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The 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2013

By Kyle Kensing

Jobs in the military once again top the Jobs Rated rankings of the most stressful jobs for 2013.

In a tenuous global landscape, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces provide services that ensure the safety of not only Americans, but people around the globe. Yet that service comes at a steep cost. This year, the total number of American casualties in Afghanistan and “related operations” exceeded 2,000, the Department of Defense (DOD) estimates.

Soldiers’ lives are always at risk, but military officers are also responsible for the well-being of their troops. No task could score higher on the stress scale’s metric than being responsible for the life of another person.

Several other metrics that apply to the Jobs Rated stress score – travel, working in the public eye, physical demand and danger -- also are high for military personnel. Servicemen and women comprise a transient population. Soldiers must move as called upon, both on domestic bases and at stations around the world. And they can be separated from family and friends for months, even years at a time.

Physical demands on soldiers also are heavy. Boot camp and basic training challenge recruits’ physical limitations, better preparing them for the rigors of duty in the field and aiding in domestic matters like natural disasters.

Another growing challenge for America’s enlisted personnel is finding work beyond their service time.

“What returning men and women need is a job,” says Maggie Roffee of the U.S. Business Leadership Network. The problem of military personnel struggling in the job market was a tremendous societal burden after combat in Vietnam ended in 1975, and joblessness and homelessness have been epidemic issues among returning veterans every year since.

“After every war – unfortunately it takes a war [to raise public awareness] – advances have been made in technology to enable veterans to return to society,” Roffee says, but there's more to be done.

Organizations like were founded to ensure that the post-war problem of unemployment would be addressed. Still, integration into the job market only exacerbates the most stressful job. Unemployment for post-9/11 veterans was at 10% in October 2012, the Department of Veteran Affairs reports, which was more than 2% higher than the national average.

Among civilian careers, firefighter is ranked the most highly on the Jobs Rated most stressful jobs scale. The job’s danger is apparent: running into burning buildings and dropping into forest fires calls for nerves and bravery few other careers require.

The personal danger a firefighter sees in the line of duty is high. Likewise, they are charged with the well-being of communities’ residents and property. The job’s challenges are myriad, and the stress can have a profound impact. The U.S. Fire Administration and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) collaborated on a study over the course of six years, examining the dangers firefighters face.

“Year after year, there are notable advancements in the fire service industry. These advancements range from building code improvement to sprinkled buildings, from better protective gear to technologically advanced apparatus,” the report says. “But despite the advances made in safety and health areas, firefighters are still being killed, injured and diseased at an alarming rate.”

Heart attack is commonly associated with stress, and one decade-long study by the National Fire Protection Association finds that 44% of firefighter deaths were the result of heart attack. The stress from battling blazes is apparent, but less so is the dramatic shift in a firefighters’ workday and how it contributes to stress. Firefighters often work stretches of 48-to-72 hours on-call, with action arising quickly following periods of monotony spent separated from family.

Police officer rounds out the most stressful job rankings. More than 110 officers were lost in the line of duty last year, according to the non-profit organization Officer Down. The personal safety risks police officers face are apparent. As for overseeing the safety of others -- one of the factors in the most stressful jobs score – it’s outlined right in the officer’s motto: To Protect and Serve.

Two careers in the media industry score highly on the stress scale: photojournalist and newspaper reporter. Professionals from each field can be thrown into the epicenter of dangerous situations, such as war, natural disasters and police chases. Both careers also have declining job opportunities as the 21st century media landscape evolves. Newspaper reporters in particular face a shrinking job market; the BLS estimates a 6% job decline in the industry by 2020.

The growth of online media has transformed the newspaper reporter’s job immensely. The immediacy internet outlets provide can be a useful tool, but it can also be a huge trap. Striving for the fastest reports can lead to inaccuracy and heightened stress. Watchful public eyes are trained on reporters at all times, so an incorrect report can compromise a reporter’s reputation as quickly as they can send a tweet.

Continue on to the complete most stressful jobs of 2013 report:


1. Enlisted Military Personnel

The dangers of serving as enlisted military personnel are well known at times of conflict, especially while on active duty deployment. But even in times of peace, military members take on many rigorous tasks, such as aiding in natural disaster relief. Another challenge military personnel face is transitioning into the civilian job force. Organizations around the nation work to help military personnel land jobs after their service, but it can often be an uphill climb.


