2 million+ students
helped annually

Subscribe Today

For exclusive college and grad school planning content.

Subscribe Today

For more exclusive college and grad school planning content.

100+ guides
available for free

7+ years
worth of content

2 million+ students
helped until now

ResourcesTop 10 Most Stressful Jobs in the World (2024)

Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs in the World (2024)

In a world that never seems to slow down, some jobs crank up the stress levels to the max. Whether it’s dealing with life-or-death situations, tight deadlines, or just the constant pressure to perform, some jobs are notorious for pushing people to their limits.

Entering 2024, we’ve decided to look into the top 10 most stressful professions globally. We considered education, US/EU salaries, 2031 job growth, and average stress levels to get the full picture.

Here are the top 10 most stressful jobs in the world (2024), according to Mastersdegree.net:

Job Title Education Needed Average Salary in the US/yr Average Salary in EU/yr* Expected Job Growth by 2031 Stress/Burn Out Level (Average)
Lawyer Doctoral or professional degree $127,990 €132,500 9.6% 80% in-house lawyers report feeling stressed or burned out
Compliance Officer Bachelor’s degree $71,650 €106,914 4.3% 60% burnout at work
Construction Worker No formal educational credential $37,770 €44,963 5.3% 58% feel burnt out
Marriage and Family Therapist Master’s degree $49,880 €51,374 13.9% Over 50% feel burnt out at some point in their career
Paramedic Postsecondary nondegree award $46,770 €41,138 6.6% More than 50% feel burnt out
Firefighter Postsecondary nondegree award $50,700 €58,038 4.3% 48% of all firefighters are likely to experience burnout
Mental Health Counselor Master’s degree $49,130 €39,732 11.1% 45% of therapists feel burnt out or stressed
Rehabilitation Counselor Master’s degree $38,560 €44,925 10.5% 45% of therapists feel burnt out or stressed
Surgeon Doctoral or professional degree $208,000 €235,644 3.4% 40% of surgeons met criteria for burnout
Cardiovascular Technologist Associate degree $60,570 €46,477 4.6% 33% heart doctors feel burnt out

*Salary Expert, Glassdoor, Economic Research Institute

1. Lawyer

So many legal problems, so little time. Earning the first position on our list, lawyers face some of the highest burnout rates, with 8 in 10 in-house lawyers reporting elevated stress levels or burnout. Their profession is a race against the clock, with demanding workloads, tight deadlines, and the weight of clients’ legal issues. The confrontational nature of legal proceedings, ethical dilemmas, and keeping up with complex laws add to the stress.

Becoming a lawyer requires significant education, often doctoral or professional degrees. They are the second-highest-paid profession on our list, with an average salary of $127,990 in the US and €132,500 in the EU. Despite challenges, the legal field has a 9.6% job growth projection by 2031, indicating ongoing demand for their services.

2. Compliance Officer

Next on our list of stressful jobs are compliance officers, who navigate a high-stakes game in industries such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and government agencies. Their stress stems from managing complex rules, ensuring ethics, handling risks, protecting data, and investigating legal or ethical issues within the organization.

With 6 out of 10 compliance officers reporting that they experience burnout at work, it is clear that the demands of the job often take a toll on these professionals. Albeit there is a projected 4.3% job growth, showing more demand for these roles, it’s crucial to tackle the burnout issue to ensure the well-being of compliance officers.

3. Construction Worker

Construction workers face immense stress, ranking third on our list of demanding professions. A staggering 58% of them feel like their life is out of control, reflecting the harsh physical labor, long and unpredictable hours, and job insecurity prevalent in this field.

Safety measures are often neglected by employers, putting these workers at increased risk of injuries. Construction workers also receive some of the lowest salaries on our list, averaging $37,770 in the US and €44,963 in the EU.

On a positive note, this profession offers entry opportunities without the need for formal education. Additionally, there is a projected growth rate of 5.3% expected by 2031.

4. Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists are regularly exposed to their clients’ conflicts and emotional distress, which can lead to stress and burnout. The complexities of family dynamics and the pressure to meet high client expectations add to the challenges they face.

With a remarkable 13.9% projected job growth by 2031, marriage and family therapists are in high demand, making it the fastest-growing profession on our list. However, it’s essential to recognize that even though there’s high demand, over half of therapists in this field face burnout in their careers. More support is needed to help these professionals set boundaries and prioritize their well-being, making them more effective in assisting others.

