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America's Most Stressful Jobs 2011

America's Most Stressful Jobs 2011

With the unemployment rate nationally still hovering around 9 percent, many people are grateful simply to get a paycheck - but gratitude doesn't take the stress out of the daily grind. To get a sense of the most stressful jobs in America, looked at 11 different factors that can cause stress on the job, and ranked 200 professions by how significantly these demands factor into the average workday. Factors that weighed into stress include work environment, job competitiveness, opportunity for advan
Photo: Andy Sotiriou | Photodisc | Getty Images || Source: CareerCast.com

With the unemployment rate nationally still hovering around 9 percent, many people are grateful simply to get a paycheck - but gratitude doesn't take the stress out of the daily grind.

To get a sense of the most stressful jobs in America, CareerCast.comlooked at 11 different factors that can cause stress on the job, and ranked 200 professions by how significantly these demands factor into the average workday. Factors that weighed into stress include work environment, job competitiveness, physical demands, deadlines, on-the-job dangers and even the job's growth potential.

Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com, highlights an interesting trend in America’s job market: “As for people who want to throw themselves into bigger challenges, there are simply less of those people than there used to be. ”This phenomenon is having an effect on new entrants into the job market. Specifically, he says, new college graduates are seeking jobs that bring them less stress, a choice that may be difficult to realize for individuals who have been entrenched in their jobs for an extended period of time.

Lee says there will always be people willing to take on the challenges of consistently stressful jobs, such as firefighters and policemen. However, these professions feel the additional stress of the overall economy in the form of uncertainty about budget cuts and pension benefits -- which can considerably add to an already stressful job.

For almost every job in America, the recession has in some way affected how individuals feel in their everyday work routine. How have the rankings of stressful jobs changed and which jobs rank as the most stressful this year? Click ahead to find out.

By Paul ToscanoPosted 19 April 2011

10. Real Estate Agent

Average annual salary: $53,100 The slowly improving housing market puts real estate agents in a lower stress position than they were last year, says Tony Lee. However, their incomes are based on commission, and there is uncertainty regarding future sales and job availability . Real estate agents also work long, erratic hours, spending much of their time showing properties to clients. They must be extremely independent, and able to handle sales quotas and deadline pressures. As a result, real est

Stress score: 38.57
Average annual salary: $53,100
Hours per day: 9.5

The slowly improving housing market puts real estate agents in a lower stress position than they were last year, says Tony Lee. However, their incomes are based on commission, and there is uncertainty regarding future sales and job availability . Real estate agents also work long, erratic hours, spending much of their time showing properties to clients. They must be extremely independent, and able to handle sales quotas and deadline pressures. As a result, real estate agent is considered the 10th most stressful job this year.

9. Emergency Medical Technician

Average annual salary: $33,020 EMTs are responsible for assessing injuries, administering emergency medical care, and transporting injured or sick people to medical facilities. The day-to-day stress of an EMT comes with the fact that both the EMT's life and the patient’s life are on the line, says Tony Lee, who points out that budget cuts are also affecting this profession.
Photo: Thinkstock Images | Comstock Images | Getty Images

Stress score: 39.68
Average annual salary: $33,020
Hours per day: Varies

EMTs are responsible for assessing injuries, administering emergency medical care, and transporting injured or sick people to medical facilities. The day-to-day stress of an EMT comes with the fact that both the EMT's life and the patient’s life are on the line, says Tony Lee, who points out that budget cuts are also affecting this profession.

8. Stockbroker

Average annual salary: $85,580 Traditionally considered a stressful job, stock brokers are required to make instantaneous decisions that directly affect others ' finances and wealth. The stock market is a stressful place for brokers, says Tony Lee, who adds that they are “continuously worried about missing opportunities. When the market is going well, clients expect everything to go up , and brokers are continually expected to perform.” For this reason, he highlights that there is stress for bro
Photo: Bryce Duffy | Stone | Getty Images

Stress score: 39.70
Average annual salary: $85,580
Hours per day: 8

Traditionally considered a stressful job, stock brokers are required to make instantaneous decisions that directly affect others ' finances and wealth. The stock market is a stressful place for brokers, says Tony Lee, who adds that they are “continuously worried about missing opportunities. When the market is going well, clients expect everything to go up , and brokers are continually expected to perform.” For this reason, he highlights that there is stress for brokers in both good markets and bad markets.

7. Architect

Average annual salary: $78,800 The stress of an architect has gone up considerably in recent years, according to Tony Lee. The reason? A lack in building activity. “There is a lot of competition for contracts and individual jobs,” he says, which is a major reason why the profession is ranked seventh in this year’s list. With the number of potential projects uncertain for many architects, the fear of perceived unemployment can make the job considerably stressful.

Stress score: 39.93
Average annual salary: $78,800
Hours per day: 8+

The stress of an architect has gone up considerably in recent years, according to Tony Lee. The reason? A lack in building activity. “There is a lot of competition for contracts and individual jobs,” he says, which is a major reason why the profession is ranked seventh in this year’s list. With the number of potential projects uncertain for many architects, the fear of perceived unemployment can make the job considerably stressful.

6. Advertising Account Executive

Average annual salary: $97,670 “Technology is a big reason why this job is stressful,” says Tony Lee. He points out that traditional audiences are changing rapidly, while advertising in print and other traditional media remains uncertain. Advertising executives must continually keep pace with trends and consumer tastes, and dealing with clients tends to be particularly stressful in their daily work routines.
Photo: Stock4B | Getty Images

Stress score: 41.05
Average annual salary: $97,670
Hours per day: 9.5

“Technology is a big reason why this job is stressful,” says Tony Lee. He points out that traditional audiences are changing rapidly, while advertising in print and other traditional media remains uncertain. Advertising executives must continually keep pace with trends and consumer tastes, and dealing with clients tends to be particularly stressful in their daily work routines.

