Mail Carrier Job Description

Salary: $46,100 – $54,600 Number of Jobs: 343,340
Hourly Rate: $22.17 – $26.26 Employment Outlook: Good
Green Job: No Education: Short-term on-the-job training

What do Mail Carriers do?

Mail carriers deliver mail to businesses and homes along their established routes. Depending on their route, they may deliver the mail on foot or by vehicle. In some cases, they will drive to a central location, park their vehicle, and then walk from house to house.

Mail carriers deliver mail to businesses and homes along their established routes. Depending on their route, they may deliver the mail on foot or by vehicle. In some cases, they will drive to a central location, park their vehicle, and then walk from house to house.

Carriers who work on rural routes sometimes sell stamps and money orders on their route. Since the closest post office could be many miles away, this type of service is a big convenience to people in rural areas. Additional responsibilities for mail career jobs include:

  • Obtaining signatures for certified, registered and insured mail.
  • Leaving mail delivery notices for patrons if they aren’t at home when a package requiring a signature is delivered.
  • Collecting mail from homes and businesses and delivering it to the post office.

Work Environment and Schedule

The creed of the United States Postal Service is “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” If that doesn’t scare you, then you might be cut out for a job in this occupation. Even though they work outside during all sorts of weather conditions, this isn’t a dangerous occupation overall. Accidents do happen in bad weather sometimes, but mail carriers are much more likely to be injured by lifting or bending. Remaining in good physical condition can help reduce the risk of these injuries, but it’s just about impossible to prevent them altogether. Most mail carriers work full time. Since mail is delivered on Saturdays, mail carriers often work six days a week with only Sundays off. The schedule can be exhausting, but the good news is that the post office recognizes all federal holidays, so mail carriers get more holidays off than people in most other jobs. Overtime is often required during the holidays. Because so many packages are shipped around Christmas time, mail carriers on some routes make two trips a day.

How to Become a Mail Carrier

There aren’t any formal educational requirements for becoming a mail carrier, but most people in this occupation have a high school diploma. If you don’t have a diploma, it may be difficult to get a job over people that do. Mail carriers have to be at least 18 years old and have proof of United States citizenship. They must also have a valid drivers license and have a clean driving record. Applicants must also pass a drug test, physical exam, and criminal background check before they will be hired for a job in this occupation. All mail carriers have to pass a written exam. This exam tests applicants on their knowledge of mail carrying procedures and their ability to quickly and accurately compare names and numbers. Though it might sound trivial, quickly checking names and numbers is a skill used every day in this occupation. If you want to work as a mail carrier on a rural route, you may need to provide your own vehicle. The post office will reimburse you for fuel, but the miles on your car can add up quickly, and you will be responsible for making any repairs to your vehicle. Before you consider a job as rural mail carrier, you should take the costs of vehicle maintenance into consideration.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 343,340 mail carriers in the United States, with 10,720 new mail carrier job openings created each year.

Mail Carrier jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Mail Carrier Salaries

Overall Salaries

Mail Carrier salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most mail carriers make between $46,100 – $54,600 per year, or $22.17 – $26.26 per hour.

Updated: 05/04/2017

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