9 High-Income Careers With Low Employee Stress Levels

While stress is subjective and can vary by organization and field, we’ve rounded up the best positions that offer work-life balance and competitive salaries.

While pursuing your passion and working for a company whose mission you admire are important aspects during your job search, financial compensation is crucial in any career. Many job seekers also prioritize finding a low-stress position to achieve the optimal work-life balance.

If you are in the market for such a position, the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine Occupational database measures stress tolerance for various jobs, helping to identify roles that are less likely to involve high-stress situations.

Although stress is subjective and can vary by company and its management, this information can guide you toward a balanced, fulfilling career. Below, we’ve rounded up the top low-stress jobs that also offer excellent salaries.

1. Professor

Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession, offering the opportunity to impact lives and impart essential skills. While experience may vary for K-12 educators, university professors generally report lower stress levels. This may be attributed to university students’ engagement and passion for their chosen courses.

If becoming a professor appeals to you — allowing you to focus on your subject of interest — consider an array of online master’s degrees and doctorate programs from USC Rossier School of Education, which can provide you with the necessary teaching and leadership skills to thrive.

2. Art Director

Pursuing a career in the arts often demands significant hustle, flexibility and creativity to stand out. However, many creatives find more stable and less stressful employment as art directors. Art directors oversee the creative vision of projects, ensuring that the visuals not only look appealing, but also effectively convey the intended message.

If art direction interests you, several master’s programs can help launch your career. The Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology online program from USC Iovine and Young Academy offers the opportunity to learn marketing, business principles and advanced art techniques.

3. IT Managers

With most work now conducted online, companies require skilled IT managers to build and oversee secure computer operations. IT managers ensure that all company technology and confidential information remains secure. While it is a crucial role, the day-to-day operations should ideally run smoothly with well-maintained IT systems.

If you aspire to become an IT manager, the Master of Science in Computer Science online program from USC Viterbi School of Engineering can equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge for this role.

4. Dentist

Being a doctor often epitomizes stress, given the responsibility of treating patients, diagnosing illnesses and saving people’s lives. For dentists, however, the pressure can be slightly different. Dentists play a vital role in healing and promoting healthier lives, but with less immediate stress compared to other medical fields. If you are passionate about dental health and helping people, it can be an immensely rewarding career.

Becoming a dentist requires rigorous education, including earning a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), as patients expect well-trained professionals handling their dental care. You can gain further expertise, however, through one of the many online master’s programs Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, including a Master in Geriatric Dentistry.

5. Librarian

It’s hard to picture a more peaceful place than a library. Being a librarian is a dream job for many who love to read, value knowledge and enjoy sharing information. Librarians today manage archives, recommend books, hold talks, oversee operations and preserve essential information.

For those who wish to spend their lives among the book stacks, acquiring the necessary technical skills is crucial. The Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) online program from the USC Bovard College can provide the necessary knowledge for this fulfilling career.

6. Copywriter

For those confident in their ability to craft compelling sentences and narratives, a copywriting role may be the perfect fit. Copywriters help to effectively market products, conveying the organization’s message thoughtfully and creatively. As a career, copywriting tends to be less fast-paced and high-pressure than other business roles, offering more stability compared to other types of writing positions.

Strong communication skills are crucial, but copywriters also need to understand marketing principles and business operations. The Master of Communication Management online program from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism can provide the necessary knowledge for a successful career in copywriting.

7. Cartographer

Everyone needs to use a map at some point, but for certain people, it’s a genuine passion. Cartographers gather data to design and produce maps and other visual representations of the Earth’s surface. For those interested in geography and geographic information science, becoming a cartographer can be a fulfilling and low-stress career.

Designing maps requires a deep understanding of geography, along with technical and data analytics skills. If you’re interested in the field, the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) online program from USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences can set you on the right path.

8. Software Engineer

Software engineers are frequently sought after due to their integral role in constructing websites, programming applications and upholding technological systems essential for sustaining operational efficiency within companies. This demand fosters a sense of job stability. Plus, the working environment for software engineers is generally calmer with lower levels of stress in comparison to other roles within the tech industry.

For those interested in delving deeper into the realm of software engineering, the Master of Science in Computer Science (Software Engineering) online program at USC Viterbi School of Engineering presents an excellent educational pathway.

9. Physical Therapist

Being a physical therapist can be a uniquely rewarding role, one that is characterized by facilitating patients’ rehabilitation processes, enhancing mobility and alleviating discomfort through targeted care. Compared to other medical professions, physical therapy can also entail significantly lower stress levels. This is attributed to flexible hours, competitive compensation and comparatively lower stakes.

For those aspiring to pursue a career in physical therapy, various educational programs are available, including the hybrid online/on-campus pathway of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. This program equips students with the requisite skills and knowledge to emerge as leaders within the domain of physical therapy.

Learn more about USC online graduate programs today.