No career is totally free from stress. We all face work-related responsibilities in our jobs and with those responsibilities come challenges. Yet some careers are simply less stressful than others, especially when you love your job.
"Helping customers select or create jewelry, especially for special occasions, still brings me a lot of joy, even after 32 years in this business," says Inger Stovanich, who works as a jeweler in Hamilton, N.J. Jeweler ranks No. 3 in the new CareerCast.com Jobs Rated report on the nation's least stressful jobs for 2014.
"Each day I look forward to my job, and I'd have to agree that stress isn't an emotion I feel at work. I truly love what I do," says Stovanich. To be sure, the kind of stress a job presents varies depending on the field. Consider audiologist, which scores as the least stressful job, according to the 2014 Jobs Rated report’s metrics.
Debbie Abel, an audiologist in Poway, Calif., with 35 years of professional experience, says the field presents its own unique challenges. But it also has its own unique rewards. “I have people on my Facebook [page] who I fit with hearing aids as children, and they are having their own children now,” Abel says. “The relationships are the rewards and seeing how [audiology] positively impacted their lives.
“I can’t imagine having done anything else,” she adds.
The factors that make some jobs less stressful than others can be measured and compared, as we do in this annual report. The 11 factors we consider for each of the 200 careers reviewed are:
- Travel (the more travel, the higher the stress)
- Growth potential (dead-end jobs tend to create more stress)
- Working in the public eye
- Competitiveness within the organization
- Physical demands
- Environmental conditions
- Own life at risk
- Hazards encountered
- Meeting the public
- Life of another is at risk
A job in an office environment, such as a multimedia artist, for example, scores more favorably than a position requiring one to be exposed to the elements, such as a lumberjack.
Similarly, careers that pose imminent physical danger, such as police officer, are considered more stressful than those that don't, such as hair stylist, which ranks second among the least stressful jobs of 2014.
Jobs that top our most stressful rankings, including military personnel and firefighter, are potentially high risk yet vital to society. But that doesn’t mean a less-stressful job doesn’t have significant impact on those it serves.
Abel says that an audiologist helps a wide variety of patients with particular hearing needs that differ from one another and her help can benefit patients over the course of their lifetime. Other health care jobs also bring the satisfaction of aiding others, including such low-stress jobs as medical records technician, who keeps track of the history of and care for thousands of patients at a time, and dietician, who assists patients with achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Landing a less-stressful job often requires a higher level of education. Of the 10 least-stressful jobs in the new Jobs Rated report, half require at least a bachelor’s degree. Audiologists and tenured university professors require postsecondary education and increasingly, Abel says, more states require audiologists to earn doctorates.
The long road to becoming a tenured university professor is certainly challenging, too. For those who achieve tenured status, however, the rewards include job stability—a huge plus in a turbulent economy—and lucrative prospects. The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources reports that in the 2012-13 school year, tenured professors earned on average from $82,363 for Baccalaureate programs to $115,579 annually at research institutions and many professors receive top benefits such as tuition reimbursement for family members.
But the greater reward is sharing knowledge with their students.
Ultimately, a job’s reward trumps all other factors, including stress.
Diagnoses and treats hearing problems by attempting to discover the range, nature, and degree of hearing function.