How to Become a Postal Worker

Postal Worker Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $53,700
Avg. Pay / hour $25.82
Education 0-6 Months
Job Outlook -12%

Postal Workers are professionals who work for the federal government managing and delivering a variety of packages and mail.

There are a variety of positions a professional can specialize while working as a Postal Worker.

Some Postal Workers may work in a postal facility helping sort mail and packages; others may directly help clients find the best service to use to deliver packages while others will deliver mail and packages directly to clients’ homes and businesses.

An entry level professional will require at least a year to secure a position as a Postal Worker.

Continue reading below to learn the education requirements, a general job description, salary and wage information and the future job outlook for this profession.

Education Requirements to Become a Postal Worker

Candidates who want to become a Postal Worker do not have to fulfill specific education requirements.

However, candidates are expected to have a high school diploma, be at least 18 years old, have a command of or fluent in English, be a citizen or resident of the United States and, if male, have registered with the Armed Services at the age of 18.

If you have all the previously listed requirements, the first step to complete in order to become a Postal Worker is taking an exam administered by the Postal Office.

Once taken and passed, a candidate may have to wait up to one or two years before getting hired.

This long wait is attributed to the fact that there are a large number of candidates who want to become a Postal Worker.

The examination candidates are required to take includes testing the skill of verifying names and numbers in a limited amount of time.

Candidates will also be tested on their ability to memorize procedures that the post office using to distribute mail.

After passing the exam, candidates must pass a variety of other tests.

These tests include passing a criminal background, a drug test and a physical exam.

Candidates may also be asked to show that they are able to lift at least 70 pounds of weight.

Candidates who are pursuing a job opening that requires driving will need to have a clean driving record and be able to pass a road test possibly administered by the post office.

Postal Worker Job Description

Postal Workers may work as mail carriers or work within a postal facility.

Mail Carriers are responsible for delivering postcards, letters and packages to residences and business locations.

A Mail Carrier may be stationed within a certain route in rural, suburban or rural areas.

These professionals begin their day by organizing deliveries according to their route.

Automated machinery has already sorted mail by this time; they will need to organize the mail in their delivery vehicle and then drive to their designated route.

They will then deliver mail and packages within their route by foot or driving, most often using a combination of both methods.

Mail Carriers deliver in several types of conditions and weather because they spend a significant amount of time working outdoors.

In addition, Postal Workers are required to start their shifts early, some preparing for work as early as 4 a.m.

Postal Workers stationed in a facility will oversee the sorting of mail and packages.

In addition, they will provide a variety of services for clients including the acceptance and suggesting delivery methods for packages and mail.

Postal Worker Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual median wage for Postal Workers was approximately $49,800 in 2008.

The salary range for these professionals during that same year was approximately $37,400 to $52,400.

In addition, Postal Workers receive benefits similar to what Federal Government workers receive.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the job outlook for Postal Workers is expected to remain the same with little or no change through the year 2018.

The BLS is expecting a minimal decline of 1 percent.

However, competition is stiff for professionals trying to become a Postal Worker.

This competition is a result of the large quantity of applicants attempting to secure a limited amount of openings.

Candidates may have to search for openings in geographical locations that are experiencing growth.

Growing neighborhoods are creating employment opportunities for professionals interested in working in this field.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$55,520
New Hampshire$54,030
New Jersey$54,880
New Mexico$52,630
New York$54,690
North Carolina$54,520
North Dakota$53,450
Rhode Island$53,670
South Carolina$53,540
South Dakota$54,340
West Virginia$52,900
Puerto Rico$51,890
Virgin Islands$57,850

The top earning state in the field is Virgin Islands, where the average salary is $57,850.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Virgin Islands - $57,850
California - $55,900
District of Columbia - $55,520
Massachusetts - $55,270
Arizona - $55,150
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Postal Service Mail Carriers, OCC Code 43-5052, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a postal worker do?

A postal worker includes such positions as mail carriers, clerks and mail sorters, processing machine operators, and processors.

Postal workers are the people who sort, collect, and deliver mail, as well as sell various postal products.

The majority of postal workers work for the postal office full-time; however, during the holiday season, overtime may be required.

The typical duties of a postal worker usually include sorting incoming parcels and letters; collecting parcels and letters; getting customer signature for different kinds of mail; selling postal products to customers; distributing incoming mail from trucks; operating a wide range of postal equipment, and so on.

Postal workers are usually classified based on the type of work that they perform.

Mail carriers, for example, mainly deliver, while postal service clerks are responsible for selling various products in the post office.

How much do postal workers make?

On average, a postal worker can make a little more than $44.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $29.000 and $68.500 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location and so on.

The postal workers that work in the District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, and California, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level postal worker can earn $14 per hour, while a specialist with plenty of experience will make $33 and more.

How much does it cost to become a postal worker?

There are practically no education requirements to become a postal worker.

In most cases, you should have a high school diploma; the ability to speak and understand English well is a must.

If you want to become a mail carrier, you will be asked to lift and handle a few heavy sacks.

You will be provided on-job training for free, so, all-in-all, you wouldn’t have to spend anything to become a postal worker.

What is the demand for postal workers?

Between 2016 and 2026, the postal worker job market is expected to shrink by 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That certainly is slower than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

The career path will be providing poor employment opportunities in the near future as a lot of duties of a postal worker can be carried out by a computer.

The industry is mainly concentrated in California, New York, and Texas.

How long does it take to become a postal worker?

You can become a postal worker as soon as you get your high school diploma.

Some post offices can hire 16-year-olds; however, in most cases, 18 is the minimum age.

You might need a valid driver’s license.

Aspiring postal workers would need to complete a written exam; it includes form completion, memory and coding, and cross-comparison tasks.

To find out when the exam will be given, you should contact your mail processing center or post office.

The on-the-job training is typically very short and can last for a few days.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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