Top 10 Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well

Best Career Options for Avoiding Stress at Work

Hairstylist styling hair of customer in salon
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You've probably heard the expression, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life?” For some people, this is a reality. Certainly, given the choice, most of us would prefer to work at jobs that feed our soul, as well as our bank accounts.

That said, even a beloved job can be rough if it eats all your time and energy to the point of burnout. For these reasons, it's useful to consider the relative stress levels of various occupations, when you're contemplating a change to a new career path.

Top High Paying Low Stress Jobs

Here is a list of the top 10 low stress jobs with the most recent information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Actuary

Do you love math and statistics and want to work a relatively low-stress, 9-to-5 job? You might be happy as an Actuary. Your responsibilities involve looking at numbers, finding correlations, drawing conclusions, and presenting your findings. Actuaries often work for insurance companies, analyzing risk and helping their employers minimize costs. They also work for a variety of investment firms, including banks and financial advisors. The profession is expected to grow 22% by 2026, much faster than average.

2. Audiologist

If you want to help people, and you don't mind investing in several years of postsecondary education, audiologist might be the perfect job for you. Audiologists diagnose hearing loss and other inner ear problems. It's a good-paying job, earning a median salary of over $60,000 per year. And this job is projected to grow 21% by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, due in part to a significant increase in both the aging population as well as military veterans seeking treatment for hearing loss.

3. Computer and Information Systems Manager

Sometimes called IT Manager, this occupation frequently offers six-figure salaries to the more experienced managers. People in this job are responsible for planning and coordinating computer systems for companies. As a disclaimer, 2 out of 5 IT managers reported working more than 40 hours a week in 2014, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this profession is still considered by most to be far less stressful than the average career. The demand for IT Managers is expected to grow 12% by 2026.

4. Dietician or Nutritionist

Dietitians and Nutritionists are experts that operate in all settings, from hospitals to clinics to government offices and more. Their role is to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle through diet, whether it's to lose or gain weight or to manage a disease like diabetes. Nutrition is gaining in popularity as a result of findings by holistic, naturopathic medicine. Individuals and organizations alike are seeing the benefit in hiring experts to help them improve overall health through diet rather than by medication with side effects. This occupation is expected to grow 15% by 2026.

5. Hair Stylist

After acquiring a certification and license in your state, you don't need a formal degree to become a hair stylist. However, you do need natural talent — as well as a knack for getting along with people and being able to understand what they're hoping to achieve with their look. Hair Stylists don't earn as much as other jobs on this list, but they do frequently have a great deal of flexibility, as nearly half work for themselves. Many stylists work from home, make their own schedule at one of the many shared stylist facilities in town, or even travel to service their clients. They're also in an occupation projected to grow 13% by 2026.

6. Mathematician

The demand for mathematicians is high — the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this occupation will grow 33% by 2026, thanks to the need for businesses to analyze high volumes of data. Mathematicians may also work for the federal government or the private sector. On the surface, this job may seem the same as actuary. But while many actuaries are mathematicians, mathematicians are not always actuaries. Considered a highly-specialized profession, nearly any high-level organization wishing to achieve precision in their services and projections has at least one mathematician on their payroll. Even professional sports organizations (such as the NFL) rely heavily on mathematicians to help their recruiters pick the best athletes and players improve their performance.

7. Medical Laboratory Technician

Lab Technicians collect and analyze samples for hospitals, doctor's offices, and diagnostic labs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this occupation will grow 13% by 2026. As a lab tech, you would not work directly with patients. Physicians rely on you to help them verify whether or not a disease exists and what treatment alternatives make the most sense for the patient.

8. Medical Records Technician 

In contrast to some of the jobs on this list, Medical Records Technician is a lower-paying job, but it's also one you can do with little education. Most hospitals or doctor's offices require only a non-degree certificate from their Medical Records Technicians, and some may require an associate degree. This job is also expected to grow by 13% by 2026. Much of the work entails transcription and organization. Like the lab tech, you would work behind the scenes making sure that a patient’s medical history is clear for doctors.

9. Speech Language Pathologist

Speech Language Pathologists (or Speech Therapists) diagnose and treat all manner of speech and swallowing disorders. This occupation is expected to grow by 18% by 2026. Speech Therapists typically need a master’s degree and licensure in their states in order to practice. As a speech therapist, you would be expected to work with children and adults. You might be helping a patient overcome a speech impediment, use proper terminology to better express thoughts and feelings, or even help someone speak that doesn’t speak at all.

10. Technical Writer

If you love writing and have the ability to understand complex ideas and explain them to the average reader, you might enjoy this career, which is expected to grow 11% by 2026. Technical writers frequently write for websites, or they may produce content for instruction manuals, proofread others’ writings, and more. Often, the best writers are known for their ability to write clearly and concisely. The average reader typically can understand more with less.