MEDIAN SALARY: : $41,998 (E-7, 8+ years experience)






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Enlisted jobs are more stressful than a general

Let's face it, a general isn't the one who's life is at risk going down a narrow street in Afghanistan.  " . . . No task could score higher on the stress scale’s metric than being responsible for the life of another person. . ." is not true unless you're that enliisted person waiting for someone to shoot you.  The military general's stress score is 24 percent less!  Numbers don't lie.

where on this list is newyork

where on this list is newyork city bus operator?


Nursing is such a stressful job,my mother was a nurse and you barely sit down and have so much to do for a whole 12 hours


What of parents???


doctors and nurses may be stressed out. but they have the luxury of a controlled enviornment and infastructure known as a hospital. when you're on scene with a patient bleeding out you're in a perpetual race against the clock for someone's life in an uncontrolled and unpredictable enviornment. i dont give a damn how much PR people and exectutives think their lives are stressed. but untill you've ever had to start chest compressions on an 8 year old kid infront of his mother because he went into cardiac arrest, than you dont know what stress is. this damn article needs to be re written because it was put together by some sheltered college intern who has no god damn clue what chaos is!

Deployed Medic

Speaking from a personal perspective, I'm currently with EMS in the United States Air Force. I just got back from a 365 day deployment to Afghanistan. Try being EMS, in the Military, giving chest compressions to a good friend (whom is 20 years old and a family friend) infront of a whole squad of men and women meanwhile you have known IED's in the area and granades being launched in youre AOR at any given time. your argument is invalid.

photographer job

i am Taunton wedding photographer and i know my job is stress full becuase it require hard work + knowledge but convince some one on phone is too easy if you know how to speak and how to do that work for which you are convince that person.

"Several other metrics that

"Several other metrics that apply to the Jobs Rated stress score – travel, working in the public eye, physical demand and danger" --- you spend all day working around a crowd of people, if your lines are too long your bosses will be just as mad at you as the people in line are, so there's two layers of pressure to move as fast as you can, and everytime you send someone on that ride, your life is in thier hands. as far as travel, some operators travel with thier rides, while others stay stationary at parks. however employees are moved from park to park depending on the company they work for, and median salary is barely hitting 20,000 a year. no one thinks entertainment can be stressful till they have a crowd of people so entitled, demanding instant satisfaction, then demanding thier money back after the ride because "it wasn't even long enough for me to enjoy it." in this job, you're forced to personally interact with each individual on your ride, which can lead to hundreds of people an hour and thousands of people a day, in contrast, how many times have you talked with your pilot while on or boarding a plane since the tsa takeover?

stressful job in the world

to convince someone over the phone is the most difficult job in the world 



Definitely a Stressful Job

Now imagine this...seriously...what if the place you grew up (in America such hell holes do exist) sucked so awful that joining the military was a step up? That's what happened to me. When I joined I was the only one out of my boot camp company, that when asked if anyone planned on making a career out of the military, my hand shot straight up. Even after being assigned to the mess decks so many times it must have taken up a year and a half of my first four year hitch, it was still an improvement. Even after I fell and messed up my back (which I hid because I hadn't seen the world at all at the time) I pushed onward and forward. When I finally went to shore duty, I didn't take a break. I immediately enrolled into a university where I graduated (only an associates though) with a GPA of 3.95Eventually the Navy retired me. However, I haven't worked a day in over 10 years since I left...even with a college degree. Do not think I am happy about it. Politicians will talk while employers will invent reasons not to hire anybody. If you think joining the military will give you a future boost towards getting real life it doesn't work that way. If you are a minority or a woman you stand a better chance at getting a job than someone like me. Yeah, tell me another lie. I tell you truth. It's sort of like that in the military too. If someone of a different race or gender than you has senority and you don't kiss butt the right the hell out. It isn't about doing a job well or saving lives. Some people just want their butt kissed. The only reason I am where I am is because I am good at politics.For a variety of reasons, the military world will wear most people thin very quickly. I would still be in if it were up to me. It sucks...sure...but you should have seen the place I came from. I would rather die in a ditch than go back there to live in a mansion. The only people who get anything out of the military are the people who have a father who was a respected general or something. I've seen people who couldn't even wipe their own nose with an instruction manual get awards and promotions, likely at the cost of readiness and lives. These are the people who are working at The Pentagon and other high security positions today...and I wouldn't trust them to fill up a car with gas.Once upon a time women used to complain about this thing called the "glass ceiling" if they had any idea of what being discriminated against was. A small portion of people who join the military will be just like me. You will be the best. You will prove it time and again. Others will be given awards when any award you are given is given as an afterthought and always behind closed doors...never by the Captain. When others are out playing, you are trying to better yourself through education and training. However, at the end of the day, everything that you have done counts for nothing. None of it helps you get a job after the military. None of it helps you get into a better college when you get out...and if you do get into another college, the state you are in is probably going to charge you OUT OF STATE TUITION simple because you are using the GI BIll. The military is a no win-no win situation. There's more. There is always more bad news.Now about that military suicide situation.


