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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddvVveMJ2mw.
Quick Facts: Postal Service Workers
2022 Median Pay $53,680 per year
$25.81 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2022 504,300
Job Outlook, 2022-32 -8% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2022-32 -39,000

What Postal Service Workers Do

Postal service workers sell postage and related products and collect, sort, and deliver mail.

Work Environment

Postal service clerks and mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators work indoors, typically in a post office. Mail carriers mostly work outdoors, delivering mail.

How to Become a Postal Service Worker

Although no formal education is typically required to enter these occupations, most postal service workers have at least a high school diploma. All applicants for these jobs must pass a written exam.

Pay

The median annual wage for postal service workers was $53,680 in May 2022.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of postal service workers is projected to decline 8 percent from 2022 to 2032.

Despite declining employment, about 34,400 openings for postal service workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for postal service workers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of postal service workers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about postal service workers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Postal Service Workers Do About this section

Postal service workers
Carriers deliver mail to homes and businesses.

Postal service workers sell postage and related products and collect, sort, and deliver mail.

Duties

Postal service workers typically do the following:

  • Collect letters and parcels
  • Sort incoming letters and parcels
  • Sell stamps and other postal products
  • Get customer signatures for registered, certified, and insured mail
  • Operate various types of postal equipment
  • Distribute letters and parcels

Postal service workers receive and process mail for delivery to homes, businesses, and post office boxes. Workers are classified based on the type of work they do.

The following are examples of types of postal service workers:

Postal service clerks, also called sales and services distribution associates, sell stamps, money orders, mailing envelopes and boxes, and other postal products in post offices. These workers register, certify, and insure mail, calculate and collect postage, and answer questions about postal matters. They also may help sort mail.

Postal service mail carriers deliver mail to homes and businesses in cities, towns, and rural areas. Most travel established routes, delivering and collecting mail. Mail carriers cover their routes by foot or vehicle or a combination of both. Some mail carriers collect money for postage due. Others, particularly in rural areas, sell postal products, such as stamps and money orders. Mail carriers also answer customers’ questions about postal regulations and services and, upon request, provide change-of-address cards and other postal forms.

Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators, also called mail handlers and processing clerks, prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution at post offices and mail processing centers. They load and unload postal trucks and move mail around processing centers. They also operate and adjust mail processing and sorting machinery.

Work Environment About this section

Postal service workers
Although mail carriers work outdoors, sorters and processors typically work indoors.

Postal service workers held about 504,300 jobs in 2022. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up postal service workers was distributed as follows:

Postal service mail carriers 314,500
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators 115,000
Postal service clerks 74,800

The largest employers of postal service workers were as follows:

Postal service 100%

Postal service clerks and mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators work indoors, typically in a post office. Mail carriers mostly work outdoors, delivering mail in all kinds of weather. Although mail carriers face many natural hazards, such as extreme temperatures and wet or icy roads and sidewalks, the work is not especially dangerous. However, they may experience repetitive stress injuries from lifting and bending.

Work Schedules

Most postal service workers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Because mail usually is delivered 6 days a week, many postal service workers must work on Saturdays. Some also work on Sundays.

How to Become a Postal Service Worker About this section

Postal service workers
Mail carriers must receive a passing grade on a road test.

To enter these occupations, postal service workers typically need no formal educational credential. However, job candidates must pass a written exam as part of the application process. The exam covers four areas: address cross comparison, forms completion, memory and coding, and personal characteristics and experience. For more information, contact the post office or mail processing center where you want to work.

Postal service workers must meet certain employment qualifications. For example, they must be at least 18 years old, or 16 years old with a high school diploma; be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; and pass a criminal background check, a medical assessment, and a drug screening. They also may be asked to show that they can lift and handle heavy mail sacks.

Education

Although no formal educational credential is typically required to enter these occupations, most postal service workers have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Training

Newly hired postal service workers receive on-the-job training that usually lasts a few weeks. Beginning carriers may work alongside an experienced carrier.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postal service workers who operate a motor vehicle need a driver's license. In addition, mail carriers must have a safe driving record and pass a road test before driving on the job.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Postal service workers, particularly clerks, regularly interact with customers. As a result, they must be courteous and tactful and provide good client service.

Detail oriented. Postal service workers must pay attention to detail to ensure accuracy in sorting and delivering mail.

Physical stamina. Postal service workers may need to stand or walk for long periods.

Physical strength. Postal service workers must be able to lift and carry heavy mail bags and parcels.

Time-management skills. Postal service workers often need to prioritize and handle several tasks at once.

Visual ability. To have a driver’s license, postal service workers must be able to pass a state vision test.

Pay About this section

Postal Service Workers

Median annual wages, May 2022

Postal service workers

$53,680

Total, all occupations

$46,310

Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers

$44,580

 

The median annual wage for postal service workers was $53,680 in May 2022. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $71,340.

Median annual wages for postal service workers in May 2022 were as follows:

Postal service clerks $56,200
Postal service mail carriers 54,250
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators 49,130

In May 2022, the median annual wages for postal service workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Postal service $53,680

Most postal service workers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Because mail usually is delivered 6 days a week, many postal service workers must work on Saturdays. Some also work on Sundays.

Job Outlook About this section

Postal Service Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Total, all occupations

3%

Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers

-3%

Postal service workers

-8%

 

Overall employment of postal service workers is projected to decline 8 percent from 2022 to 2032.

Despite declining employment, about 34,400 openings for postal service workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

The postal service likely will need fewer workers because new mail sorting technology can read text and automatically sort, forward, and process mail. The greater use of online services to pay bills and the increased use of online communications should also reduce the need for sorting and processing workers.

Meanwhile, the amount of time carriers save on sorting letter mail and flat mail will allow them to increase the size of their routes, which should reduce the need to hire more carriers. In addition, the postal service is adopting more centralized mail delivery, such as the use of cluster mailboxes, to cut down on the number of door-to-door deliveries.

Employment projections data for postal service workers, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Postal service workers

43-5050 504,300 465,300 -8 -39,000 Get data

Postal service clerks

43-5051 74,800 69,800 -7 -5,000 Get data

Postal service mail carriers

43-5052 314,500 293,500 -7 -21,000 Get data

Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators

43-5053 115,000 102,100 -11 -13,000 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of postal service workers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2022 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Customer service representatives Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $37,780
Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area.

High school diploma or equivalent $38,220
Laborers and material movers Hand Laborers and Material Movers

Hand laborers and material movers manually move freight, stock, or other materials.

See How to Become One $34,960
Information clerks Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties, maintain records, collect data, and provide information to customers.

See How to Become One $38,710
Material recording clerks Material Recording Clerks

Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule.

High school diploma or equivalent $40,490
Metal and plastic machine workers Metal and Plastic Machine Workers

Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate equipment that cuts, shapes, and forms metal and plastic materials or pieces.

See How to Become One $41,060
Receptionists Receptionists

Receptionists do tasks such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing information about their organization to the public.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,960
Retail sales workers Retail Sales Workers

Retail sales workers help customers find products they want and process customers’ payments.

No formal educational credential $30,750
Taxi drivers shuttle drivers and chauffeurs image Taxi Drivers, Shuttle Drivers, and Chauffeurs

Taxi drivers (including ride-hailing drivers), shuttle drivers, and chauffeurs transport people to and from the places they need to go.

No formal educational credential $32,440
Tellers Tellers

Tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank.

High school diploma or equivalent $36,380
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postal Service Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/postal-service-workers.htm (visited October 23, 2023).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2023

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2022 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2022, the median annual wage for all workers was $46,310.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2022 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2022, the median annual wage for all workers was $46,310.