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Low Stress, High Pay? These 3 Low-Pressure Jobs Can Pay $70k or More per Year


It’s common to think of stress and pay as a tradeoff. For example, surgeons and air traffic controllers pull down the big bucks because their work is not only beneficial to society, but potentially tough on the cortisol levels of the job-holder. We don’t care how good you are at managing stress: if your job involves rebuilding the human body or landing several tons of steel and jet fuel, you’re going to feel the pressure. But not every high-paying gig demands such sacrifices.


(Photo Credit: paxson_woelber/Flickr)

In a recent Yahoo! Education article, Jennifer Berry looks at a few of the lower-stress professions that pay good money — over $70,000 annually, at the 90th percentile, according to PayScale’s Research Center.

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1. Technical Writer: If software instructions always seem simple to you — but you’re sure you’d personally be able to do better — this might be the job for you. Pay is widely variable, but technical writers have a lot of flexibility in terms of their work commitments. Many work from home, as freelancers or remotely for an employer. Technical writers often have an associates or bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, as well as expert-level knowledge of English language and grammar.

Pay Range: $34,395 – $83,870

Median Pay: $52,844

90th Percentile: $79,000

2. Actuary: Working as actuary is as close as you can get to becoming an actual psychic, but it’s strictly for folks who love numbers, statistical analysis, and data modeling. Actuaries need superior problem solving and critical thinking abilities, and typically have an advanced degree in actuarial science, mathematics, or similar. They must also pass rigorous examinations to earn their credentials.

Pay Range: $49,870 – $151,018

Median Pay: $79,924

90th Percentile: $130,000

3. Dental Hygienist: Dental hygienists have a high rate of job satisfaction, and can often begin their career with just two years of schooling (and the required examinations for licensure). Perfect for someone who loves people — and teeth.

Pay Range: $43,117 – $86,932

Median Pay: $50,701

90th Percentile: $73,000

If none of these appeal to you, keep in mind that there are low-pressure gigs in most industries — you just need to know how to look for them.

“I’d definitely recommend looking at not only specific jobs, but also the perks and benefits associated with those jobs, as a way to reduce stress,” Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, tells Berry. “In addition to a great salary, does the job offer the chance to telecommute or work a flexible schedule? Options like that can help you stress less about commuting to work, finding time for your family, or trying to find better work-life balance.”

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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DianeAllieAbby Recent comment authors
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Dental Hygienist is a very stressful job, salaries going down, your back, neck, and hand get destroyed.


Diane – everything you say is absolutely true. But I think it’s still a pretty low-stress job in terms of the perks you get including the pay compared to other jobs. How many other jobs do you get to work from home 100% of the time (okay, that’s my case – I know not everyone works 100% from home), make a great salary, and write? I think if it’s really that stressful, it might be time to work for another… Read more »


I would love to know why you classify Technical Writing as low-stress. The Tech Pubs department is the caboose on the train. Overworked and behind-schedule software or hardware engineers rarely understand the value of the documentation to the overall deliverable. Getting Doc hand-offs is a crapshoot. And you are always going to have the V.P. who doesn’t understand why he needs to pay someone to ‘write stuff’. After all, EVERYONE in the company knows how to write or ‘we wouldn’t… Read more »

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