This post may sound extreme but it's right on the money. The military is good for getting out of hell-holes and TOTAL dead-end life circumstances but if you don't save save save while you're in and get a quality education you're going to be right back where you started...just older...and probably broken in some way. 

Run into a burning building

Run into a burning building with little to no visibility and try to find people or children in the building and then work on them if they require life saving medical attention and tell me that's not stress.

What a crock!

   Who the hell wrote this?  Obviously no one who had a clue, your article is so vague & ambiguous.The military? FFS, are you saying all jobs in the military is stressful? Firefighters?  Are the firefighters at po-dunk stations stressful?  Please, do your research rather than ask a bunch of teenage high school girls what they think is stressfull, hire an experienced journalist than an intern who has little experience in writing!  Be more specific next time, your crediblity definitely took a hit on this article!

I am a FIREFIGHTER and an

I am a FIREFIGHTER and an EMT. I literally cannot understand why you think firefighting is NOT a stressful job. I would love to see you put 60 pounds of gear on your back and have the balls to run into an uncontrolled and extremelly dangerous environment such as a burning building. It doesn't matter if it's a city department or a department in a small, country town, the same dangers and stresses are present.The only problem that I have with this list is the fact that they did not list being an EMT. I was called to the scene of a 10-51 just last week and had to cut the noose off of a young girls neck. Do you REALLY think that wouldn't take a toll on someone?It is impossible to know what you will find when you respond to a call. You could find dead bodies inside of a structure fire, dead passengers in an MVA, or even show up to the bedside of a woman who is having issues with her pregnancy and delivers an already-dead fetus into your hands.OUR LIVES are at risk every day, our physical and emotional health are CONSTANTLY being threatened. I truly hope you realize that firefighters and EMTs are not ACTUALLY made out of stone. Until you've had some experience in the jobs, don't act like you have any idea what happens on-scene.

Your crock is cracked...

You ever served??  I'm no teenager.  I've been enlisted active duty for 30 years and deployed in combat zones many times.  How's that for research?  If anyone is clueless, perhaps it's you. 

Both Right

I have deployed many times and my brother is a paid firefighter here in the States... and I can tell you that both my "brother" and "I" are BOTH sheep dogs. Firefighter's jobs are extremely dangerous.  During a fire a building can colapse on them at any moment when entering.  I would rather get shot in the face then burn to death. When I am off duty and when I see a police officer or firefighter... I thank them for their service. AMEN!

Average pay

LOL like the salery of a E-7 with 8 years in the service chosen as the "average wage" Let me tell you something an E-7 if he has only been in for 7 years well they are wll on their way to being SgtMaj/CMC/CMS and even the top enlisted dog in their branch. The average time in service to reach E-7 is useually atleast 15 years. Heck been in for over a decade and only reached E-5. I would say that is about average depending on promotions which is dependant on what carrer field in the military you are (I am in a slow one) But E-5 takes roughly around 5 years to pick up (7 for me) and I would say that is the average sallery. It is allot less than $45K even with Basic Alowwance for Housing added into the base pay.

I have been in for 3 years

I have been in for 3 years and got my 5 just a bit ago....what the hell took you so long?

did it in 7

I got my E5 at age 19, then my Staff rocker a little under 5 years. I got on the list for E7 and left the service to pursue college. 11B3V

I salute

I know how hard and dangerous for soldiers to get involved in a war. For this I salute them for their bravery and their fight for protecting the civilians back home.

butterfly handler. PERIOD

Where are they????

Q.C. Stressful

Working as a quality control specialist? Very stressful. Anything comes back from the customer? Someone is getting written up. Or suspended. Maybe fired. Depending on past disipline. And the new people, hired to do the job? Can't read blueprints. Can't read a micrometer. Can't real a dial indicator. WHY HIRE THESE PEOPLE?!? Because human resources is run by idoits, who have NO CLUE, of what it takes to do the job! I'm getting out at 57. Can't deal with incompetence anymore.

From a deployed soldier.......

