How to Become a Postal Worker

The United States Postal Service is an essential part of society and billions of pieces of mail are delivered on a weekly basis around the United States and worldwide. Postal workers are trained professionals that handle and deliver mail in a timely and efficient manner.

What does a postal worker do?

Postal workers are key government employees who ensure the proper delivery of mail through a variety of conditions. They process, sort, and deliver a variety of mail such as letters, bills, documents, magazines, and packages. They also provide customer service and sell mailing supplies such as stamps, envelopes, and boxes in post offices. They answer a variety of questions and provide as much assistance as they can. They also weigh packages to determine the correct postage and make sure packages are in the proper mailing condition. Some postal workers collect signed receipts for insured, registered, or certified mail and others collect postage-due fees. Many unload and load mail from trucks and sort into a variety of categories such as letters, parcel post, foreign mail, and magazines. Postal workers have a variety of jobs such as clerks, mail sorters, processors, mail carriers, and processing machine operators.

What kind of training does a postal worker need?

Postal workers usually need at least a high school diploma. All applicants must pass a written postal service examination that measures the speed and accuracy of memorizing mail distribution procedures and checking names and numbers. New postal workers receive on the job training from experienced workers. Many employers provide classroom instruction on procedures, safety, and defensive driving. When new procedures or equipment is implemented, postal workers receive additional training.

What are the prospects for a career as a postal worker?

Employment of postal workers is expected to have little or no change, decreasing 2% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased use of electronic communication contributes to employment decline.

Job prospects are expected to be fair with keen competition due to the number of applicants exceeding the number of job openings. There will be some job openings from the need to replace postal workers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do postal workers make?

As of October 2009, postal workers with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $24,242 and $58,958. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $34,374 and $47,840 (2).

A career as a postal worker is an excellent choice for individuals interested in the United States mail system. Postal workers must be tactful and courteous and be able to deal with a variety of people. They must be able to speak English well and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to read quickly, accuracy, and a good memory are desirable skills. Postal workers must also be able to work in stressful and sometimes dangerous situations.

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