9 Most Stressful Jobs with Not Enough Pay

An Ethnic teacher is leading a class of elementary school children.
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Every job comes with its share of stress, but some occupations bear a significantly heavier burden compared to the financial compensation they offer. This article sheds light on nine of the most stressful jobs that, unfortunately, don’t always come with a paycheck that matches the pressure.

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Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

EMTs are often the first on the scene during a crisis, making life-or-death decisions daily. While this work is essential, it’s also highly stressful. However, the average pay for EMTs often falls short of reflecting the intensity of their work.

Social Worker

Helping others navigate personal and social challenges is rewarding but can be emotionally taxing. Despite the high levels of stress involved, social workers often earn less than other professionals with similar education levels.


Shaping young minds is an immense responsibility and a source of stress, particularly in under-resourced schools. The profession demands long hours, often extending beyond the classroom, yet teachers’ salaries don’t always match their workload.


Meeting tight deadlines, chasing stories, and maintaining objectivity in stressful situations are common stressors for journalists. While the work is intellectually stimulating, the industry is notorious for its modest pay scales.

Military Personnel

Serving in the military is inherently stressful due to the life-threatening situations involved and the significant physical and mental demands. Despite the risks and sacrifices, compensation can be underwhelming, particularly for lower-ranking officers.

Police Officer

Ensuring public safety and facing potential danger is part of a police officer’s job description. Despite the high-stress nature of their work and the irregular hours, the salaries in law enforcement often don’t compensate for the risk.

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Restaurant Server

Restaurant servers often work long hours, on their feet, dealing with demanding customers. While tips can sometimes boost earnings, the base salary in the service industry often falls short of the stress and physical demands.

Healthcare Support Staff

Nurses, nursing assistants, and other healthcare support staff provide critical services in hospitals and clinics. The physical demands, coupled with the emotional stress of patient care, can be overwhelming. Despite this, compensation in these roles is often not commensurate with the job stress.

Retail Workers

Retail work can be demanding, especially during holiday seasons or sales. Dealing with difficult customers and managing inventory can be stressful, yet the compensation is typically low, particularly for part-time workers. Yes, working in the food industry is just, maybe even more stressful, but with servers, cooks, and bartenders being able to make money off tips compared to retail, makes retail even worse.

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The jobs listed above, while fulfilling in their own ways, entail high levels of stress and often lack the financial remuneration to match. This discrepancy underscores the need for policy changes and industry-wide shifts to ensure better working conditions and fairer compensation for these essential roles.

Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.

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