I have been working for the past 3 months in Somalia and have worked many jobs before this. From Rad Tech to HVAC. This is by far the most stressful job I have ever had. I work 13-15hrs a day 7 days a week and I have not had a single day off in the past 2 months. On a good day I can take a shower and the A/C is

thank you

We're grateful for your service. God bless you and keep you safe.

Opsec? Wow

Opsec? Wow


Make it better, faster, cheaper, with less or we're sending it overseas!

10 Most Stressful jobs

Police and Fire personnel are listed as having a stressful job. However, I feel that the people who take the Fire, Police and EMS calls listening to the calls coming into a 9-1-1 center have the MOST stressful job of all. They have to try to extract critical information from people who are going thru a personal emergency or are calling one in. Half the time they don't know where they are, or they can't stop screaming, crying or cursing long enough to tell the call taker/dispatcher what's going on.


In this age of cell phones or internet phone lines, 9-1-1 centers DO NOT get your address automatically when you call in like they did when you had a land line phone. So calling in an screaming send the Police/Fire/EMS and hanging up gets you no where.


9-1-1 operators have to listen to a caller crying and screaming for help when their baby/child/spouse/loved one is non-reponsive, shot or in an accident. And they have to try their best to get the address or cross streets or landmark so help can be sent all while trying to talk the caller thru CPR or clearing an airway, or staunching the lifesblood leaking from the patient.

No they're not at risk of being shot or in an accident like the Fire/PD/EMS are but that stress never goes away. Seldom do they find out what ultimately happened on the calls they send out because they're back on the phone working on the next chaotic call.
Remember the forgotten voice that is actually the very first responder to all Fire/EMS/PD calls.


I see your point but you seem to forget about the people who deal with the situation on the ground. Sure you gotta hear it but the medics and police need to see it hear and deal with it. THEY have to deal with more than you. Stop trying to hold yourself up to their level of stress cause you have to hear the bad things happening. I was in the military and trust me being in a fire fight was a lot worse than hearing another squad in my platoon get into one. So like I said before you gotta hear but try seeing all of it cause trust me there's a bigger difference between the two that you obviously can't comprehend.


PR is a top 5 most stressful job? Right there w/ soldier, pilot & fireman? A PR flack must have put this list together. In fact, the only thing dumber than PR being ranked so high is that there are PR people who agree (see earlier comments). And yes, I do PR. And right now I'm sitting on a comfortable couch, having coffee and listening to good music. I'll soon go to a meeting with a client, where we'll have some laughs and a couple cocktails. How will I ever sleep tonight?


many of you say your jobs are stressful, but this is saying which ones or more stressful than others.. E.g you cannot say being a nurse in charge of a handful o people per day is more stressful than working on a battle field or an airline pilot who must travel, be based away from his home 30-70% of the time, changes from night shift to day shift 4 times per week and has 200 a 400 people's lives in his/her hands on every flight.Failures are more common than you think, you just don't hear about them. I find it incredible that some of you believe that some of your semi stressed jobs could even be compared to jobs where others have war or such a huge amount of people's libed under their care.. Maybe you could walk a mile in their shoes


Glad someone finally said it! 

No Corrections Officer?

Society praises police and fireman all the time, (as they absolutely should, and I realize that there is also a small uneducated portion of society that DOESN'T respect them), but the "forgotten" portion of law enforcement is the correction officer. The public hears about a fire that was put out, and they're happy. The public hears about an arrest, and they're happy he's caught. They hear about a trial, and they're happy he's guilty and going away. But it seems nobody gives a DAMN about the people that have to watch these scum day after day. Out of sight, out of mind apparently.

Med the least stressful jobs????

Where did you guys get your info?????  Long shifts, short staffing and seriously heavy workloads are not stressful?  Doing perfect work at a super fast pace with constant not stressful at all!!!!  Don't worry...if you screw up,  the worst thing that could happen is that someone could die.... 

Med Techs

You have to be on your A game....why to complain about everything under the sun.  They are whiners...

I totally agree with you! You

I totally agree with you! You have to be on your A-game at all times. If that is not stressful then I don't know what is!


I think the medical field should have been in the tops! We work extremely long hours, not to mention call. I work in surgery all day and sometimes night too, standing on my feet all the time! Getting yelled at by surgeons, b/c this pt life is in our hands! Yes, this is the field we chose, to help and save lives, but it's also VERY stressful!




