These 30 Low-Stress Jobs Pay Over $100,000 a Year

Feeling the tension in your current job? Check out these high-paying jobs where stress is less of an issue.
Last updated Nov 6, 2020 | By Matt Miczulski
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It’s good to be challenged at work, but it’s not good if you’re constantly feeling bogged down by a high-stress career. According to the Huffington Post, we spend more than 13 years of our lives at work. While some can get by working less than 40 hours a week, many of us need a full-time gig, preferably one that doesn't cause 13 years of stress.

We’ve rounded up 30 of the most low-stress, high-paying jobs out there. Low-stress jobs can be some of the best jobs. If you are considering a new career path and want something less stressful that doesn’t require sacrificing your paycheck, we’ve got you covered.

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How we chose these low-stress jobs

To find these low-stress careers, we looked to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). O*NET is a free, online U.S. Department of Labor database detailing job specifics of nearly 1,000 different roles.

O*NET assigns each job a stress tolerance score ranging from zero to 100, which measures how often workers must accept criticism and deal with stressful situations. Jobs with a lower score typically require a lower stress tolerance, while jobs with a higher score require a higher stress tolerance. According to O*NET, some of the most stressful highest-paying jobs include urologists, anesthesiologist assistants, and nurse anesthetists, which have stress tolerance scores of 100, 98, and 98, respectively.

Although the jobs on our list aren’t completely stress-free, we chose them because they rank among the least stressful high-paying careers out there. Most offer a positive work environment and work-life balance, which can be a welcome change if you're currently in a high-stress role.

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30 of the least stressful jobs that pay over $100,000 (ranked)

1. Mathematician

Stress tolerance: 57

Median salary: $101,900

Job description: Employed in a variety of industries, mathematicians conduct research, analyze data, and apply mathematical theories and computational techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. They develop mathematical models to analyze data and conduct tests to determine the data’s validity. Then, they present their findings to help solve the problems being addressed.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics or related field, but an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate may be required in private industry.

2. Software Developers, Applications

Stress tolerance: 61

Median salary: $103,620

Job description: These software developers specialize in creating and modifying computer applications software. Simply put, they produce the applications that run on computers or other devices. After analyzing users’ needs, these software developers create, test, and develop the applications that meet those needs. They may also modify existing application software to correct errors, improve performance, or adapt to new hardware.

Education requirements/training: Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field is required.

3. Political Scientist

Stress tolerance: 61

Median salary: $117,570

Job description: Political scientists study political systems and governments — how they originated, how they’ve developed, and how they operate. They research political ideas and government policies, such as the U.S. political system and its foreign relations, and evaluate the effects of said policies on government, businesses, and people. Political scientists may also teach political science, analyze election results, and forecast political trends.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in political science for entry-level positions, but most political scientists need to complete a master’s degree or Ph.D program.

4. Physicist

Stress tolerance: 61

Median salary: $120,950

Job description: Physicists conduct research into physical phenomena, such as the nature of time or the origin of the universe, as well as study the ways in which different forms of matter and energy interact. They develop scientific theories and models based on their observations and experiments and present these findings in scientific papers or during conferences and lectures.

Education requirements/training: Physicists typically need a Ph.D. for jobs in research and academia. For government work, a bachelor’s degree in physics is often required.

5. Chemical Engineer

Stress tolerance: 61

Median salary: $104,910

Job description: Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, drugs, food, plastics, and many other products. They may design chemical plant equipment, conduct experiments and monitor and analyze their findings, and develop new and improved manufacturing processes.

Education requirements/training: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or related field.

6. Astronomer

Stress tolerance: 62

Median salary: $105,680

Job description: Astronomers study a variety of celestial bodies, such as planets, stars, and galaxies, using ground-based and space-based equipment — from radio and optical telescopes to the Hubble Space Telescope. Some may study marvels such as neutron stars and black holes; others monitor space debris that could impact and interfere with satellites.

Education requirements/training: For academic positions, you’ll typically need post-doctoral training. However, you may find assistant positions in observatories with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy or a related scientific discipline.

