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What Do the World’s Most Stressful Jobs Pay?

Perhaps salary should be proportional to stress level… Perhaps.

man sitting with his head on a laptop

Think about this for a second: Does a job, in and of itself, induce stress in a worker, or does the worker’s response to the job create the condition known as stress?

No matter what the source of your stress is, you probably use the same balm as all other workers whenever they want to temporarily alleviate the tension in their bodies.

That balm is, of course, the paycheck. The question is which stressful jobs offer the financial equivalent of Bengay and which come with salaries that aggravate the pain.

Here’s some friendly advice: If you believe in your heart of hearts that the stress you get from your job isn’t proportional to what you’re paid, you might want to reconsider your options. While salaries and stress levels don’t exactly have a direct correlation, it seems only right for the former to keep up with the latter.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a point we can’t stress enough.

Check below to see if your job features among the world’s most stressful ones. While you’re at it, check out the annual amount they pay as well.

911 dispatcher
Average salary: $47,030
Why it’s stressful: Those 911 calls can leave a person traumatized.
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Air traffic controller
Average salary: $127,920
Why it’s stressful: If their attention wavers from their screens, they could end up jeopardizing hundreds of human lives.
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Aircraft maintenance engineer
Average salary: $69,470
Why it’s stressful: Through their maintenance work, these folks have to ensure the safety of the crew and passengers.
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Airline pilot
Average salary: $198,190
Why it’s stressful: One wrong move and they could send their aircraft spiraling out of control.
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Anesthesiologist
Average salary: $208,000
Why it’s stressful: Administering anesthesia is anything but easy. As a matter of fact, it could be deadly.
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Army officer
Average salary: $81,988
Why it’s stressful: They put their lives on the line in the name of national defense.
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Banking and city traders
Average salary: $50,670
Why it’s stressful: The targets are high, the working hours are long, and the workload is really, really heavy.
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Bartender
Average salary: $30,340
Why it’s stressful: It’s not just about mixing cocktails—these people have to stand on their feet for hours on end.
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Broadcaster
Average salary: $62,960
Why it’s stressful: Before they face the camera in their primetime slot, they have to deal with hard deadlines and even safety issues.
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Cardiovascular technologist
Average salary: $59,100
Why it’s stressful: Frequently dealing with patients that have heart diseases can give them, well, a heavy heart.
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Chef
Average salary: $56,920
Why it’s stressful: There’s no need for Gordon Ramsay to breathe down their necks—the restaurant and kitchen environment can get hellish enough as it is.
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Child and family social worker
Average salary: $48,430
Why it’s stressful: Their hearts are wrenched every time they interact with homeless or neglected children. (Seriously, who wouldn’t be stressed by this?)
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Clinical social worker
Average salary: $57,630
Why it’s stressful: They often interact with people who have hit rock bottom. That takes a toll.
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Community health worker
Average salary: $42,000
Why it’s stressful: They can end up getting ill (physically and mentally) after dealing with so many ill members of the community.
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Compliance officer
Average salary: $71,100
Why it’s stressful: Preventing policy violations isn’t as easy as it seems. Ensuring compliance is actually a headache.
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Construction manager
Average salary: $97,180
Why it’s stressful: From securing work permits to dealing with clients, they have their hands full.
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Construction worker
Average salary: $44,130
Why it’s stressful: Rain or shine, they have to report to the site and make progress.
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Correction officer
Average salary: $40,000
Why it’s stressful: They can get trapped in a prison of their minds if they succumb to the stress of their hectic environment.
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Emergency room nurse
Average salary: $69,000
Why it’s stressful: Just the nurse part is draining enough, but when you factor in the emergency part, the stress intensifies.
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Enlisted military
Average salary: $44,588
Why it’s stressful: These men and women in uniform give over their bodies and minds to their country’s cause.
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Event coordinator
Average salary: $48,290
Why it’s stressful: There’s a price to be paid for the smooth flow of formal events. That price happens to be mental energy.
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Financial analyst
Average salary: $103,020
Why it’s stressful: Dealing with unhappy clients during a down time in the market is no picnic.
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Firefighter
Average salary: $55,290
Why it’s stressful: They have to walk into buildings that are ablaze in order to save lives. What part of that is NOT stressful?
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Fisherman
Average salary: $44,639
Why it’s stressful: Those tricky weather and ocean conditions can sure cause a lot of stress.
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Forensic cleaner
Average salary: $37,525
Why it’s stressful: Someone has to do the unfortunate job of cleaning up gruesome crime scenes. There’s no other word for it: This job is harrowing.
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Full-time student
Average salary: $0
Why it’s stressful: While students don’t actually get a salary for plowing through their studies, their stress levels are comparable to professional levels. In particular, the adjustment to at-home learning was agonizing for some learners.
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Head chefs
Average salary: $56,612
Why it’s stressful: If their kitchen performs well, they can take credit. If it has terrible service, they certainly get the blame. That’s the unfortunate part.
