It’s Official: Firefighting Is the Nation’s Most Stressful Job

CareerCast.com Report identifies firefighting as nation's most stressful job for 2010

At some point in your life, you’ve probably asserted to someone that your job is hands-down more stressful than theirs, regardless of whether that person was an accountant, lawyer, doctor or, dare I say, police officer. Well, what you didn’t have then was a study to back up your argument. Enter a new CareerCast.com report indicating that firefighting is the nation’s most stressful job. For the record, police officer was #5 on the list. I’m sure none of you will use this information to your advantage in friendly debates with your police counterparts …

So what do you think about this report? Do you think it’s even possible to compare jobs in this manner? Are you at all surprised that firefighting outranked commercial pilot? What are some of the most stressful aspects of your job? Why do you think firefighting has risen on the list over the years?

Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs for 2010
1. Firefighter
2. Corporate Executive
3. Taxi Driver
4. Surgeon
5. Police Officer
6. Commercial Pilot
7. Highway Patrol
8. Public Relations Officer
9. Advertising Executive
10. Real Estate Agent

Top 10 Least Stressful Jobs for 2010
1. Musical Instrument Repairer
2. Medical Records Technician
3. Actuary
4. Forklift Operator
5. Appliance Repairer
6. Medical Secretary
7. Librarian
8. Bookkeeper
9. Piano Tuner
10. Janitor

Note: The report surveyed 200 different professions, measuring work environment, job competitiveness and risk to determine the rankings. The criteria used by CareerCast.com researchers to determine the most and least stressful jobs include 21 different job demands that invoke stress. Each demand was assigned a range of points, and a high score was given if the demand was a major part of the job, while fewer points were given if the demand wasn’t normally required. Visit www.careercast.com to view the full report.

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Comment by Mike Schlags (Captain Busy) Retd on April 28, 2010 at 3:57pm


This is the Nile.. anyone not believing that this job is not stressful is in Denial... there is a difference.

You can sit back and write witty replies but deep down, you have to acknowledge that waking up to an alarm and responding to a structure fire is stressful. I'm not going to bother with all the other examples because you know them all by heart, especially when it involves the myriad of job functions we are expected to do.

Each response, each incident, everything is accumulative. Take a heart and have it go from a resting pulse of <80 and have it jump up to >100 is workout no matter how you look at it. Look at the heart statistics for myocardial infarctions and strokes...

Yes, this job is stressful and to belittle it is silly. Over 35% of fireground deaths are firefighters who never had prior symptoms but experienced sudden death syndrome.

http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/OSCardiacDeath.pdf this is a good place to start... and to become more... aware...

Now of course, it your annual call load is around 12 calls a year, then maybe your more in the janitor category and this discussion is moot...
Comment by FETC on April 27, 2010 at 2:05pm
New title - It's Crap! - You just gotta love crappy studies.... To be honest I am not sure we deserve to be Number 1...

Sorry but there is more downtime in the fire service than emergency responses. So physical labor and critical decision making is actually minimal given the number of work hours.

Maybe they "studied" someone worrying that they were going to get laid off in this economy... now thats stress. One example would be the Crab or Lobster Fisherman who for the most part do not have downtime and every minute is dangerous???
Comment by Jack/dt on April 27, 2010 at 1:04pm
They forgot Journalists for Trade Magazines. Must be stressful writing about how stressful it is to be something else.
Comment by WestPhilly on April 27, 2010 at 10:27am
Now THAT'S gotta be stressful.
Comment by WestPhilly on April 27, 2010 at 9:47am
Reading B.S. studies that try to convince me my job is stressful, is stressful. (I'll feel better when I get back to the firehouse tonight).

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