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37 high-paying jobs for people who don't like stress

Two programmers, tech workers working
Computer systems analysts are well-compensated while tending to work in low-stress environments.valentinrussanov/Getty Images
  • There are many jobs that are both well-paid and offer a relaxing work environment.

  • Business Insider analyzed jobs with relatively low-stress work situations and make at least $75,000 annually on average.

  • That includes models, geographers, and a few postsecondary teachers based on our analysis.

Environmental engineers, geographers, and materials scientists all pay well and can be considered less stressful jobs compared to many other occupations.

The Department of Labor's O*NET OnLine occupational database includes survey-based measurements of how important various skills, activities, and personal traits are for a particular job.

One of the characteristics measured is stress tolerance, which O*NET describes as jobs requiring "accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations." O*NET scores job characteristics like stress tolerance on a scale from 0 to 100, where a 0 means stress tolerance is not at all necessary for an occupation, and 100 suggests a job with a very high-stress environment.

Business Insider ranked occupations from most to least stressful using O*NET's stress tolerance score, with lower scores indicating less stressful jobs. Since we are interested in high-paying jobs, we looked at occupations that had stress tolerance scores available and with average annual salaries of at least $75,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics data for May 2022.

Several of the jobs fell in academia, including postsecondary teachers in various fields and researchers in economics, statistics, mathematics, and materials science. For instance, postsecondary economics teachers had a stress tolerance score of 63 and had an average annual wage of $122,750.

Based on the available data we used, models ranked No. 1 on our list. This job had a stress tolerance score of 51 and an average annual wage of $77,310. If we used median data for our pay metric instead of averages, then models would not have made the list — if we still looked at occupations making at least $75,000. That's because models had a median annual wage of $43,130.

The jobs below were ranked from most to least stressful. In the case of a tied stress tolerance score, we ranked by average annual wages. For instance, a few high-paying occupations had a stress tolerance score of 68, such as geoscientists and postsecondary mathematical science teachers.

Andy Kiersz previously contributed to this story.

37. Postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers

professor teaching
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $87,100

36. Postsecondary mathematical science teachers

professor
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $90,110

35. Ship engineers

Engineers in the engine room of a ship
Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $100,980

34. Database administrators

Person working on a laptop
Nitat Termmee/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $102,530

33. Geoscientists (except hydrologists and geographers)

Geologist, geoscientist
mikeuk/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $104,560

32. Political scientists

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) administers the oath of office to House members and delegates of the U.S. House of Representatives at the start of the 116th Congress inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2019.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $126,140

31. Database architects

Tech worker holding a laptop in a server room
Charday Penn/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $136,540

30. Petroleum engineers

petrolum engineer
Larisa Rudenko/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 68

Average annual wage: $142,800

29. Agricultural engineers

Agricultural engineer working in a greenhouse.
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual wage: $90,710

28. Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes

sports agent
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 67

Average annual wage: $120,100

27. Postsecondary education teachers

A professor teaching a class of students.
skynesher/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual wage: $78,540

26. Acupuncturists

Acupuncture
Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual wage: $82,390

25. Electronics engineers (except computer)

Electronic engineer working
scanrail/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual wage: $118,460

24. Computer hardware engineers

computer hardware
vm/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual wage: $140,830

23. Computer and information research scientists

computer programmer
Maskot/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 66

Average annual wage: $155,880

22. Animal scientists

Scientists with a chicken
Michael Blann/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual wage: $85,870

21. Postsecondary geography teachers

geography map
Kachor Valentyna/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual wage: $87,880

20. Environmental engineers

environmental engineers
Moof/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 65

Average annual wage: $101,670

19. Epidemiologists

Scientist or doctor holding a test tube
Longhua Liao/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual wage: $85,880

18. Statisticians

data chart on tablet
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual wage: $105,510

17. Economists

economist
SmartPhotoLab/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 64

Average annual wage: $128,180

16. Bioengineers and biomedical engineers

Scientist
sinology/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 63

Average annual wage: $108,060

15. Postsecondary economics teachers

Paul Krugman Business Insider
Business Insider

Importance of stress tolerance: 63

Average annual wage: $122,750

14. Food scientists and technologists

food scientist studying plant in a greenhouse
Mark Edward Atkinson/Tracey Lee/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual wage: $85,730

13. Hydrologists

hydrologist
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual wage: $96,300

12. Materials scientists

materials scientists
Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual wage: $110,690

11. Physicists

Physicists
pixelprof/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 62

Average annual wage: $150,130

10. Soil and plant scientists

soil and plant scientist
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual wage: $76,410

9. Commercial and industrial designers

A car designer working on a car design.
portishead1/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual wage: $81,740

8. Operations research analysts

analyzing data
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual wage: $95,820

7. Chemical engineers

Chemical engineer
Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 61

Average annual wage: $117,820

6. Geographers

A person with a map
swissmediavision/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 60

Average annual wage: $88,960

5. Computer systems analysts

Two programmers, tech workers working
Computer systems analysts are well-compensated while tending to work in low-stress environments.valentinrussanov/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 60

Average annual wage: $107,530

4. Actuaries

Person using a calculator and laptop
Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 57

Average annual wage: $127,580

3. Mathematicians

mathmetician
Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Importance of stress tolerance: 56

Average annual wage: $113,860

2. Cartographers and photogrammetrists

Cartographer, photogrammetrist, or civil engineer with survey equipment camera tool
chain45154/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 52

Average annual wage: $75,300

1. Models

Kendall Jenner (R) walks the runway during the Versace FW23 Show at Pacific Design Center on March 09, 2023 in West Hollywood, California.
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Importance of stress tolerance: 51

Average annual wage: $77,310

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