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Healthcare worker
Average salary: $33,330
Why it’s stressful: Their exposure to their patients’ conditions makes them prone to illness.
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Information security analyst
Average salary: $103,590
Why it’s stressful: They have to put up—and maintain—barriers strong enough to fend off cyberattacks.
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IT manager
Average salary: $142,530
Why it’s stressful: Deadlines, cyber threats, and the chaos of backend systems—that’s a recipe for major stress.
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Laborer
Average salary: $29,050
Why it’s stressful: The very job title (LABORer) speaks to the occupation’s demanding nature.
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Lawyer
Average salary: $148,030
Why it’s stressful: Their goal is to obtain a favorable ruling for their client? And they have to convince a judge or jury to deliver it? Talk about tough.
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Logging worker
Average salary: $23,000
Why it’s stressful: Those forests are unbelievably dangerous.
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Marriage and family therapist
Average salary: $59,660
Why it’s stressful: It is a Herculean task to restore harmony between lovers who are one step away from calling it quits because of irreconcilable differences.
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Mental health counselor
Average salary: $48,720
Why it’s stressful: Dealing with individuals suffering from mental issues can take its toll on counselors, no matter how experienced they are.
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News reporter
Average salary: $44,477
Why it’s stressful: There is no fixed schedule for breaking news. Whenever a new development occurs, reporters have to be on top of it, or else!
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Oil rigger
Average salary: $50,510
Why it’s stressful: Their working conditions are too harsh and their personal space is too limited.
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Paramedic
Average salary: $38,830
Why it’s stressful: They need to be alert all the time, ready to respond to emergency situations.
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Patrol officer
Average salary: $65,540
Why it’s stressful: These officers often work odd hours. Plus, they can get caught up in dangerous situations.
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Personal assistant
Average salary: $66,870
Why it’s stressful: They have to deal with schedules, clerical tasks, requisitions, inquiries, and (if they’re really unlucky) their boss’s foul temper.
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Phlebotomist
Average salary: $38,450
Why it’s stressful: Phlebotomists have to efficiently secure blood samples from patients (some of whom are scared of needles). Then, they have to be 110% sure that they’re not mislabelling any samples.
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Police officer
Average salary: $70,750
Why it’s stressful: They risk their lives in order to maintain law and order in their community.
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PR executive
Average salary: $73,250
Why it’s stressful: They have the thankless job of maintaining their client’s good image, even if said client is not exactly a good person.
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Recruitment consultant
Average salary: $59,639
Why it’s stressful: They work long hours in a cutthroat environment.
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Rehabilitation counselor
Average salary: $37,530
Why it’s stressful: Whether they like it or not, they need to smile at irate customers and address their concerns.
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Retail and hospitality sales staff
Average salary: $31,920
Why it’s stressful: In the name of customer service, they will endure exhaustion and even verbal abuse.
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Sales manager
Average salary: $132,290
Why it’s stressful: The effectiveness of salespeople is a burden on their shoulders.
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Security guard
Average salary: $31,050
Why it’s stressful: If a shoplifter gets past security… well, these guards are in for a tongue-lashing or worse.
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Senior corporate executive
Average salary: $104,700
Why it’s stressful: Major decisions—meaning, those that have implications for hundreds of stakeholders—weigh on their minds on a daily, even hourly, basis.
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Social worker
Average salary: $63,010
Why it’s stressful: Social work is utterly unpredictable. It’s hard to mentally prepare if potential threats are largely unknown.
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Sports referee
Average salary: $51,710
Why it’s stressful: Long hours of travel culminate in a pivotal game where just about every player and coach (along with a chunk of the audience) yells at the referees.
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Structural iron/steelworker
Average salary: $54,830
Why it’s stressful: Those heights can be a doozy, and the drastic weather changes can inflict damage on their health.
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Surgeon
Average salary: $297,800
Why it’s stressful: If only every procedure could unfold without a hitch… Sadly, that’s not what happens in the real-life practice of surgeons.
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Taxi driver
Average salary: $30,050
Why it’s stressful: Rude passengers and careless drivers on the street are hard enough to deal with, but nothing can increase stress levels as efficiently as rush-hour traffic.
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Teacher
Average salary: $65,990
Why it’s stressful: Where to begin? Disruptive students, hostile parents, and stern administrators can all cause stress. That’s not even accounting for the long hours needed to prepare a day’s lesson.
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Telephone operator
Average salary: $39,370
Why it’s stressful: They have no choice but to deal with a variety of personalities, including customers who would love nothing more than to vent their anger with a product or service.
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Train driver
Average salary: $72,940
Why it’s stressful: They need to keep their eyes peeled at all times while they operate the train.
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Truck driver
Average salary: $50,340
Why it’s stressful: Truck drivers are usually on the road for hours on end, barely taking a break in between.
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Want a job that’s not nearly as stressful? Check out these work from home jobs.

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