The Most Difficult Job to Get into: Ranking the Toughest Professional Field to Break Into

Choose the job you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 17, 2024 06:38
Step right up and prepare to dive into the world of challenging and elusive careers! At StrawPoll, we're hosting a thrilling ranking of "What is the most difficult job to get into?" and we want YOU to have your say. From the mysterious realms of espionage to the breathtaking heights of astronaut selection, we've compiled thousands of polls and rankings on a diverse range of attention-grabbing topics. Now's your chance to vote for your favorite or even suggest a missing option that you think deserves its place in our formidable list. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to discover the cream of the crop in the world of dream jobs and career aspirations. Join us now and let your voice be heard as we uncover the most fiercely competitive and challenging professions on the planet!

What Is the Most Difficult Job to Get into?

  1. 1
    Astronaut is becoming an astronaut is extremely difficult due to the rigorous selection process and the limited number of positions available. Only a select few individuals are chosen to undergo the extensive training required to become an astronaut.
    An astronaut is a highly trained individual who travels to outer space to conduct scientific research, explore new territories, and perform various tasks related to space missions. They are part of space exploration programs and play a crucial role in advancing our understanding and capabilities in space. Astronauts undergo rigorous training to ensure their physical and mental abilities are well-suited for the challenging conditions of space travel.
    • Education: Completion of a bachelor's degree in a relevant field (e.g., engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences) is generally required.
    • Physical Fitness: Astronaut candidates must meet specific physical and medical criteria to ensure they can withstand the physical demands of space travel.
    • Training: Extensive training in various areas such as spacecraft operation, scientific experiments, survival skills, and extravehicular activities (EVAs) are provided.
    • Technical Skills: Proficiency in operating complex equipment and systems, as well as knowledge of navigation, robotics, and spacecraft maintenance.
    • Teamwork: Astronauts must possess strong teamwork and collaboration skills to work effectively with fellow crew members in confined and high-stress environments.
  2. 2
    Neurosurgeon is becoming a neurosurgeon requires years of education and training, as well as exceptional surgical skills. Only a small percentage of medical students are accepted into neurosurgery residency programs.
    Neurosurgeon is a highly specialized medical profession focused on surgical treatment of disorders affecting the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. It requires extensive training, expertise, and precision to perform delicate procedures on the nervous system.
    • Education: Completion of a bachelor's degree, followed by medical school and a neurosurgery residency program
    • Training: 7-8 years of surgical training after obtaining a medical degree
    • Expertise: In-depth knowledge of neuroanatomy, physiology, and neurosurgical techniques
    • Skills: Exceptional hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and ability to work under high-pressure situations
    • Focus Areas: Brain tumors, spinal disorders, stroke, epilepsy, trauma, and congenital anomalies
  3. 3
    Professional athlete is becoming a professional athlete requires exceptional talent and dedication, as well as the ability to compete at the highest level. The competition for professional sports positions is fierce, with only a small percentage of individuals making it to the top.
    A professional athlete is an individual who engages in sports as a career, participating in competitions and representing teams or nations. They are highly dedicated, skilled, and committed to their chosen sport, and their performance is often at the highest level.
    • Physical Fitness: Professional athletes possess exceptional physical strength, agility, endurance, and overall fitness.
    • Skill and Talent: They demonstrate exceptional skills, techniques, and talent specific to their sport.
    • Competitive Nature: They thrive in competitive environments and strive to be the best in their sport.
    • Teamwork and Collaboration: Many sports require professional athletes to work effectively with teammates, coaches, and support staff.
    • Continuous Training: They maintain a rigorous training routine to enhance skills, stay in shape, and improve performance.
    Professional athlete in other rankings
  4. 4
    CEO of a Fortune 500 company is becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company requires years of experience and a proven track record of success. The competition for top executive positions is intense, with only a small number of individuals selected for these roles.
    The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of a Fortune 500 company is the highest-ranking executive responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the company. They are entrusted with leading and driving the organization's growth, profitability, and market presence. As the face of the company, they represent its values and vision to stakeholders, employees, and the public.
    • Education: Typically requires a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, while advanced degrees such as MBA are often preferred.
    • Experience: Extensive executive-level experience, often including roles in general management, operations, finance, and strategy.
    • Leadership: Demonstrated leadership skills with the ability to inspire and motivate large teams and align them towards common goals.
    • Strategic Vision: Strong ability to develop and communicate a clear and compelling strategic vision for the company's long-term growth.
    • Financial Acumen: In-depth understanding of financial management principles, including financial analysis, budgeting, and forecasting.
  5. 5
