Looking for bliss? University professors have it

Looking for bliss? University professors have it

If you are looking for a career that offers zen-like tranquility, it may be time to pull out the sewing machine -- or the drill press.

Well, tranquility may not necessarily be what you get with a drill press, but their operators reportedly have one of the lowest-stress jobs in the nation. Along with seamstresses and eight other occupations, drill press operators made the cut on the 2013 list of least stressful jobs, according to CareerCast.com.

The job search website publishes an annual list of the most stressful and least stressful jobs in the nation. Topping the least stressful list is university professor, with enlisted military personnel getting the unenviable distinction of having the most stressful job.

Top 10 least stressful jobs

For a low-stress work environment, you may have to be willing to work for a little less. The top 10 least stressful jobs include a number of professions that likely won't make you rich. But they may make you happy.

These occupations made CareerCast's top 10 least stressful jobs for 2013.

  1. University professor
  2. Seamstress/tailor
  3. Medical records technician
  4. Jeweler
  5. Medical lab technician
  6. Audiologist
  7. Dietitian
  8. Hair stylist
  9. Librarian
  10. Drill press operator

University professors received a stress score of 6.45, the lowest of any occupation considered by CareerCast. The website notes that professors may have low levels of stress because, unlike teachers in lower grades, they don't have standardized testing evaluating their performance, and their students largely choose to be in school.

Top 10 most stressful jobs

While professors may be enjoying a blissful work environment, the story is much different for enlisted military personnel. Rating 84.72 on the stress score, enlisted military members have the most stressful job in the nation, according to the CareerCast list. Not only are many currently serving overseas in hostile areas, the transition to civilian life can be difficult after an individual's service is done.

The complete top 10 list of most stressful jobs, as determined by CareerCast, includes the following occupations:

  1. Enlisted military personnel
  2. Military general
  3. Firefighter
  4. Commercial airline pilot
  5. Public relations executive
  6. Senior corporate executive
  7. Photojournalist
  8. Newspaper reporter
  9. Taxi driver
  10. Police officer

While these occupations tend to have higher incomes than their low-stress counterparts, job seekers will need to decide for themselves if the money is enough to offset a high-pressure work environment.

The science behind the stress ratings

To pinpoint which jobs will result in a relaxed state of mind and which will have you pulling out your hair, CareerCast considered 11 factors, from the amount of travel required to whether risking your life is a career hazard. In addition, the website considered growth potential, which factored into income.

The least stressful jobs had scores that ranged from 6.45 for university professors to 11.32 for drill press operators. Most stressful jobs had scores that topped out at 84.72 for enlisted military personnel, and went down to 45.6 for police officers.

Finding your own low-stress work environment

There is no such thing as a stress-free job, but if you are currently stuck in a high-stress or unfulfilling occupation, it may be time to consider a change. While some low-stress jobs require extended schooling -- university professors typically need to have a doctoral or professional degree -- other occupations may be more accessible.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports medical lab technicians typically only need an associate degree or postsecondary certificate to enter the field (BLS.gov, 2012-13). Dietitians may be ready to work in some positions with a bachelor's degree, typically in dietetics, food and nutrition, or a related field (BLS.gov, 2012-13). And if you already have a bachelor's degree and want to go back to school, a master's degree in library science would put you on the path to a peaceful work environment as a librarian (BLS.gov, 2012-13).

While going back to school may not seem practical for working adults, colleges and universities typically offer night and weekend classes that can be scheduled around other commitments. In addition, enrolling in an online school can make it easy to get the education needed for these jobs.

Of course, your hunt for a low-stress job doesn't have to be limited to those listed on the CareerCast survey. Instead, consider your current skill set, career goals and job preferences, such as how much you would like travel for work. Then research available jobs in growth fields to find your own perfect fit.

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