I was reading an article in our local newspaper and it mentioned the top 10 stressful jobs and I did not see anything in there about school district administrators. I came from the private sector to education and without a shadow of doubt, education administration ranks right up in the top as most stressful.

Thank you for Recognizing PR Pros

While we are not on the frontline... ... or catching bad guys, we ARE subject to A LOT of stress. PR pros are often the brains behind many campaigns, individual or company successes, and many other worthwhile endevours, yet we are rarely given any credit. If success does not come, well, then we are the first to get the blame.We cannot control a journalists decision to pick up our information and turn it into a story. And half the writers/editors out there won't even communicate with us (so THANK YOU to those of you who'll answer an email or the phone when we call). Many PR pros ARE super competant (unfortunately, there are many who are not as well) so give each one a chance. You'd be surprised how one kind word from an editor can make someone'sday - and reduce that stress level significantly.

Interesting... What about Security guards and Bodyguards? Thos

Those jobs are not stressfull enough?


job in the military is not nearly as stressful as job as a bodyguard and private military constructor, because they do not have the support and the logistics behind them

Yeah, but they are

Yeah, but they are compensated handsomely for what they do. They don't have the stress of the job, and the stress of not being able to pay their bills...

Working on a ships

Officers on the cruise ships (serious companies - RCCL)- overload with duties.
Watches , fatigue , emergencies , dealing with all kind of people!

And where are

judges, doctors, etc...?

Suprised nurses aren't on the

Suprised nurses aren't on the list. 

Police Officer's Job Is Very Stressful

I agree with the writer who says: Ride a shift in a scout car and see what your stress level will be! I can't imagine that whoever took this pole understands anything about real stress. Fire Fighter, Soldier, Teacher these jobs should top the list. But these days the most stressful job on this list should be Soldier, Police Officer (civilian soldier) Fire Fighter, Teacher and then slot all the rest according to their severity level of stress. A pilot flies a plane with the aid of the instrument panel and control tower; a photo journalist? Unless he/she is a combat journalist they couldn't possibly rate higher than a Police Officer! How does he/she rate to top the list above a Police Officer? That is insane! A Photo Journalist takes photos, developes them and submits them where is the stress level in that such that it is above a Police Officer's stress level? Sit in a police unit in a city like Detroit or any metropolitan city where there is high crime statistics and respond to 20-35 police runs in a shift and 15 - 20 of them are headed with "Unit #, address to respond, "MAN WITH A GUN - SHOOTING IN PROGRESS"; or, "FAMILY TROUBLE (DOMESTIC TROUBLE) LARGE CROWD FIGHTING IN THE STREET WITH KNIVES - SHOTS BEING FIRED, or "ACTIVE SHOOTER FIRING SHOTS IN THE MALL"! Whoever this rater is, they will definitely change their mind about the sress level of a Police Officer, but only after they've changed their shorts.

Police officer very stressful

30 years on the job...never pulled the gun out once.   Its not a stressful job.

#1) "Enlisted Military Personnel" but #2) "Military General"

So all enlisted are in one group, regardless of service, rank, MOS, or duty station, but the only officers with any serious stress are generals (presumably O-7 and above)?  An O-1 in a deployed rifle platoon is probably is probably as stressed as everyone else around him (apart from his NCOs), but less stressed than everyone with a wife & young kids back home;  a general will presumably have adult children. Also, using E-7 as the median is not exactly realistic.  And BHA can be close to base salary in areas like the NCR (of course, the NCR can be more stressful than AFG for those facing up or out).  


Good ol Navy proverb states that the only diference between a Seaman and an Ensign is the fact that Seaman was promoted twice (E-3 and O-1). Officers do not have to think of PTS (Performe To Serve also known as Prepare to Separate) their commisions are indef they don't have to beg anybody to be able to reenlist to keep their jobs. Advancement up to O-3 is automatic so they don't face the stress of fighting for promotion (hyt you get the boot if you don't advance). E-7 is also not the good pay grade to compare. Those guys ae demigods among enlised ...Real stress sits at the lvl of NCO E-5 and E-6 who have to deal with *** from above (khakis E-7 and above and all the O's) as well as the one from below E-1-E-4. E-5 have wifes and kids at home their pay is much lover than E-7 or O-1 have to deal with khakis who often don't make their life easier and than fight for the job security.Job security close to none with curren anti military administration. In general E-1 through E-7 are the ones doing the job O's are usualy behind the desks supervising from the distance demanding resoults thinking bout themselfs as goods. Please Mr. 2nd LT look at your Srgt and think than compare and post. 

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