5. Newscaster

Average annual salary: $43,270* The news business is always a stressful place. Because of global crises, environmental disasters, and wars, newscasters are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They research, write, and report from the front lines, and they're expected to go on-air with little or no preparation. Technology is another reason the job of a newscaster is stressful: they must be continually plugged in, interacting with the dynamic landscape of the internet, which is continuously cha
Photo: Grafissimo | Vetta | Getty Images

Stress score: 43.56
Average annual salary: $43,270*
Hours per day: 8

The news business is always a stressful place. Because of global crises, environmental disasters, and wars, newscasters are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They research, write, and report from the front lines, and they're expected to go on-air with little or no preparation.

Technology is another reason the job of a newscaster is stressful: they must be continually plugged in, interacting with the dynamic landscape of the internet, which is continuously changing the way they broadcast the news. ”It just doesn’t get much more stressful than the expectations put on someone involved in the news,” says Tony Lee.

*This figure corresponds to “Reporters and Correspondents” according to the BLS.

4. Photojournalist

Average annual salary: $43,270* Much like newscasters, photojournalists are expected to be on the front lines, with a job description that requires them to enter some of the most dangerous, remote or volatile places on earth. Many are on call 24 hours a day. And when news breaks, the photojournalists may have to mobilize with extremely short notice and stay on assignment for extended periods of time. The dangers of the job are also evident: earlier this year, four journalists for the New York Ti
Photo: TommL | Vetta | Getty Images

Stress score: 47.09
Average annual salary: $43,270*
Hours per day: Varies

Much like newscasters, photojournalists are expected to be on the front lines, with a job description that requires them to enter some of the most dangerous, remote or volatile places on earth. Many are on call 24 hours a day. And when news breaks, the photojournalists may have to mobilize with extremely short notice and stay on assignment for extended periods of time.

The dangers of the job are also evident: earlier this year, four journalists for the New York Times were captured and held in Libya and eventually released. In fact, journalists in the US and abroad are killed in the line of work every year (16 so far in 2011 as of this writing), according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Also highlighting the dangers of the job is the most recent tragedy involving photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were killed covering the events in Libya. Two other photojournalists were also injured in the incident, and their wounds — although severe — are not thought to be fatal. 

Working in dangerous areas is just part of the job for photojournalists like Hetherington, who co-directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary on Afghanistan "Restrepo," and Hondros, who was a 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his coverage of unrest in Libya.
*This figure corresponds to “Reporters and Correspondents” according to the BLS.

3. Senior Corporate Executive

Average annual salary: $167,280 Corporate executives are highly paid, and for a good reason: they have held one of the most stressful jobs in America for the past two years. Not only does the job require extensive knowledge of business but also involves understanding trends, technological developments, and implications of their decisions. “Corporate executives are at the behests of their shareholders and corporate boards,” says Tony Lee. “They have to keep their company profitable, which is a co
Photo: Getty Images

Stress score: 47.41
Average annual salary: $167,280
Hours per day: 11

Corporate executives are highly paid, and for a good reason: they have held one of the most stressful jobs in America for the past two years. Not only does the job require extensive knowledge of business but also involves understanding trends, technological developments, and implications of their decisions.

“Corporate executives are at the behests of their shareholders and corporate boards,” says Tony Lee. “They have to keep their company profitable, which is a complex task. In an upturn, they have higher expectations, and they can’t simply cut costs and ride out the recession. They’re being held to a higher standard now that the economy is on the rebound — and much of the time, they are not in control of their own destiny.”

2. Public Relations Executive

Average annual salary: $101,850 Public relations executives are “completely at the mercy of their clients and buyers,” says Tony Lee, noting that their success or failure depends on the actions and decisions of clients, creating a stressful situation because their performance is in many ways out of their hands. They also bear the burden of being connected constantly to social media while also managing small details of several campaigns at once.
Photo: Jon Feingersh | Blend Images | Getty Images

Stress score: 47.60
Average annual salary: $101,850
Hours per day: 9

Public relations executives are “completely at the mercy of their clients and buyers,” says Tony Lee, noting that their success or failure depends on the actions and decisions of clients, creating a stressful situation because their performance is in many ways out of their hands.

They also bear the burden of being connected constantly to social media while also managing small details of several campaigns at once.

1. Commercial Airline Pilot

Average annual salary: $117,060 The most stressful job of 2011 is a commercial airline pilot, according to CareerCast.com. Tony Lee points out that several recent events demonstrate how a pilot’s job can be stressful, as it depends on factors out of their control. For instance, a pilot must rely heavily on equipment: the incident with the earlier this year revealed how this reliance can cause tension during a pilot’s normal working day. In addition, a pilot’s reliance on control tower operators
Photo: Dale Wilson | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Stress score: 59.53
Average annual salary: $117,060
Hours per day: 9

The most stressful job of 2011 is a commercial airline pilot, according to CareerCast.com. Tony Lee points out that several recent events demonstrate how a pilot’s job can be stressful, as it depends on factors out of their control. For instance, a pilot must rely heavily on equipment: the incident with the damaged Southwest 737 earlier this year revealed how this reliance can cause tension during a pilot’s normal working day. In addition, a pilot’s reliance on control tower operators also increases stress, especially after the revelations that air traffic controllers are falling asleep on the job,requiring planes to land without help.

Pilots also experience big swings in stress, says Tony Lee, going from “periods of extremely low stress when they’re not flying, followed by periods of extremely high stress. And these stressful swings are not the best thing for your health.” The profession has also been affected by the economy, he says, with layoffs, high oil prices, and cost cutting in the airline industry threatening pay raises and employment levels. For these reasons, being a commercial airline pilot is the most stressful job in America this year.