Life-threatening ... check. Long hours ... check. Strict deadlines ... check.
While most jobs entail some stress, the most extreme cases all share an element of danger, coupled with massive responsibility and unpredictable schedules, according to a report released Thursday by job-search site CareerCast.com.
Enlisted military, firefighters and airline pilots topped the list of most stressful jobs this year. On the flip side, tenured professors and hairstylists may lack some of the sex appeal, but thanks to a set schedule and job security, came out on top of the least stressful jobs around.
But regardless of the gig, "stress is unavoidable, no matter your line of work," said Kyle Kensing, CareerCast's online content editor.
"Stress is being felt a little bit more across all jobs, because all of us are connected 24/7," noted Glassdoor's career trends analyst Scott Dobroski. "You are one finger swipe away from work at any moment. It's a blessing and a curse when it comes to the workplace," he said.
The most and least stressful jobs were chosen from a CareerCast ranking of 200 jobs that took into account travel, growth potential, deadlines, physical demands and environmental conditions, among other factors.
So did your job make the list? Click ahead for the top 5 most stressful jobs and top 5 least stressful jobs for 2016.
— By Jessica Dickler, CNBC.com
Posted 9 January 2016
Annual median salary: $46,490
While they don't face danger, event coordinators do face massive deadlines, last-minute requests and lots of moving pieces, all to achieve a client's vision for their most important — and expensive — occasions, such as a wedding or conference.
"There is a lot of stress with making sure that many pieces of a project fall in place at a required time," said Nicole Smith, chief economist at Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce. Plus, it doesn't pay particularly well, she added.
Annual median salary: $58,630
With the potential for physical danger at a moment's notice and an unpredictable workday, police bear the burden of stepping up under uncertain circumstances to protect others with no exceptions.
"You have the ability to help people in times of need," said CareerCast's Kensing. "There are inherent risks, but that's not going to deter someone that's wired for that kind of work."
Annual median salary: $103,390
Although these jobs have a high salary potential and appeal, airline pilots work very long hours and shoulder massive responsibility ensuring the safety of others.
"You have hundreds of lives in your hands, traveling hundreds of miles of hours, and you must always be alert," said Georgetown's Smith.
Annual median salary: $45,970
Firefighters face extreme environmental conditions, battling heat, flames and high levels of carbon monoxide in times of intense stress.
They also have the potential to be on the clock any day of the year and any time of day or night, Glassdoor's Dobroski noted.
Enlisted military personnel
Annual median salary: $27,936
With military bases in combat zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, the job of enlisted military is so risky that those who work in special ops, infantry and field artillery regularly face life-or-death situations, and long after their tour of duty, many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
They're "fighting for freedom with human lives on the line," said Glassdoor's Dobroski. "The stakes could not be higher."
Medical records technician
Annual median salary: $35,900
Medical records technicians organize and manage health information for patients, which requires a lot of attention to detail and a technical degree, but they work under a set schedule and often in a comfortable doctor's office.
This is also a profession with little drama, a lot of growth potential and increased efficiency through cloud-based technology, noted CareerCast's Kensing.
Annual median salary: $23,200
Although hairstylists are on their feet all day and have to interact with the public as part of their livelihood, they often work in an upbeat, social environment, and the repercussions of a mistake are much less significant than for those in the most stressful jobs, noted Georgetown's Smith.
The position doesn't require a bachelor's degree and has limited earning potential, but stylists can set their own schedule and never have to take their work home.
University professor (tenured)
Annual median salary: $70,790
Professors work with college students and on independent research in an attractive setting conducive to higher learning. "There can be long hours developing coursework or grading papers, but it doesn't necessarily equate to stress," Glassdoor's Dobroski said.
But this type of gig doesn't come easy. Tenured positions are highly competitive, hard to find and require a post-secondary degree or, in some cases, a doctorate.
Diagnostic medical sonographer
Annual median salary: $62,540
Although sonographers must have an associate's degree to operate special-imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests for physicians, they often work in a doctor's office with a set nine-to-five schedule.
As well, there is limited interaction with patients, even though they are in the exam room, noted Georgetown's Smith. "They take the picture, but the doctor takes it from there."
Information security analyst
Annual median salary: $88,890
Information security analysts protect sensitive information within a company, which is important but rarely requires overtime or any sort of physical strain.
"They put proactive measures in place, and that requires planning but can mostly be done in a nine-to-five environment," Glassdoor's Dobroski said.
"If there is a breach, then it becomes stressful, but that's unusual and very unlikely," he added.