    Fighter pilot is becoming a fighter pilot requires exceptional physical and mental abilities, as well as extensive training and experience. The competition for fighter pilot positions is fierce, with only a select few individuals chosen for these roles.
    A fighter pilot is a highly skilled and trained aviator who operates combat aircraft primarily for air-to-air combat missions. They are responsible for executing tactical missions, engaging enemy aircraft, and providing air support to ground forces.
    • Physical Fitness: Excellent physical fitness is essential due to the demands of G-forces and prolonged missions.
    • Mental Resilience: Fighter pilots require exceptional mental resilience to handle high-stress situations and make split-second decisions.
    • Flight Skills: Extensive flight training is necessary, including knowledge of aerodynamics, flight systems, and weapons systems.
    • Combat Training: Fighter pilots undergo rigorous combat training to develop dogfighting skills, air-to-air tactics, and target engagement.
    • Situational Awareness: They must possess exceptional situational awareness and the ability to rapidly analyze complex aerial situations.
  6. 6
    Supreme Court Justice is becoming a Supreme Court Justice requires a law degree, extensive legal experience, and a nomination by the President of the United States. The competition for these positions is intense, with only a small number of individuals selected for these roles.
    A Supreme Court Justice is a highly prestigious and influential position within the judicial branch of government. Justices are appointed to serve on the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of a country. They are responsible for interpreting the constitution and making final decisions on critical legal issues.
    • Qualifications: Typically, Justices are required to have an extensive legal background, such as being an experienced judge or lawyer.
    • Appointment: Justices are appointed by the head of state or an authorized body, usually for a lifetime term.
    • Independence: Justices act independently and are expected to make unbiased decisions based on the law.
    • Judicial Review: Supreme Court Justices have the power of judicial review, allowing them to declare laws or actions unconstitutional.
    • Major Cases: Justices often hear and decide on significant cases that have far-reaching impact on society and the legal landscape.
    Supreme Court Justice in other rankings
  7. 7
    Professional musician is becoming a professional musician requires exceptional talent, dedication, and hard work. The competition for success in the music industry is intense, with only a small percentage of individuals achieving long-term success.
    A professional musician is an individual who earns a living by performing music as their primary occupation. They possess exceptional talent, skills, and dedication to excel in their chosen instrument or genre. Professional musicians typically work in various settings, such as orchestras, bands, solo performances, recording studios, and live events. They may specialize in playing specific instruments or focus on singing. The profession requires constant practice, creativity, perseverance, and adaptability.
    • Skill Level: High level of proficiency in playing instruments or singing
    • Technique: Mastering advanced musical techniques relevant to the chosen instrument
    • Musical Knowledge: In-depth understanding of music theory, notation, and composition
    • Performance Skills: Ability to captivate and engage audiences through live performances
    • Creativity: Capacity to innovate and bring fresh ideas to musical compositions or interpretations
    Professional musician in other rankings
  8. 8
    Special Forces soldier is becoming a member of a Special Forces unit requires exceptional physical and mental abilities, as well as extensive training and experience. The competition for these positions is fierce, with only a select few individuals chosen for these roles.
    A Special Forces soldier refers to an elite military personnel who undergoes rigorous and specialized training to serve in unconventional warfare and counter-terrorism missions. Their main objective is to conduct high-risk operations behind enemy lines, often in hostile environments and with limited resources. Special Forces soldiers are trained to handle intense physical and mental challenges while operating independently or in small teams.
    • Physical Fitness: Extraordinarily high fitness levels and endurance are required.
    • Combat Skills: Expertise in various combat techniques, including hand-to-hand combat and firearms.
    • Specialized Training: Intense training in areas such as demolitions, intelligence gathering, and advanced medical skills.
    • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in multiple languages to facilitate effective communication in diverse situations.
    • Adaptability: Ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and effectively operate in different environments.
  9. 9
    Diplomat is becoming a diplomat requires exceptional language skills, knowledge of international relations, and the ability to navigate complex political environments. The competition for diplomatic positions is intense, with only a small number of individuals selected for these roles.
    A Diplomat is a highly skilled and knowledgeable individual who represents their country's interests in various international relations and negotiations. They are responsible for maintaining diplomatic relations, promoting national interests, and resolving conflicts between nations.
    • Education: Typically requires a bachelor's degree in international relations, political science, or a related field.
    • Foreign Language Proficiency: Proficiency in at least one foreign language is necessary for effective communication and negotiation.
    • Analytical Skills: Strong analytical skills are required to assess complex political situations and develop strategies.
    • Cultural Awareness: A deep understanding and appreciation of different cultures and customs is crucial in diplomatic interactions.
    • Negotiation Skills: Excellent negotiation skills are essential for achieving mutually beneficial agreements and resolving conflicts.
  10. 10

