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How to Get These 5 High-Paying, Low-Stress Jobs


Want a good- or even great-paying job but don’t want to join the ranks of the over-stressed? Believe it or not, there are options for you. Recently, Business Insider put together a list of high-paying jobs with lower “stress tolerance” ratings, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Occupational Information Network. We looked at what it takes to prepare for some of top jobs on their list.


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First things first: these are jobs that require a significant investment in terms of education and preparation. But even if these don’t seem like jobs you’d like to do, you might derive some insight into what makes some jobs less stressful than others, and apply that knowledge to your own search. Our Best Jobs for You tool can help you figure out what a good job looks like to you.

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A note on these scores: Business Insider notes “stress tolerance” on a scale of 1 to 100, with lower scores indicating less stress on the job. Median salary comes from PayScale’s Salary Survey of workers in the particular occupations.

1. Materials Scientist

Stress tolerance: 53.0

Median salary: $81,957

What they do: Materials scientists work to constantly improve the materials and properties of products, using their knowledge of materials on the chemical and structural level to improve products and/or create new ones.

Job satisfaction: This job ranks 5 out of 5 with 33 votes on job satisfaction.

How to be better at this job: Employment prospects may be improved for candidates who have some education in other fields such as economics, biological sciences, and mathematics.

2. Mathematician

Stress tolerance: 57.2

Median salary: $75,715

What they do: The career of a mathematician centers on performing advanced mathematical equations (often with computers and using complex software) to theorize and understand mathematical principles and, in turn, solve real-world problems.

Job satisfaction: This job ranks 5 out of 5 with 22 votes on job satisfaction.

Software to get ahead: Mathematicians seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, facility with R and Matlab are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 35 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Those listing Microsoft Excel and C++ as skills, on the other hand, should be prepared for drastically lower pay. The majority of those who know Matlab also know R.

3. Geographer

Stress tolerance: 58.0

Median salary: $57,975

What they do: Among other tasks like making and interpreting maps, they consult governments, agencies, and organizations on the assessment of geographic conditions, phenomena, and anomalies.

Job satisfaction: This job ranks 4 out of 5 with 7 votes on job satisfaction.

How to become a geographer: Some entry-level positions will take candidates with only a bachelor’s degree, but many jobs require a master’s. Geographers should be both computer literate (think: able to use Microsoft Office) and trained in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

4. Actuary

Stress tolerance: 63.7

Median salary: $81,089

What they do: Actuaries play a key role in insurance companies by serving as analysts who help determine whether the company should issue an insurance policy and what the premium for that policy should be. They use a great deal of statistical analysis in their work, as they examine huge amounts of data related to costing and trends.

Job satisfaction: This job ranks 5 out of 5 with 175 votes on job satisfaction.

This job in real life: Actuaries look at incident data (like car accidents by location) and then adjust rates and terms as necessary; they may also occasionally pull disparate data from a variety of sources for these adjustments. For example, those who work with homeowner’s insurance may regularly assess not only crime data in a neighborhood, but also patterns of destructive weather where previous claims have been paid. This ongoing re-calculation of risk exposure for the insurance company is an actuary’s primary responsibility.

5. Orthodontist

Stress tolerance: 67.0

Median salary: $152,383

What they do: Orthodontists are primarily responsible for providing treatment of dental issues which may require the application of braces. Those in this position also oversee their patients’ dental health and progress and generally work with several staff members to accomplish this.

Job satisfaction: This job ranks 5 out of 5 with 13 votes on job satisfaction.

Pay peaks early: Salaries for the relatively new average out to around $155,000, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $178,000. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $153,000 in this role. Average wages for folks with more than 20 years of experience come out to around $148,000.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

Thanks, JusmyO — noted, and spam-filtered!


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