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12 Jobs With Low Stress, Decent Pay

Ditch The Stress...


During the recession, many workers have had to take what they could get in terms of employment. Now that the economy is showing signs of improvement, you might be considering how to get out of your high-stress job and exchange it for something a little less ulcer-inducing.

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...Without Ditching the $$


Happily, good pay doesn’t always mean workplace stress. You might be surprised that some jobs, considered less than stressful than others, still pay quite decently. If you are looking for a career change, you might consider one of the following 12 jobs that pay well without increasing your blood pressure.

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Massage Therapist


The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that there is strong job outlook for massage therapy. The work environment is generally low stress, with soothing sounds and comfortable lighting. Many massage therapists set their own hours and many workless than 40 hours a week. It is possible to make between $40,000 and $50,000 a year as a massage therapist.

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Natural Science Manager


With more interest in the natural sciences, it is little surprise that this position is gaining popularity. StateUniversity.com reports that the median salary for these managers is around $88,660 a year. Natural science managers oversee scientists (biologists, chemists, medical scientists and agricultural scientists), and need good communications skills, since they coordinate with others. Unless a deadline is looming, many find that their jobs are relatively low stress when compared with other types of managers, since they rarely work with irate customers, and spend most of the time in the office.

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Power Plant Operator


PayScale.com lists power plant operators as making between $49,791 and $77,712 a year. For the most part, power plant operators enjoy relative autonomy, and do not interact with irate customers. The job requires some specific training, but there is not a great deal of physical strain. Centralized operation centers can make the work easier as well, since those working in control rooms have less exposure to the risk of electric shock. Power plant operators do have big responsibilities, which can cause some stress, but advanced safety systems help alleviate some of that. The recent natural power plant blast in Middletown, Conn., happened as a result of controversial “blow down” technique to clear pipes.

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College Professor


The abilities to buy out of classes, get assistants to grade assignments, set your own schedule and, in some cases, set your own curriculum, can make college professor a relatively low-stress job—at least if you’re tenured. For those without tenure, you may need to “publish or perish,” and you may have student loans to pay back, contributing to some degree of stress. Inside Higher Ed points out that professors at Christian colleges may be the least stressed of all (even those without tenure), due to clear expectations and less pressure to publish. Pay varies according to the university you teach at, but Money Magazine points out that 75% of college professors make more than $61,780.

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Speech Pathologist


Many speech pathologists derive satisfaction from helping others, which can lower stress and anxiety. From elementary schools to health clinics, speech pathologists work with others in settings that are often comfortable and one-on-one. About.com reports that the median annual salary of speech pathologists is $57,710.

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Environmental Scientist


The Princeton Review points out that many become environmental scientists in order to help make the world better. Environmental scientists gather information about effects humans are having on the ecosystem, and recommend courses of action. Working in nature can be a stress reliever that works in tandem with the good feelings that come from feeling as though you are doing something worthwhile. You can make around $65,280 a year, according to the College Board.

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Building Inspector


Building and home inspectors look through construction to ensure that structures are up to code. Often these inspectors work alone, with no need to soothe irate customers, and get to spend time in the field, as well as in the office. This change of scene can keep the work from becoming stressful through tedium. Most work regular hours. There can be stress related to the fact that if something goes wrong, it is on you. However, most large and complex projects have more than one building inspector, so there are people to help back you up.

It’s never fun to provide bad news that something isn’t up to code, but many building inspectors are backed up by specific points of law that allow them to better explain what changes need to be made to increase the safety of the building. Backlogs in some cities can cause stress and overwork, though, so be careful of the locale you choose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Construction and Building Inspectors have a median wage of $50,180 a year.

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Civil Engineer


If you like designing infrastructure, this could be a good job for you. Most civil engineers work in reasonably comfortable offices, and work regular hours. Due to the recognition that they do important work, there is a high amount of respect for civil engineers , which can lead to reduced stress and better feelings of job satisfaction. Indeed.com reports that the average salary of civil engineers is $89,000 a year. Not bad for someone who gets to sit and play with AutoCAD for a good portion of the day.

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Occupational Therapist


Another job that centers on helping people, an occupational therapist focuses on helping others perform tasks in living and working environments. This is done in a one-on-one setting that sometimes changes, adding interest to the job and cutting through tedium that can become stressful. Often, the work environment is positive, reasonably low stress, and hours are regular. Salary.com reports that the salary range for this job is $61,467 to $84,638.

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Sociologist


Studying groups of people, and find interesting trends, the main point of sociology is to use critical analysis to learn about human social activity in order to apply that knowledge to improve social welfare. Because many sociologists are employed by colleges and universities as research and lab assistants, adjunct faculty and sometimes professors, the work can be fairly low stress. Research can be fulfilling and interesting, and researchers rarely have to deal with upset customers, leading to lower stress. Sociologists sometimes work with others in youth services, management training and population careers. Some sociology careers, such as those in criminal justice, can offer a higher level of stress. Even when working with people, sociologists can derive satisfaction in helping others better their lives, creating a more positive and lower stress environment. StateUniversity.com reports the median salary at $57,870 a year.

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Tour Escort


A tour escort is someone who accompanies groups on “vacation package” travel, helping to smooth the way and lead tours.  This is not a job earning $10 an hour as a tour guide at the local aquarium. As long as you enjoy interacting with people, and enjoy learning about new places, this can be a great low stress job. You get to spend time outdoors in many (but not all) cases, and enjoy travel opportunities. In some cases, you even get your housing taken care of, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. However, this might not be an ideal job for someone who has a family, since you would likely be away from home a lot. Job Monkey reports that competent and popular tour escorts can earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.

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Freelance Writer


Sometimes the deadlines can be brutal, but many freelance writers enjoy the ability to set their own schedules. Many work from home, and can decide to accept or reject assignments, increasing their own job satisfaction and allowing them time to relax. Freelance writers enjoy a flexibility in hours, work environment and attire (work in your pajamas!) that others only dream of. Earnings vary widely, depending on the work done, but there are freelance writers who earn six figures.

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Don't Worry, Be Happy


If you are interested in a career change, you might consider obtaining the education and training necessary to do one of these lower stress jobs. Remember that not all these jobs are low stress for everyone; people feel stress in individual ways. However, if one of these jobs appeals to you, you might be able to enjoy life more, with greater job satisfaction. And, if you pick the right career, you might not even have to give up a good salary.

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