7. Economist

Stress tolerance: 64

Median salary: $104,340

Job description: Economists formulate plans to address economic problems by conducting research into the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services. They conduct surveys, interpret and forecast market trends, and advise businesses, organizations, and governments on economic issues as well.

Education requirements/training: Entry-level positions may be available to those with a bachelor’s in economics, but most economists need a master’s or Ph.D.

8. Computer and Information Research Scientist

Stress tolerance: 66

Median salary: $118,370

Job description: Computer and information research scientists focus on developing solutions to problems that affect computer hardware and software. They design and invent fresh approaches to computing technology, improve upon existing technology, and develop theories and models to address fundamental issues in computing.

Education requirements/training: Master’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or other related fields is typically required.

9. Computer Hardware Engineer

Stress tolerance: 67

Median salary: $114,600

Job description: Computer hardware engineers research, design, and develop computer systems and components for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use. Computer components include processors, circuit boards, memory devices, and routers. Tasks include building and testing product prototypes, updating existing computer equipment so it can work together with new software, and writing detailed specifications that document the development process.

Education requirements/training: Requirements include a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, or other related fields.

10. Orthodontist

Stress tolerance: 67

Median salary: $208,000+

Job description: Orthodontists are dental specialists who specialize in fixing misaligned teeth and bad bites. After examining patients to evaluate and diagnose irregularities of tooth position and jaw development, orthodontists provide a variety of treatment options to straighten crooked teeth and align the jaw correctly.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree, four years of dental school, and two-to-four years of residency training are required.

11. Environmental Economist

Stress tolerance: 68

Median salary: $104,340

Job description: These economists organize and carry out economic analysis focusing on environmental protection and the natural environment. This includes water, air, land, and renewable energy resources. They assess the costs and benefits of policies and regulations that affect the environment; conduct research on economic and environmental topics; and write academic articles detailing study results.

Education requirements/training: A master's degree in environmental science or doctoral degree is typically required.

12. Optometrist

Stress tolerance: 70

Median salary: $111,790

Job description: Generally speaking, optometrists diagnose and treat visual problems. This includes conditions and diseases of the human eye, such as glaucoma or color blindness. They also prescribe and fit eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other aids to help improve vision and develop treatment plans based on the results of vision tests.

Education requirements/training: Completion of a four-year Doctor of Optometry (O.D) degree program is required.

13. Nuclear Engineer

Stress tolerance: 70

Median salary: $107,600

Job description: Nuclear engineers develop the processes and tools used to derive advantages from nuclear energy. They design and develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores and radiation shielding, and direct the operations of nuclear plants to ensure they meet all safety standards. In the event of emergencies, nuclear engineers may initiate corrective actions and then examine those incidents to design better preventative measures.

Education requirements/training: You typically need a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering for entry-level employment as a nuclear engineer.

14. Actuary

Stress tolerance: 70

Median salary: $102,880

Job description: Found primarily in the insurance industry, actuaries are responsible for analyzing the risk and probability of potential events, such as death, accidents, sickness, and disability. Using this data, they forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree and possible further certifications are typically required.

15. Computer Network Architect

Stress tolerance: 71

Median salary: $109,020

Job description: Design and build computer and information networks, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and intranets. These communications can range in scale, from small connections between offices to cloud infrastructures that serve multiple customers. They create network models, develop disaster recovery plans, and update existing hardware, such as routers and adaptors, as needed.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or other related fields is typically required.

16. Nuclear Medicine Physician

Stress tolerance: 72

Median salary: $200,890

Job description: Nuclear medicine physicians are medical doctors who use radioactive materials and techniques to diagnose and treat diseases. They prescribe radionuclides and dosages to be administered to patients and interpret imaging data to formulate diagnoses while maintaining radiation protection standards for patients and staff.

Education requirements/training: Training includes a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and a residency program.

