Stressful Jobs that Pay Well

Jan 20, 2020

There are a wide range of careers in fields like education, business and medicine, that may be considered stressful, but offer good pay. Explore a few of these jobs, their median salaries, expected job growth rates and education requirements.

Stressful Career Options that Pay Well

Although it may somewhat depend on an individual's stressors and level of stress tolerance, there are some careers in different fields that tend to be more stressful than others. These jobs may be stressful due to goals that must be met, life-or-death situations and other factors. Here we discuss a handful of stressful jobs that had a median salary greater than the median for all occupations, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculated to be $51,960 in 2018.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Physicians and Surgeons Equal to or greater than $208,000 7%
Top Executives $104,980 6%
Police and Detectives $63,380 5%
High School Teachers $60,320 4%
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives $61,660 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Stressful Jobs that Pay Well

Physicians and Surgeons

A career as a physician or surgeon may be stressful as they usually work in a fast-paced environment and may have to make life-or-death medical decisions while treating patients. However, these professionals get paid very well to diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries as the BLS reported a median salary for physicians and surgeons of equal to or greater than $208,000 in 2018. They must explain the diagnosis and treatment options to their patients, answer any questions the patient may have and then begin individualized treatment plans that may include medication or surgery. Physicians and surgeons must complete 4 years of medical school after undergraduate study, as well as a 3- to 7-year residency, depending on their specialty.

Top Executives

The BLS reported that top executives made a median salary of $104,980 in 2018. Professionals at this level may experience high levels of stress while overseeing the operational activities of various organizations. They have a lot of responsibility as they develop goals and strategies for the organization, supervise financial activities and find areas for improvements. They also negotiate contracts, appoint managers and monitor performance indicators for the organization. Top executives typically need at least a bachelor's degree and some work experience.

Police and Detectives

Police and detectives may be called to work in very stressful situations as they respond to emergency calls or investigate various crimes. They made a median salary of $63,380 in 2018, according to the BLS, as they served the public in various ways. Police officers patrol areas, enforce laws, arrest suspects and testify in court as needed, while detectives interview witnesses or suspects, collect evidence and may participate in raids. Police and detectives need a high school diploma or college degree, and usually need to be 21 years old, a U.S. citizen and complete on-the-job training.

High School Teachers

Dealing with teenagers and their parents as a high school teacher can be stressful at times, but these professionals recorded a median salary of $60,320 in 2018, per the BLS. These teachers usually teach students in the 9th through 12th grades in various subjects, which requires the teachers to create a curriculum and assignments that reflect state standards. High school teachers also communicate with parents about a student's progress, monitor students, enforce rules and work with students to improve their abilities. They need at least a bachelor's degree and must have a state license or certification to work in a public school.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives made a median salary of $61,660 in 2018, per the BLS, but their income may be directly affected by how much product they sell, which can be stressful. These sales representatives must find new customers, reach out to these customers and typically travel to meet with customers to better understand their needs and find the best product to meet those needs. Once they have answered any questions the customer may have, these sales representatives can negotiate prices and prepare contracts. Some of these professionals may need a bachelor's degree to sell technical or scientific products, while others only need a high school diploma.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?