Do you hate stress? You may want to reconsider before transitioning into one of these five careers. [TWEET]

Have you ever stopped and looked at the stressful situations at work? Maybe it was two colleagues in a strenuous “debate” over this month’s budget and acquisitions. Or you may have witnessed a mock nervous breakdown over a crucial deadline. Career and stress often is synonymous and unpreventable. Take these most stressful jobs for example; they never get a moment's rest or break from extreme stress.


Firefighters have one of the most dangerous jobs, not counting active military in war zones. They face life-threatening situations in ever-changing conditions. Firefighters enter burning buildings to extinguish fires and rescue individuals. This makes the list of most stressful career fields because while most think firefighters only work with buildings ablaze, but there are other areas requiring their responsiveness. They provide advanced medical care and triage for the wounded and rescue individuals from dangerous environments. The job stats include:

  • Median Pay: $45,970

  • Entry-Level Education: High School Diploma/Academy Training

  • Jobs in 2014: 327,300

  • Outlook: 5% (As fast as average)

Airline Pilot

Flying a plane is harder than it looks, and not everyone is trustworthy enough to sit in the captain’s chair. This makes our list of most stressful jobs because pilots are responsible for the safety and security of thousands of passengers every month. Passengers and crew place their lives in the hands of each pilot. While computers monitor most of the controls and autopilot has all but replaced many of the skills required to fly a plane, pilots and copilots still have to mitigate concerns with passengers, guard against potential threats, monitor the computer for accuracy and handle emergencies. The job stats include:

  • Median Pay: $58,630

  • Entry-Level Education: Flight School/Licensure

  • Jobs in 2014: 806,400

  • Outlook: 4% (Slower than average)

Police Officer

Police officers risk their lives every day to serve and protect. They never know what the day will bring, whether drug induced violence, a lost child or homeless person looking for a place to sleep. We place our trust, lives and community safety in the hands of each officer. Often police have to walk a fine line. They must use similar skills as top ambassadors. Their first job is to prevent violence but when diplomatic reasoning is not achieved, they take on the stressful conditions of battle. This can be considered one of the most stressful career fields because while not all situations require force, police have to respond to disgruntled speeders, angry jaywalkers and nosey neighbors. The job stats include:

  • Median Pay: $58,630

  • Entry-Level Education: High School Diploma/Academy Training

  • Jobs in 2014: 806,400

  • Outlook: 4% (Slower than average)

Event Coordinator

Not all of the most stressful jobs are dangerous. Arrogant CEOs, bridal divas, and bossy parents hire event coordinators to make their special day perfect. Since perfection is elusive, event coordinators require the best negotiation and mitigation skills to calm frazzled nerves before they turn into disaster situations. Many tasks include registering and coordinating events for several thousand conference goers, creating a Paris Hilton wedding on a school teacher’s budget and designing new, inspiring events that have never been done before. Because setting up these events means meeting strict deadlines, and the groups involved can span a wide range of attendees, the stress associated with this job can be high. The job stats include:

  • Median Pay: $46,490

  • Entry-Level Education: Undergraduate Degree

  • Jobs in 2014: 100,000

  • Outlook: 10% (Faster than average)


Whether crawling in the trenches with soldiers, hiding several feet away from a mother lion and her cubs or navigating a presidential press conference, photojournalists take stress and danger to new heights. Journalists may report the news, but the photographers capture the moment. They risk their lives to record history and show us what’s going on. And yes, it may be one of the most stressful career fields because some photojournalists have even been imprisoned for filming news in countries less hospitable to journalists and freedom. The job stats include:

  • Median Pay: $30,490

  • Entry-Level Education: High School Diploma

  • Jobs in 2014: 124,900

  • Outlook: 3% (Slower than average)

Reduce your stress

Don’t these examples of the most stressful jobs make those missed deadlines and sleepless nights seem a little less stressful? These positions make you think twice before complaining about work stress. We all have our moments when stress consumes us, but it doesn’t have to be that bad.

Here are some great techniques for reducing stress:

  • Seek counsel from like minded colleagues – Your co-workers face similar issues at work. Ask them how they deal with stress.

  • Take time each morning to clear your head and to do list – We often pack our daily outline with more than we can handle. Take time each morning to prioritize.

  • Ask a counselor for help – Counselors are there to help you work through stress and teach techniques to reduce conflicts. Don’t worry about stigma; no one needs to know.

  • Eat your lunch with friends – How many times did you pack a lunch and eat at your desk? There’s a reason federal guidelines require lunch breaks. Use yours to mingle and get away for a while.

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