8 Low-Stress Jobs With $100K Salaries and Their Qualifications

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It could be said that, the more you earn, the more stress might come with the gig. After all, higher salaries can come with more responsibilities and more pressure to have high-performing results.

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In fact, a 2018 LinkedIn survey found that “higher earners do experience higher job-related stress,” according to The Balance. Conversely, “less stressful careers often mean lower pay.” The survey cited findings showing that only 38% of those making $51,000-$75,000 reported significant stress at work — whereas 68% of those earning more than $201,000 said they were stressed on the job.

But is this always the case? Not necessarily.

Per a new report by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET), 837 jobs were ranked based on levels of stress coinciding with them — and surprisingly, a number of those placing favorably were gigs that offered up $100,000 or more, annually, on average.

Each of the examples below were calculated as having a stress level of less than 75 (out of 100 points) based on O*NET’s qualifications, which included “accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.”

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Not that these jobs don’t have stress — in fact, the lowest ranking by O*NET is still a score of 37 — there’s just not as much worry present on the job as there might be with other high-earning employment opportunities (like stock brokers or surgeons).

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Here are 8 examples of high-paying jobs that have low-stress environments:

  1. Information Security Analyst (Stress Level: 73, Median Salary: $102,600): A company’s IT department relies on this person to plan and monitor security measures for the business’s network and provide upgrades when needed. They are responsible for ensuring digital data and sensitive information is encrypted and safeguarded against any cybersecurity threats. Most applicants need to have a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience.
  2. Robotics Engineer (Stress Level: 73, Median Salary: $100,640): Usually working in automotive or factory settings, these engineers research and design applications that are robotic in nature and test them to ensure safety and reliability. A four-year degree is usually required, as is on-the-job or vocational training.
  3. Astronomer (Stress Level: 71, Median Salary: $128,160): Those who always wanted to be an astronaut “when they grow up” might consider this adjacent job that researches the universe and shares those findings in professional journals and at conferences; many also work as professors. Because of its specialized nature, this job usually requires an advanced degree (if not a doctorate) and five or more years of relevant experience.
  4. Art Director (Stress Level: 69, Median Salary: $100,890): Advertisements, magazines and even films all need someone leading the creative process, aka an art director. They conceptualize designs and logos, work with layouts and move materials into production. Most art directors have a four-year degree in an arts field.
  5. Political Scientist (Stress Level: 68, Median Salary: $122,510): A person who studies politics and local or national policy carries this title. Some of the topics they may research include the operation of governments and election results and they may even conduct public opinion surveys, the results of which are often shared on the news. A master’s degree or PhD is usually required for this type of position, as well as a number of years of experience and applied job training.
  6. Orthodontist (Stress Level: 67, Median Salary: $208,000): If you ever had braces, you’ll know exactly who this professional is. An orthodontist also works with complicated issues related to cavities and jaws that a regular dentist is unable to diagnose and treat. Because this is a specialized field, a medical degree is necessary — as well as practicums and clinicals.
  7. Solar Energy System Engineer (Stress Level: 61, Median Salary: $100,640): With the Biden administration’s new measures to incentivize Americans to invest in solar energy and eco-friendly measures, this job may soon be in higher demand. These engineers help design and implement solar energy systems for residential, commercial and industrial properties, while adhering to local guidelines. Usually this role requires a bachelor’s degree and on-the-job training.
  8. Mathematician (Stress Level: 56, Median Salary: $108,100): Mathematicians have one of the least stressful jobs in this high salary range. They are problem solvers using math to find solutions in a number of situations, including map-making, computing processes and more. Graduate degrees are usually required, as is about four or more years of experience.

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About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined GOBankingRates.com in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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