The Most Stressful Jobs of 2009

The Most Stressful Jobs of 2009

By: Tony Lee

This is our 2009 200 Jobs Jobs report
See the 200 Best Jobs of 2010

Choosing a career path is one of the biggest decisions you can make. Whether you're the type who "lives to work" or just "works to live," in most cases your job will consume much of your time and be a vital part of your identity. Yet despite this central role employment plays in daily life, many people wind up in a given career virtually by chance. For all those who decide on a profession at an early age, a great deal more simply select the best opportunity that comes along, regardless of their interests. offers help for uncertain job seekers by analyzing 200 different jobs according to 5 vital criteria: Stress, Work Environment, Physical Demands, Income and Outlook. In every area each job receives a specific score, and data is mined to provide the most detailed information possible – for example, rather than listing average incomes, our rankings combine each job's mid-level salary with its outlook score, which eliminates data from employees making too much or too little to provide a more accurate result (for complete details on how we score, visit the Methodology Page).

By bringing data on 200 jobs into one central list and ranking them, serves as a resource for anyone trying to see a clearer picture of today's uncertain job market, whether you're looking to apply to grad school or trying to decide between multiple offers. Even if you just want to know how your job stacks up against another, our rankings can help you find alternatives that may better suit you. In addition to this complete list of 200 jobs, rankings are broken into the 10 best and 10 worst professions, as well as reports based on stress, work environment, and other criteria that will debut in the coming weeks. There is also a ranking of the nation's 10 most satisfying jobs, based on unique data.

The professions rounding out our list may not feature the level of stress that can be found in an operating room, airplane cockpit, or war zone, but each is more than capable of causing increased blood pressure and sleepless nights. Advertising account executives have to compete in this tough economy to acquire and maintain revenue-generating accounts, and many real estate agents are struggling just to earn a living due to the downturn in the housing market. General practice physicians can get swamped with patients when an illness hits their community, while newspaper reporters struggle with deadlines and an increasing scarcity of work. Typically physician assistants face the same fast-paced work environment and long hours as doctors.

Of course some professionals don't consider stress such a bad thing, and if you're the type who's unfazed by criteria such as a requirement for accuracy or exposure to the general public, one of these jobs may be perfect for you. On the other hand if you can't stand pressure and want more peace in your workday, most likely you'd be better off applying for a position from's list of the least stressful jobs you can find.


1. Firefighter

Overall Rating: 743Stress: 110.94Median Salary: $44,218

Protects individuals and saves lives and property from the ravages of fire.

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