Let's face it, we are a stressed-out nation. Search for the term "stress" and it generates 152 MILLION results. Add a job in front of that and "job stress" generates 286 million results.
Well, if you have had it UPTOHERE with stress, you may want to take a look at this next list.
So how does a job qualify as "least stressful?"
"They have more control over their day, they're not being as stressed to perform in the public eye, they don't have a lot of physical demands, and nobody's life is at risk," said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com and JobsRated.com.
In all, there are 11 criteria, including job outlook, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While you might think it's an honor to be on the "least stressful" list, every year, without fail, there is backlash from people in these jobs saying, "How dare you! We have stress, too."
True, hairdressers and librarians of the world do have stress, too, but the key here is comparison. Compared to high-stress jobs, such as police officer and firefighter, these jobs rank as less stressful.
"How much time did you spend under deadline or with your life at risk?" Lee said. "It's data driven—not subjective."
To be clear, this is not to say that least stressful jobs don't work hard. That's a common misconception.
"It's not about not working—it's about working under conditions that make a job stressful"—or less stressful, Lee said. "There's no such thing as NO stress."
Without further adieu, here are the 10 least stressful jobs for 2014.
The 10 most stressful jobs for 2014
—By Cindy Perman
Posted 7 Jan 2014
Median salary: $35,580
Job growth expected through 2020*: 6%
A drill press is a hand-operated tool that drills holes in metal, plastic, or other material. It allows for greater accuracy, larger holes, and at varied angles compared to a typical drill. Pretty much every manufacturing operation has drill-press operators, from auto makers to energy equipment makers.
"These are the skilled craftsman in the manufacturing environment," Lee said. "So they're given the latitude to do the job at their own pace without a lot of deadlines or pressure—it's not like an assembly line where you're expected to crank out 30 of them in an hour or whatever."
Drill-press operator has always been low on the stress spectrum but this year, it cracked the bottom 10 in terms of stress. (CareerCast rates 200 jobs to come up with the list of 10 most and 10 least stressful jobs.)
* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Median salary: $61,370
Job growth expected through 2020: 8%
"You typically think of artists as struggling—but what we found with artists in multimedia—they do video, 3D sculpture, and create special pieces—there aren't many of them," Lee said.
What's more, the improvement in the U.S. economy is helping to boost demand for this profession.
"As the economy improves, more companies are saying: 'We'd like to have some sort of multimedia in our lobby, or at our meeting this month—we want to do something different, " Lee said.
Multimedia artists tend to love their jobs and one of the real perks is that they work at their own pace. Sure, they have a deadline—but it's not punch in at 9, clock out at 5.
"Just get your project done by whatever time you agree to have it done by," Lee said.
Median salary: $55,370
Job growth expected through 2020: 7%
What makes a librarian's job rank on the least stressful list is that they work in nice, air-conditioned spaces with a seat. They're not outside dealing with a lot temperature change.
"It's a comfortable job," Lee said.
And, this is one of those classic "least stressful" jobs, where you're helping others.
"You work one-on-one with people and when you're done, you get 'thank yous,'" Lee said. "That helps lower your stress."
That being said, he's received a lot of pushback from librarians in the past for being ranked on the list.
Well, apparently, the source of the gripe was that during the economic downturn, funding for libraries was cut, which hurt the outlook and added stress to the job.
"The issue here was cutbacks," Lee said. "However, now, we're starting to see it bounce back."
Median salary: $34,160
Job growth expected through 2020: 21%
"These are the folks who are making sure that all of your information is in one place," Lee said. "It's low stress because you're working in a physician's office, but you're not dealing with any patients. You just make sure they their proper medication and treatment."
What's more, with all the aging baby boomers, this job has a double-digit percentage for its growth outlook.
Median salary: $55,240
Job growth expected through 2020: 20%
Dietitians have the task of helping people with their health problems—to live better and eat better.
"This is another one of those jobs where you're helping people all day," Lee said.
And you know what that means … THANK YOU!
"Jobs where you're being thanked for your work are typically pretty rewarding," Lee said.
With all these aging baby boomers, there's also more need for dietitians—and that's a double-digit percent for their growth outlook.
Median salary: $26,280
Job growth expected through 2020: 1%
"This is one of those jobs where you're in total control of your day—and you're doing something you really enjoy," Lee said.
Of course, the low stress list isn't without its tradeoffs, and that means low pay and a weak job outlook.
"People are spending less time fixing their stuff these days," Lee said. "Most would rather just throw it out and replace it, and that means less demand for a seamstress or tailor."
Median salary: $64,290
Job growth expected through 2020: 17%
This job was the No. 1 least stressful job last year and what it came down to was that "the workload is simply not as high as other jobs," Lee said.
Plus, they have a lot of autonomy.
"They set their class schedules, class times. They work with admin and figure out what they want to teach. The set their own office hours," Lee said. "And autonomy lowers stress."
To be clear, this is tenured professors.
"Tenured professors typically teach three to four courses a semester and large schools have teaching assistants. Plus, after every seven years, tenured professors get a full semester sabbatical to do what they want," Lee explained.
Plus, the pay is good, the job security is exceptional (they have to do something really bad to lose their jobs)—and the hiring outlook is in double digits.
Last year, there was some outrage from non-tenured professors about coming in at the top of the list. For sure, being non-tenured is quite different—the educators never know if they'll have a job from one semester to the next. They could also work seven years at one place and instead of getting tenure or a sabbatical, they get laid off. Then they could go to another university, work another seven years and have the same thing happen. That's not low-stress.
So, this year, CareerCast is spelling out that when it (or the BLS) is speaking of university professors, it means tenured professors.
Median salary: $35,350
Job growth expected through 2020: -5%
"This is a job where your goal is to make people happy, whether you're helping a couple find an engagement ring or repairing treasured jewelry," Lee said. "It's a low-stress job."
You also tend to get a lot of positive feedback, Lee added.
However, the outlook hasn't quite bounced back yet. The economy is starting to recover, but we're not quite in rush-out-and-buy-sparkly-expensive-things mode.
Median salary: $22,700
Job growth expected through 2020: 14%
First, your job is to make people pretty, so that's pretty low-stress.
(Right there, didn't you just feel your pulse relax a bit?)
Second, many stylists describe their work environment as similar to working alongside friends every day and all day, talking about family, friends, or the latest George Clooney movie.
Most stylists aren't hair-salon owners, so they're on set hours. They do however many appointments they can schedule in a day—they don't have quotas or overhead costs.
Finally, when they make their clients look pretty, they get a tip.
Wouldn't it be nice if we all got tips for a job well done?
Median salary: $69,720
Job growth expected through 2020: 37%
And the No. 1 least-stressful job is … audiologist, climbing up five notches from last year to knock that (tenured) university professor off his perch.
Audiologists are people who work with others on hearing issues—everything from hearing loss to balance issues, etc.
First, if you help someone get some hearing back, that is incredibly rewarding. Their patients are also probably incredibly grateful, which equals low stress.
Plus, this is a fairly autonomous job. And, check out that outlook—a whopping 37 percent growth expected! Thank you baby boomers. Not just for having hearing problems, but for the legions that went into audiology in the '50s, '60s and '70s and are now retiring, creating tons of demand for audiologists.
Oh, and a little extra bonus—most of these are private practice and get paid directly by patients, who then have to seek reimbursement from insurance. So, they skirt a lot of the health-care paperwork, with all of its regulations, that plagues many doctors.
The 10 most stressful jobs for 2014