I’m not so sure about this study. Back in my college days, I encountered a few professors who seemed pretty stressed out.

Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Least Stressful Job? Really?

The original source of the controversy was a CareerCast study in which professors won the top rank of “least stressful jobs of 2013.” Among the findings by CareerCast: “University professors are at the pinnacle of the education field. Their students are largely those who choose the classes they attend, and thus want to be in class. Unlike elementary and secondary educators, the performance of college professors isn’t evaluated based on standardized tests. University professors also have the opportunity to earn tenure, which guarantees lifetime employment.” The study declared the median salary of faculty members to be $62,050, and gave the career a low stress score based on a methodology that factored in 11 criteria.

Some of those criteria are indeed things on which professors would not have high stress levels. Most professors do not have their lives at risk from their jobs, deal with the lives of others at risk or face physical labor tasks on the job. (Of course professors are hardly unique in not facing those particular sources of stress.)

But on many of the other criteria, professors may think they have plenty of stress. For instance, one measure is deadlines (of which faculty members have many, between grading, publishing, grant applications and so forth) and competitiveness. Other stress criteria might well also apply to professors: “meeting the public” and “working in the public eye” are considered stress-inducing, for example, and arguably faculty members do both of those things every day they teach.

Based on the CareerCast study, Forbes then weighed in. “University professors have a lot less stress than most of us,” said the article. “Unless they teach summer school, they are off between May and September and they enjoy long breaks during the school year, including a month over Christmas and New Year’s and another chunk of time in the spring.