17. Petroleum Engineer

Stress tolerance: 72

Median salary: $137,170

Job description: Petroleum engineers devise methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits beneath the Earth’s surface. They improve upon current oil and gas extraction methods and determine the need for new or modified extraction tools. They oversee drilling efforts, monitor production rates, and direct and monitor the evaluation of wells.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or other related engineering fields is typically required.

18. Software Developers, Systems Software

Stress tolerance: 75

Median salary: $110,000

Job description: Software developers that focus on systems software research, design, and develop operating systems-level software for applications that span a variety of industries, from medical and industrial to military and aerospace. They modify existing software to fix errors and adapt to new hardware and develop software system testing by applying techniques of computer science and engineering.

Education requirements/training: Developers will need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field.

19. Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Manager

Stress tolerance: 75

Median salary: $140,760

Job description: Biofuels/biodiesel technology and product development managers work toward reducing the reliance on oil-based fuels (which have a greater impact on the environment). To do that, they design and conduct biodiesel or biofuels research projects that evaluate alternative process technologies that can potentially go to market in the near term. They can work on projects for topics that range from transport and thermodynamics to filtration and extraction.

Education requirements/training: Most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree in biochemistry or biophysics may be required.

20. Marketing Manager

Stress tolerance: 75

Median salary: $134,290

Job description: Marketing managers organize and direct the marketing policies and programs of businesses and organizations. Responsibilities include determining the demand for products and services and identifying potential customers. Marketing managers are responsible for developing a balance of pricing strategies to maximize profit and ensuring the organization’s customers are satisfied.

Education requirements/training: Typically marketing professionals will need a bachelor’s degree in advertising, marketing, or a related field.

21. Purchasing Manager

Stress tolerance: 76

Median salary: $118,940

Job description: Purchasing managers plan and direct the activities of buyers involved in purchasing materials, products, and services for an organization. They represent companies in negotiating contracts with suppliers and develop cost reduction strategies. Purchasing managers also maintain records of items bought, costs, deliveries, and inventories.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree and experience in procurement is generally required.

22. Electronics Engineer

Stress tolerance: 76

Median salary: $102,700

Job description: Electronics engineers research, design, and develop electronic components and systems for a variety of industries, including the military and the scientific community. Using their understanding of electronic theory, electronics engineers design electronic equipment including broadcast and communications systems, from portable music players to devices utilizing Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Education requirements/training: Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or a related engineering field.

23. Wind Energy Project Manager

Stress tolerance: 77

Median salary: $107,480

Job description: Wind energy project managers manage the development of potential wind energy opportunities. They create the plans of wind energy projects, direct all project-related activities, such as development, energy assessment, and engineering, and manage the costs of these projects throughout the process.

Education requirements/training: A bachelor’s degree, typically in an engineering field, is typically required.

24. Natural Sciences Manager

Stress tolerance: 77

Median salary: $123,860

Job description: Natural sciences managers oversee the work of scientists in fields such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They supervise activities related to research and development, coordinate testing, quality control, and production activities, and review scientists’ methodology and the accuracy of their research results.

Education requirements/training: Typically natural sciences managers have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline.

25. Chief Sustainability Officer

Stress tolerance: 77

Median salary: $189,600

Job description: Chief sustainability officers are tasked with communicating issues involving sustainability to a company’s management, shareholders, customers, and employees. This includes developing and executing plans to address issues ranging from energy use and resource conservation to recycling and waste elimination. They research sustainability issues, assess the viability of sustainability initiatives, and monitor the effectiveness of sustainability programs.

Education requirements/training: A bachelor’s degree in business or in an environmental science field is typically required, but some positions may require advanced degrees.

26. Biofuels Production Managers

Stress tolerance: 77

Median salary: $103,380

Job description: Biofuels production managers supervise plant operations and the production of biofuels. They collect data on the production and performance of the plant, oversee operations, and resolve issues affecting operational efficiency.

Education requirements/training: A bachelor’s degree is usually required. Relevant fields include chemical, mechanical, and industrial engineering, sustainability, and environmental chemistry.

