Most and Least Stressful Professions

Carlsbad, CA (February 18, 2009) — When US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed his jet safely in the Hudson River, he proved himself to be a great performer under stress. He also helped illustrate why a commercial airline pilot is ranked as one of the nation’s most stressful jobs, according to the “2009 Jobs Rated Report,” an in-depth look at 200 jobs by, the nation’s newest job search portal.

Topping the list as the nation’s most stressful job is surgeon, followed closely by commercial airline pilot and photojournalist. Since surgeons take a person’s life in their hands every time they enter an operating room, it’s not surprising that stress plays a big role, especially when they encounter unexpected issues. On the other hand, commercial airline pilots are responsible for the lives of their passengers and crew every time they fly. In the event of an emergency, they must handle rapidly changing situations from poor weather conditions and UFGs – unidentified flying geese – to equipment malfunctions. And while photojournalists tend to only be responsible for themselves, their jobs can require them to be on the frontline of every catastrophe, from wars to hurricanes to riots. However, one common bond between all three of our most stressful jobs is their demanding schedules, which often change at the last minute and may require extended periods away from home or long shifts while on the job.

“The type of stress surgeons face when operating is very different from the stress a pilot feels when landing in a storm and from how a photojournalist feels while taking pictures during a fire or hurricane,” says Tony Lee, publisher of “But all three bear more stress than any other job in the country, which is why they rank at the top of our list.”

The criteria used by researchers to determine the most and least stressful jobs include 21 different job demands which can be expected to invoke stress. Each demand was assigned a range of points, and a high score was given if the demand was a major part of the job, while fewer points were given if the demand wasn’t normally required. Photojournalists, for example, who often face daily deadlines, received the maximum points in this category, while actuaries received the least since they seldom have deadlines. Each occupation is ranked using data from such sources as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as information provided by a wide range of trade associations and industry groups.

Rounding out the list of the five most stressful jobs are advertising account executives, who have to compete in this tough economy to acquire and maintain revenue-generating accounts, and real estate agents, most of whom are having difficulty earning a living given the serious downturn in the housing market.

Among the least stressful jobs are actuary, dietician, computer systems analyst, statistician and astronomer. Interestingly enough, most of the least stressful jobs were ranked among the best jobs in the nation as well. To see the full rankings of all 200 jobs, go to or


1) Surgeon

2) Commercial Airline Pilot

3) Photojournalist

4) Advertising Account Executive

5) Real Estate Agent

6) General Practice Physician

7) Newspaper Reporter

8) Physician Assistant


1) Actuary

2) Dietician

3) Computer Systems Analyst

4) Statistician

5) Astronomer

6) Mathematician

7) Historian

8) Software Engineer

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