The least stressful jobs that offer good work-life balance

Earning a high income may not be worth it if your nerves are constantly frayed from stress. Instead of selecting an occupation based on earning potential, consider your overall quality of life and look for low-stress jobs that combine good income with good working conditions. To help you find low-stress careers, we scoured our Best Jobs rankings for those occupations that offer flexible scheduling, safe working environments and a good work-life balance.

Take a look at the following 16 low-stress job options and see which may be right for you. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Landscaper and Groundskeeper

Median salary: $31,730
Education required: None required

Exercising and spending time outdoors have both been shown to reduce stress, according to several research studies. Landscapers and groundskeepers do plenty of both. Their typical duties include mowing lawns, removing trash and debris and planting and maintaining trees, shrubs and flowers. Since there is no formal education required for these positions, landscapers and groundskeepers shouldn't have to stress about repaying student loans either.

Learn more about landscapers and groundskeepers.

Web Developer

Median salary: $77,200
Education required: Associate degree

Several factors help make web development a low-stress occupation. Professionals in this field create and maintain websites, work that can be engaging and enjoyable. Plus, web developers can do their work anywhere, which makes this a perfect option for those who want to work remotely. Finally, with only an associate degree needed to land a job, developers aren't likely to rack up expensive and stress-inducing student loans. Web developers are in strong demand and enjoy above-average incomes, which can help eliminate some of the worry about finding a job after graduation.

Learn more about web developers.

Massage Therapist

Median salary: $43,620
Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

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Massages are synonymous with relaxation, and you don't have to be on the receiving end of one to reap their benefits. Massage therapists have low-stress jobs that involve manipulating muscle and tissue to relieve pain, heal injuries and improve the overall well-being of clients. A short-term certificate is the standard education in the field, and most states require massage therapists to be licensed. A third of workers are self-employed, which gives them the opportunity to set their own hours and pricing.

Learn more about massage therapists.

Genetic Counselor

Median salary: $85,700
Education required: Master's degree

Genetic counselors help people determine their potential health risks. They review family health history, suggest testing options and then review the findings of those tests with their clients. This isn't a physically demanding occupation, so workers don't need to worry about being injured on the job. Plus, genetic counselors command a high enough median salary that they should be able to comfortably pay for basic living expenses with money left over. Those are two reasons this occupation ranks as one of best low-stress careers.

Learn more about genetic counselors.

Wind Turbine Technician

Median salary: $56,230
Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

As long as heights don't scare you, working as a wind turbine technician can be a low-stress occupation. This fast-growing job has people inspecting wind turbines, conducting routine maintenance and repairing components as needed. While some training is required for the job, you won't have to spend years in college or be saddled with sky-high student debt. Instead, a short-term certificate is the standard education for this line of work.

Learn more about wind turbine technicians.

Dental Hygienist

Median salary: $77,090
Education required: Associate degree

With nearly no unemployment reported in the field, dental hygienists benefit from a strong job market. They work in dental offices to clean teeth and educate patients on proper oral hygiene. Hygienists typically work regular hours, and many are employed part time, according to the BLS. That makes this a good occupation for those seeking a low-stress job that comes with a good work-life balance.

Learn more about dental hygienists.


Median salary: $68,380
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Cartographers are modern day map-makers. While their work may send them out into the field, these professionals also often work with mapping software. When working from the office, cartographers may have a regular schedule and little need for overtime. Fieldwork may be more intensive, but those who enjoy this line of work may be more than happy to spend time on location.

Learn more about cartographers.

Mechanical Engineer

Median salary: $90,160
Education required: Bachelor's degree

The work of mechanical engineers can be intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding. These professionals are problem solvers who may work in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, technology and transportation. They design and test tools and machines, and most of their work is done in an office environment. Although these aren't stress-free jobs, the lack of travel, good pay and low unemployment help keep worker stress levels down.

Learn more about mechanical engineers.

Orthotist and Prosthetist

Median salary: $70,190
Education required: Master's degree

Orthotists and prosthetists have rewarding jobs. They create prosthetics for those who need artificial limbs or fit braces and other orthopedic devices for those who need support to walk. Either way, these professionals can have a life-changing impact on patients who regain independence and mobility through these devices. Orthotists and prosthetists enjoy low unemployment and a good work-life balance, which helps keep their occupation relatively low-stress.

Learn more about orthotists and prosthetists.

Occupational Therapist

Median salary: $86,280
Education required: Master's degree

After an illness or injury, people rely on occupational therapists to help them regain the ability to perform everyday tasks. Therapists may also work with those with disabilities to help increase their independence. Job growth in the field is expected to be strong in the years to come, and workers can choose from a variety of employment settings. Some occupational therapists work in hospitals and health care clinics, while others may visit schools or provide services in a patient's home.

Learn more about occupational therapists.

Physical Therapist Assistant

Median salary: $59,770
Education required: Associate degree

Demand for physical therapist assistants is expected to grow more than 32% from 2019 to 2029, according to the BLS. That means people entering this dynamic field shouldn't have to stress about finding a job. Workers also only need an associate degree, which means they won't have the stress of trying to pay for an advanced education. Physical therapist assistants help patients perform exercises and movements as directed by a physical therapist.

Learn more about physical therapist assistants.


Median salary: $208,000
Education required: Doctorate

Orthodontists spend their days straightening teeth. They may fit patients with braces or other appliances and make adjustments as necessary. Orthodontic emergencies are rare and not life-threatening, so this isn't a position that has workers on call at all hours of the day. While physicians and surgeons may be tasked with breaking bad news to patients, orthodontists don't usually have that worry. They offer a service that typically has patients smiling when treatment is done.

Learn more about orthodontists.


Median salary: $164,010
Education required: Doctorate

From extracting teeth to filling cavities, dentists have a job that doesn't typically put them at risk for injury. While their office hours can vary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes many dentists work fewer than 40 hours a week. Flexible hours, combined with above average pay, makes this one of the low-stress careers that offers a good work-life balance.

Learn more about dentists.

Data Scientist

Median salary: $98,230
Education required: Bachelor's degree

If you love numbers and analysis, working as a data scientist may be a good fit for you. These professionals are masters at taking the big data currently available to businesses and organizations and parsing it down into information that can be used for marketing, product development and more. The job comes with above-average flexibility, and data scientists may be able to work from home and set their own hours. That, along with good job growth and income potential, makes this a low-stress occupation.

Learn more about data scientists.


Median salary: $92,270
Education required: Master's Degree

If you don't like math, you might find being a statistician stressful. However, for those who enjoy working with numbers, this occupation can be a dream. Statisticians compile and analyze data in a variety of sectors, including health care, government, research or academia. While they may occasionally get a last-minute data request that could cause some stress, these professionals typically maintain regular hours while working in an office setting.

Learn more about statisticians.

Software Developer

Median salary: $110,140
Education required: Bachelor's degree

Software developers top the list of least stressful jobs. These professionals create software programs for computer systems and applications. It's a job that lends itself well to remote work and flexible hours. Workers usually don't have to worry about workplace injuries or demanding travel schedules either. What's more, with a six-figure median income, software developers shouldn't have to deal with financial stress when it comes time to pay the bills.

Learn more about software developers.

16 low-stress jobs:

— Landscaper and Groundskeeper.

— Web Developer.

— Massage Therapist.

— Genetic Counselor.

— Wind Turbine Technician.

— Dental Hygienist.

— Cartographer.

— Mechanical Engineer.

— Orthotist and Prosthetist.

— Occupational Therapist.

— Physical Therapist Assistant.

— Orthodontist.

— Dentist.

— Data Scientist.

— Statistician.

— Software Developer.

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