Top Low Stress Jobs That Pay Well in 2021
Who says high pay needs to come with high stress? If you’re looking to get into a field that pays well, without crazy life-or-death pressure, you’re in luck. There are plenty of “boring” jobs that are also very high paying.
15 of the Best High-Paying Low-Stress Jobs
There are a variety of jobs in fields such as business and healthcare that are reported to be low-stress. In fact, the following professions have a median salary of at least $75,000, according to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and are some of the highest-paying jobs across the country.
1. University Professor
Median Salary: $80,790
Post-secondary teachers tend to enjoy flexible schedules. While some teach classes at night or on weekends, these professionals generally find their jobs rewarding and appreciate the opportunity to share their expertise with students, according to the BLS. CareerCast ranked university professor as one of the careers with the lowest stress level in 2019, the most recent year the job website compiled its list.
In addition to teaching, university professors advise students and conduct research in their fields. While most positions require you to hold a Ph.D., a graduate degree might be sufficient for community colleges, according to the BLS.
Median Salary: $81,030
CareerCast ranked audiologist as one of the least stressful jobs of 2019. According to the BLS, audiologists work with patients to identify and remedy problems related to hearing. Audiologists generally work full time in healthcare facilities or schools and sometimes travel between locations.
To succeed in this field, you’ll need to earn your doctorate in audiology, which generally takes four years. You can apply to an audiology program with a bachelor’s degree in any specialty.
3. Operations Research Analyst
Median Salary: $86,200
Operations research analysts use advanced math and analytics to investigate complex issues for businesses, according to the BLS. While they travel on occasion, they generally work typical hours in an office setting.
While you might be able to land an entry-level position in this field with a bachelor’s degree, the BLS reveals that most employers prefer workers with at least a master’s degree. Aspiring analysts should pursue degrees in operations research, math, engineering or a comparable quantitative or technical field.
4. Radiation Therapist
Median Salary: $86,850
You can earn a healthy salary by administering radiation to treat cancer and other illnesses. Although radiation therapists are on their feet assisting patients most of the day, they tend to work standard hours, as radiation sessions are scheduled during normal business hours, according to the BLS.
Educational requirements vary, but employers generally prefer applicants with an associate or bachelor’s degree.
Median Salary: $92,270
If you’re good with numbers, you might want to consider a career as a statistician. These individuals collect data to help solve problems in a variety of industries and generally work full time. They could need to work overtime to meet a deadline or fill a last-minute request for information.
Job growth for this profession is currently high, as an increasing number of businesses are using statistical analysis to make decisions, according to the BLS. Most opportunities require candidates to hold master’s degrees in statistics, mathematics or similar fields.
6. Biomedical Engineer
Median Salary: $92,620
A biomedical engineering career offers both professional and personal benefits. In fact, U.S. News & World Report classified it as a lower-stress job.
Biomedical engineers analyze and design equipment, devices and computers used in the healthcare field. According to the BLS, workers in this field typically have normal schedules, but there is the potential for longer hours to meet deadlines and design standards. Job seekers can find positions in hospitals, universities, medical institutions and labs.
To enter this profession, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, bioengineering or another engineering field. Some jobs will require a graduate degree.
7. Art Director
Median Salary: $97,270
Art directors have the potential to earn impressive paychecks. Responsible for overseeing the style and image choices for publications, movies and television, art directors also can find lucrative jobs at advertising and publishing companies. Many of them are self-employed, according to the BLS.
Art directors do have to meet deadlines, which means working overtime on occasion. The art directors who work for themselves can create their own hours, a fact that helps them achieve a better work-life balance. To pursue this career, you’ll need some prior work experience and a bachelor’s degree in art or design.
Median Salary: $108,350
Economists spend their time studying the production and distribution of resources, goods and services. Economists work in both the private and public sector, with federal, state and local governments in need of their expertise.
A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions, but most economist jobs require a master’s degree or even a Ph.D.
Median Salary: $110,860
Mathematicians utilize techniques to solve problems in business, engineering and other fields. U.S. News ranked mathematician as the sixth-best job in business in 2021 and noted that mathematicians enjoy a variety of professional opportunities.
To qualify for a mathematics position, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in math. Some positions require further education.
Median Salary: $111,030
An actuary analyzes the financial costs of risks taken by businesses and clients. However, pursuing a career as an actuary involves little risk and plenty of rewards. South Dakota State University touts the profession for its “high pay, low stress, good job security” and contribution in solving important problems.
Actuaries commonly hold bachelor’s degrees in math or related analytical fields. Additional certification is needed to achieve full professional status.
Median Salary: $118,050
Optometrists perform key functions by diagnosing and treating patients’ vision issues. While an aspiring optometrist needs to spend eight years completing first a bachelor’s degree and then a doctor of optometry program, the payoff is a generous salary and high job satisfaction with lots of job security, too.
In a U.S. News & World Report feature on the best jobs, optometrists received an above-average score for flexibility. However, some optometrists do choose to see patients in the evenings or on weekends. All states require optometrists to have an O.D. degree from an accredited school and pass at least one test before they will be granted a license.
12. Computer Hardware Engineer
Median Salary: $119,560
If you’re tech savvy and want the potential to earn a six-figure salary, you might consider a career as a computer hardware engineer. These professionals research problems, design systems, create solutions and run tests on computers, processors, routers and memory devices.
Many computer hardware engineers work for high-tech manufacturing firms. A viable candidate should hold a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from an accredited program, but employers often expect knowledge of computer programming.
13. Computer and Information Research Scientist
Median Salary: $126,830
Computer and information research scientists regularly earn more than six figures, according to the BLS. Moreover, these experts are in high demand in a variety of fields, including business, medicine and science.
Computer and information research scientists are responsible for identifying issues and creating technologies to address them. More than a quarter — 28% — of jobs in the field are in the federal government, according to the BLS. Those looking to enter the field might need to invest more time upfront, as many positions require an advanced degree, such as a master’s or Ph.D.
Median Salary: $164,010
If you don’t mind looking at teeth for a living, a career as a dentist could provide you with both monetary rewards and flexibility. According to ExploreHealthCareers.org, full-time dentists typically work 36-hour weeks in their practices. And because dentists are often self-employed, they get to make their own schedules.
Still, the road to becoming a dentist is a long one. You’ll have to attend dental school and pass exams, as well as secure a state license.
Median Salary: $208,000
Orthodontists improve both the appearance and function of teeth. To become one, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree, attend dental school for four years and complete a residency program.
After all that education, you can relax in a career known for its low stress levels and high pay. In fact, U.S. News & World Report found that the job offers great flexibility and below-average stress.
Click through to find the best cities to score your dream job.
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Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.
Last updated: Sep. 28, 2021
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."
- CareerCast.com. "2019 Least Stressful Jobs."
- U.S. News Money. "Mathemetician - Career, Salary, Reviews and Advice."
- U.S. News Money. "Orthodontist Salary."