27. Aerospace Engineer

Stress tolerance: 78

Median salary: $115,220

Job description: Aerospace engineers coordinate the design, manufacture, and testing of aircraft and other aerospace products, such as missiles and spacecraft. These engineers conduct experimental, operational, and stress tests on prototypes; use mathematical models to develop designs; and address technical problems with aircraft and aerospace vehicles.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or another related field is required.

28. Radiologist

Stress tolerance: 79

Median salary: $200,890

Job description: The primary responsibility of a radiologist is to examine and diagnose disorders and diseases using medical imaging procedures, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), mammography, or ultrasound. They interpret the outcomes of these diagnostic imaging procedures, prepare reports on their findings, and deliver the results to other physicians, patients, or patients’ families.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in radiology or a related field, four years of medical school, and residency programs are required.

29. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Stress tolerance: 79

Median salary: $114,800

Job description: Public relations managers plan and coordinate activities and materials that will improve the public image of their employer or client through press releases and advertising and promotion programs. Fundraising managers are tasked with planning and coordinating fundraising strategies to solicit funds for special projects or nonprofit organizations. They often meet with donors, apply for grants, and manage the progress of achieving an organization’s fundraising goals.

Education requirements/training: PR managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, fundraising, or a related field.

30. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Stress tolerance: 79

Median salary: $142,530

Job description: Computer and information systems managers plan and coordinate activities in fields such as electronic data processing, information systems, and computer programming. They may help determine an organization’s information technology goals and are tasked with implementing computer systems to meet those goals.

Education requirements/training: Bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, plus related work experience.

How to find low-stress jobs

Although a job board can provide you with interesting jobs in any given field, sometimes you don’t know what a job is really like until you’re doing it. To get an idea of what the day-to-day holds, consider reaching out to someone in your network who has experience in a particular role. An insider’s opinion of a profession can reveal some of the nuances you normally can’t get through a job description.

If you don’t know anyone in your network who’s in the position you’re interested in, LinkedIn can be a great place to connect with someone who might be willing to shed some light on the new career you’re considering as a way to make money. Search for and join some LinkedIn groups related to your desired field. Follow the conversations in those groups and engage with others as you learn. Doing so will help you grow your network and better understand what to expect as you're considering new roles. Plus, those new connections might also help open some doors for you once you're further along in your job search. 

FAQs about low-stress, high-paying jobs

What are the highest-paying, stress-free jobs?

According to data that FinanceBuzz compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), some low-stress jobs that typically yield a six-figure salary include mathematician, software developer, political scientist, physicist, chemical engineer, astronomer, and economist. Keep in mind, though, that these aren't necessarily stress-free jobs; based on O*NET data, they typically require a low stress tolerance.

Other jobs that require a low stress tolerance and typically pay in the high-five-figure range (according to O*NET) include art directors, with an average annual salary of $94,220; statisticians, with an average annual salary of $91,160; operations research analysts, who earn an average of $84,810 annually; and audiologists, who make around $77,600 a year. 

What are the easiest jobs that pay a lot?

What constitutes an easy job depends upon your unique skillset. While some may find certain jobs we've included on our list to be easy, others may view them as quite challenging. For instance, while a mathematician's job might not be stressful, it's unlikely to be easy unless you are really good with numbers. The best way to find the easiest jobs with high pay is to research well-paying jobs that align with your own unique skills and background.

What's the best way to find low-stress, high-paying jobs?

The best way to find specific job opportunities depends upon the role you're interested in. In general, though, online job search sites like Indeed or Glassdoor are likely good places to start if you are looking for a new role. If you are interested in working for a specific company, consider checking out open roles on that company's career page. 


Bottom line on low-stress, high-paying jobs

Not all jobs that provide a hefty paycheck need to come with hefty stress levels. If you’re feeling like the pressure of your high-stress job is too much to bear, several occupations out there can boost your bank account without raising your blood pressure.

FlexJobs Benefits

  • Biggest hand-screened database of remote and flexible jobs
  • Top employers from all industries
  • Discounts on 60+ job search and work-life products
  • Satisfaction guaranteed