5. Paramedic

Working as a paramedic means confronting high-pressure emergency situations daily, where seconds between a patient’s life and death are a constant reality. This profession exposes paramedics to traumatic injuries and critical medical conditions, often leading to long and irregular work hours that disrupt their work-life balance.

Paramedics typically earn an average salary of $46,770 in the US and around €41,138 in the EU. Although there is a promising 6.6% job growth projection by 2031 and relatively lower entry requirements compared to some other healthcare careers, paramedics often face burnout, with over 50% experiencing it during their careers.

6. Firefighter

Ranked as the sixth most stressful job, firefighting is a profession characterized by intense physical and mental demands. Typically requiring a postsecondary nondegree award, firefighters earn an average salary of $50,700 in the US and around €58,038 in the EU. The role is also set to experience a modest growth of 4.3% by 2031.

Unfortunately, nearly half of all firefighters are likely to experience burnout due to various factors such as sleep disturbances, physical exhaustion, as well as the persistent feeling of not having done enough in critical situations. To prevent burnout among firefighters, it’s essential to provide mental health support, teach stress management techniques, and establish a supportive workplace.

7. Mental Health Counselor

At the seventh spot, we find mental health counselors, who are professionals dedicated to assisting individuals in their mental and emotional well-being. Their crucial role in society is evident, and the field is on the rise, with a projected growth rate of 11.1% until 2031.

Burnout is a common experience among mental health counselors, with 45% of them reporting feelings of stress and burnout. This can be due to factors like compassion fatigue from absorbing clients’ emotional pain or dealing with complex mental health issues like schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. The nature of one-on-one counseling work can also lead to professional isolation.

8. Rehabilitation Counselor

You may have already noticed a recurring pattern of mental health professionals in our rankings. Rehabilitation counselors are also part of these stressful jobs due to the intricate and emotionally challenging nature of their work.

In this role, they help people with disabilities by creating personalized plans, offering counseling, and connecting them with support services to enhance their independence and overall well-being.

To enter this field, a master’s degree is typically required, with an average salary of $38,560 in the US and approximately €44,925 in the EU. It’s worth noting that this profession is poised for significant job growth, with a projected 10.5% increase by 2031, indicating a growing demand for these services. Despite the rising need, a concerning 45% of therapists in this field report experiencing burnout or high stress levels.

9. Surgeon

Surgeons are highly respected in the medical community for their challenging work, but this admiration is a double-edged sword. The pressure to perform at their best, combined with enduringly long hours, high-pressure surgeries, and an overwhelming influx of paperwork, adds significant stress to their esteemed position.

Despite an enticing average salary (the highest on our list), reaching $208,000 in the US and approximately €235,644 in the EU, a notable 40% of surgeons grapple with burnout. Becoming a surgeon demands a doctoral or professional degree, with most spending at least 13 years on education, involving significant personal sacrifices.

10. Cardiovascular Technologist

The last role featured on our list of most stressful jobs is that of cardiovascular technologists, who often face challenges in the workplace. They handle hands-on patient care, conduct electrocardiograms and other diagnostic tests, and provide emotional support to those dealing with heart health issues.

The job demands at least an associate degree, offering an average salary of $60,570 in the US and approximately €46,477 in the EU per year. While the expected job growth by 2031 is 4.6%, a significant percentage of these workers experience stress. A recent survey found that 33.3% of support personnel working in cardiac catheterization labs (CCL) experience burnout syndrome.

Featured Guides You Should Read

How to Choose an MBA Program: 9 Things to Consider

Choosing the right MBA program starts with knowing your goals well, especially your career objectives. Take time to think about where you see yourself professionally...

Best MBA in Cybersecurity Programs (2024)

If you're considering advancing your career in cybersecurity, an MBA might be just what you need. Unlike a master's degree, an MBA equips you...

Best US States for International Students (2024)

Studying in the United States is an experience like no other, which is why the country attracts students from all corners of the globe....

Best MBA in Finance Programs (2024)

Pursuing an MBA in Finance goes beyond mere number crunching; it's about learning to decipher the pulse of global markets, anticipating trends, and shaping...