How to Become a Courier

Many individuals and organizations need prompt and accurate delivery of information and items. Couriers are trained professionals who transport and deliver a variety of objects for many different reasons.

What does a courier do?

Couriers pick up, transport, and deliver many different things based on the needs of individuals and organizations. They commonly handle letters, important documents, and packages that need to be sent and received very fast across local distances. Some handle sensitive packages such as medical samples and supplies. Couriers ensure items reach their destination within a specific time frame, sometimes within an hour or day depending on the distance and urgency. Couriers typically receive their instructions from their office or by telephone or wireless devices. Once a courier has delivered the item, he or she contacts their dispatcher for any further instructions. Couriers maintain records of their deliveries and usually gain signatures from the individuals who receive the items.

Couriers transport items within a limited area and they use a variety of transportation methods such as by foot, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars for small deliveries and trucks and vans for larger items. Some couriers only transport items for their employer, and others work as part of an organization’s internal mail system transporting items within the organization.

What kind of training does a courier need?

Couriers usually need at least a high school diploma. Most couriers learn their skills through on the job training. New couriers typically train with experienced workers to learn the duties, policies, and procedures of their employer. They typically learn delivery methods, computer programs, and inventory and tracking programs. Couriers who deliver sensitive materials such as medical samples, supplies, and organs for transplant usually require additional training.

What are the prospects for a career as a courier?

Employment of couriers is expected to have little or no change from 2006 to 2016 (1). The widespread use of electronic information technology reduces employment growth.

Job prospects are expected to be fair with job opportunities arising from the need to replace couriers who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons. Couriers will still be needed to deliver items that cannot be sent electronically and to pick up and deliver items for medical and dental laboratories.

How much do couriers make?

As of October 2009, the middle 50% of couriers earn annual salaries between $25,713 and $32,947. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $36,716 (2).

A career as a courier is a great choice for people who are interested in delivering a wide variety of items across a local area. Couriers must have excellent knowledge of the area they work in and a good sense of direction. They must have great oral and written communication skills because they interact with a variety of clients and other professionals. They must be able to effectively work independently and under pressure and stress to meet strict delivery deadlines.

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