Or a home full of developmentally disabled adults with behavioral problems so severe that the furniture has to be nailed to the floor.

While Victoria seems to know little to nothing about Audiology, I have seen too many people in our profession (and I've been one of them) who gripe over having too many patients or not enough time with those patients. Really? After taking an hour for an audio or a hearing aid fitting you're going to complain about being too busy? Part of earning a doctorate degree is accepting the responsibility that the title conveys. So man up and use this as a selling point for our profession instead of a reason to continue to complain.


Cudos to Man Up! I totally agree with you. This is a great selling point for our profession. Look at the most stressful careers listed and you'll see there is no way we have the amount of stress as those on the "stressful" list.

from Brazil

I'm from Brazil, and i can say: here, audiologist works very hard every day! and we have very small incoming... an article like this here, is a joke!!


1. Audiologist
Stress Rank: 11
Stress Score: 9.44
Hiring Outlook Rank: 13 out of 200
Hours Per Day: 8 - WRONG!
Income: $63,144 - WRONG!
An Audiologist diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature, and degree of hearing function. The job is not typically physically demanding or stressful (WRONG), but it does require a keen attention to detail and focused concentration.

I've worked in a busy diagnostic and hearing aid clinic, as a audiological sales rep and now in Product Management....all have been stressful in one way or another and more than 8 hours per day.....however, it is a very rewarding job, one that I wouldn't give up for anything.

Easy everyone

Hold up Audiology community. If you really think about our jobs there is stress during the work day, but not an unmanageable amount. Every job has stress...that's what makes it a job. What they are highlighting is how great our field can be. We work hard, but we also reap the rewards...typically on a personal level as opposed to financially. This is a good thing for us. And to be quite honest...reading some of the other posts...I am nervous about some of the people in our field. If you are truly that stressed by what you do then don't do it. Obviously it is not so bad that you have stopped practicing. A huge chunk of our workforce will be retiring over the next 10 years, and we need a way to bring more people into our field...this may help. I think it is great that we made the list at all!! At least our professions name is getting out there.

Yeah.. I agree with U.People

I agree with U.People acknowledge us!Just take this as a compliment.
Chill and keep on serving the best for our patients.

A load of rubbish

I have soooooo many issues with this.......
First do your research and get the facts right.
As a 'practicing' NHS Audiologist I can assure you that the job IS stressful'. In addition it has obviously escaped the author's notice that the UK Government plans to privatise the NHS leave many; if not all, of it's employees (including Audiologists) worried about their future career prospects. Oh and why illustrate the article with the worst and most inaccurate illustration of otoscopy you could imagine????

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