    Tenured professor

    Academic institutions
    Tenured professor is becoming a tenured professor requires a Ph.D. or equivalent degree, extensive research and teaching experience, and a proven track record of success in academia. The competition for tenured positions is intense, with only a small number of individuals selected for these roles.
    A tenured professor is an academic position within a university or college that offers job security and long-term employment. It is considered one of the most difficult jobs to get into due to the extensive qualifications, competitive application process, and limited availability of positions.
    • Experience: Significant research, teaching, and publishing track record
    • Qualifications: Ph.D. or equivalent degree
    • Expertise: In-depth knowledge and specialization in a specific field
    • Publication: Required publication of research papers and academic articles
    • Teaching: Demonstrated excellence in teaching and mentorship

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Ranking factors for difficult job

  1. Education and qualifications
    Consider the level of education and specialized qualifications required for the job. This may include advanced degrees, certifications, or specialized training courses.
  2. Experience
    Assess the amount of relevant work experience required or preferred by employers. This may include internships, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training.
  3. Skills
    Identify the specific skills or talents needed for the job, such as technical skills, problem-solving abilities, communication, or creativity.
  4. Competition
    Examine the number of applicants for a given job or industry to assess how competitive it is. This may include the number of open positions compared to the number of qualified candidates.
  5. Industry growth
    Look at the growth prospects of the industry or field to determine future job availability and demand. This may include new and emerging fields or industries where job opportunities are scarce but expected to increase.
  6. Networking
    Consider the importance of connections, relationships, and reputation in gaining entry to the job or industry. This could include professional organizations, industry events, or informal networking situations.
  7. Physical or mental requirements
    Assess any physical or mental demands placed upon individuals in the job, such as heavy lifting, long hours, or high-stress situations. These factors may make a job more difficult to obtain for some individuals.
  8. Barriers to entry
    Identify any potential barriers to entry that may make it difficult for someone to break into the field, such as high costs of education, specialized equipment, or geographic location.
  9. Selection process
    Evaluate the rigor and complexity of a job's selection process, which may include multiple interviews, assessments, background checks, or personality tests.
  10. Job stability
    Consider the stability and longevity of the position in question. Jobs with high turnover rates or frequent layoffs may be more difficult to secure and maintain long term.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult job to get into. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or job is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 177 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each job once every 24 hours. The rank of each job is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult job to get into

The job market can be tough to navigate, and some positions are simply harder to land than others. Whether it's due to high competition, strict qualifications, or limited availability, certain jobs require a lot of hard work and dedication to break into. So, what are the most difficult jobs to get into? From coveted positions in the entertainment industry to highly specialized roles in science and medicine, there are a variety of career paths that can be incredibly challenging to pursue. In this article, we'll explore some of the most difficult jobs to get into and what it takes to succeed in these competitive fields.

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