10 low-stress jobs that pay more than $100,000 per year and how to get them

Many factors contribute to a person’s level of effort in the workplace. For some, the size of their paycheck is a motivator. For others, it’s about doing an excellent job in their role.

And for more than a third, 35% of workers, stress or burnout significantly affects their ability to perform, according to a Q3 Joblist survey of 18,911 job seekers. Ideally, your job isn’t so stressful that doing various tasks becomes challenging. And within the workforce, multiple appointments are inherently less stressful than others.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, compiled a list of nearly 900 occupations and ranked them by stress level. They did this by noting the importance of accepting criticism and dealing calmly with high-stress situations in each job.

Here are ten jobs on the list that pay a median annual salary of more than $100,000 and feature a comparatively low level of stress tolerance (all have a group of less than 70 out of 100), including their median annual salaries and requirements to be considered.

It’s important to remember that “These are not stress-free jobs,” says Sinem Buber, lead economist at ZipRecruiter. “These are less stressful jobs compared to jobs like physicians, doctors where they’re dealing with human life.”

Materials scientist

Material scientists study research ways to combine and strengthen and experiment on materials such as metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, and glass. Most of these positions require a graduate school degree, such as a master’s degree or a PhD and extensive experience on the job. Median annual salary: $100,090

Business intelligence analyst

These analysts take note of business, financial and economic data, create reports for executives and stakeholders, and recommend relevant action to be taken on behalf of the business. Most of these positions require a bachelor’s degree and some experience. Median annual salary: $100,910

Remote sensing scientists or technologists

These scientists analyse data gathered by aircraft or satellites, for example, to solve problems in fields such as urban planning, homeland security and natural resource management. Most positions require graduate school, including a relevant master’s degree, PhD, or M.D., and experience on the job. Median annual salary: $104,100

Economics professor

Economics professors teach graduate or undergraduate students topics such as price theory and microeconomics. They prepare course material, give lectures and grade homework assignments. Many of these positions require a graduate degree and experience to be considered. Median annual salary: $104,940

Chemical engineer

Chemical engineers design chemical plant equipment and the processes used to create products such as gas, plastic and cement, including procedures to keep people working near chemical reactions safe. This position often requires a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience. Median annual salary: $105,550

Environmental economist

These economists research topics such as alternative fuel use, write academic articles about economic forecasts and assess the costs and benefits of policies and regulations affecting the environment. Most of these positions require a relevant master’s degree, PhD or law degree, and work experience. Median annual salary: $105,630


Mathematicians apply mathematical theories to solve problems in business, engineering, and the sciences, conduct research in algebra, geometry, probability, and so on, and write reports about their findings. This position often requires a relevant master’s degree, PhD, or M.D. and relevant work experience. Median annual salary: $108,100

Brownfield redevelopment specialist and site manager

These specialists plan and oversee the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated land. They identify the sources of contamination and coordinate on-site cleanup that ensures compliance with environmental law and standards. Many of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree and work experience. Median annual salary: $124,650

Water resource specialist

These specialists design and help implement programs related to water supply, quality and regulation. Most of these positions require a bachelor’s degree and experience in the field to be considered. Median annual salary: $137,900


Physicists conduct research about physical phenomena, analyse their research and evaluate the data, and develop theories based on their findings. Most of these positions require a graduate degree like a master’s, a PhD or a law degree and extensive experience on the job. Median annual salary: $152,430

Beyond not dealing directly with human life, other factors that make these jobs less stressful are that many are not customer or client-facing and don’t necessarily deal with tight deadlines or competitive cultures. Many can also occur at colleges, universities, or the local or federal government.

“Those are the places where you’re not seeing a big, stressful working environment,” says Buber. At times, these jobs may even hold more job security.

Still, “there could be other factors at play in terms of geography, in terms of the hours, the employer,” says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, about what could affect stress levels at these jobs. “If a mathematician, for instance, is employed internally by a company that is going to have layoffs, that could be stressful versus higher education that may have tenure.”

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