Everything you need to know about USPS careers
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an essential public service.
Every day at USPS is a busy one. In an average hour, 17 million mail pieces are processed, which equals 4922 every second.
The postal service employs more than 500,000 people, and the USPS is always looking for more team members. There is a range of career opportunities available now.
USPS could be the company for you. To help you decide, we've put together the following guide.
We'll cover everything from the types of jobs that are available to the application process.
You can also visit our “working with USPS” section for more information.
Ready to learn more about USPS careers? Let's get started.
What is USPS?
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency run by the US federal government.
In 1971, the United States Congress founded the USPS. Today, it provides a range of postal services throughout the country. There are 34,000 retail locations, and the USPS delivers 48% of the world's mail.
Each day, the USPS processes and delivers more than 425 million mail pieces. Due to the high volume of parcels, it can be a busy work environment.
The agency relies on technology to provide safe and efficient postage options. There are currently 125,630 phone lines and 443,701 handheld scanners in the network.
The USPS relies on a diverse team of workers, including delivery drivers, post office clerks, and mail processing clerks — and of course, management and corporate jobs.
There are flexible roles available, as well as casual positions and full-time and part-time opportunities.
What types of jobs are available at USPS?
There is a range of career opportunities available at USPS. If you're looking for a new role, here are some of the top job types:
1. Motor vehicle operator
The US Postal Service has a network of delivery drivers. You can be employed as a city or rural carrier.
One job position is called the motor vehicle operator. These workers drive a mail truck and have a scheduled route.
They pick up and deliver mail in bulk. Motor vehicle operators check each mailing address and make sure packages are left at the right destination.
The job can involve some heavy lifting. Motor vehicle operators need a valid driver's license and should have a safe driving history.
These delivery drivers need to have good attention to detail, manual dexterity, and organizational skills. They also need excellent communication skills.
The average motor vehicle operator wage is $22.23 per hour.
2. Mail processing clerk
Mail processing clerks sort and process mail using both manual and automatic methods. They check the machinery before use and make sure it's working correctly.
These team members can deal with customers from behind a plastic screen. While they don't accept payments, they answer questions and follow up on missing packages.
The role can involve heavy lifting, and most of the shift will be spent standing. Mail processing clerks need to be organized with manual dexterity.
To be successful, you'll need problem-solving skills, self-motivation, and a positive attitude. You'll need to be a team player and be confident working under pressure.
Mail processing clerks need multitasking skills and excellent customer service skills.
The average wage for a USPS mail processing clerk is $17.95 per hour.
3. Automotive technician
USPS automotive technicians work in maintenance operations. Their job is to repair and maintain the fleet of motor vehicles.
They make sure all delivery vehicles are safe. They perform regular maintenance checks and repairs as necessary.
Automotive technicians use a range of tools to troubleshoot mechanical and electrical issues. If there's a problem with a vehicle on the road, the technician may be called for assistance.
These USPS workers need technical skills and should know how to repair vehicles.
If you want to do this job, you'll need experience (or training) in motor vehicle repair, as well as good communication and problem-solving skills.
The average wage for a qualified automotive technician at USPS is $28.97 per hour.
4. Distribution associate
Distribution associates work in customer support. They’re employed in post offices and spend most of their time behind the counter.
They greet customers, answer questions, and share information about the latest promotions. Distribution associates process cash and credit card payments.
They also handle complaints and process refunds. These postal workers help customers order passports and keep the shopfront clean and tidy.
You'll need excellent customer service skills if you want to apply for this position. You should enjoy working with others and be comfortable standing on your feet.
It can be a fast-paced environment, and distribution associates need to be organized and have good communication skills.
The average wage for a distribution associate is $18.19 per hour.
5. Mail handler assistant
Mail handler assistants are responsible for loading and unloading mail trucks. They take mail and parcels and get them ready for processing.
They sort items and prepare them for distribution.
Mail handler assistants need to use a range of mail processing equipment and machinery. They weigh parcels and check for signs of damage.
You'll need manual dexterity and physical fitness to work in this role. The position can require lifting and long hours spent on your feet.
Mail handler assistants need to be detail-oriented, self-motivated, and organized. It's a team environment, so these workers should be reliable.
The average wage for a mail handler assistant is $17.59 per hour. If it's an entry-level position, it's around $16.60 per hour.
What do you need to work at USPS?
The hiring requirements can depend on the job type and your location. However, for most USPS positions, the minimum age is 18 years old.
In some circumstances, this can be 16 years old, but you'll need a high school diploma.
Many of the jobs are entry-level, and the company offers training for new employees. Some corporate or leadership roles may require a certification or a college degree.
You'll need a valid driver's license if you want to work as a mail carrier. Most positions require some heavy lifting.
USPS is a fast-paced company, and tasks can be repetitive. Employees need to be motivated, patient, and reliable.
Hiring managers also look for good communication, computer skills, teamwork, and neatness. If it's a post office job, you'll need customer service skills and math skills.
If you have retail, sales, or administration experience, it can be an advantage.
How much can you make at USPS?
We've already given you a few salary examples in our top jobs list. However, there are many more career positions to consider.
USPS is an equal opportunity employer, and the salary is competitive. Here are a few more salary examples.
Want to work as a mailroom clerk? The wage range for these clerk positions is between $14.00 and $26.00 per hour. For a custodian janitor, it's between $12.00 and $23.00 an hour, and for a front desk clerk, it's between $12.00 and $25.00.
For those who want a position in transport, there are heavy trailer and truck driver roles. The wage ranges from $18.00 to $30.00 per hour.
You'll need experience to work as an electronics technician, but these workers can make up to $42.00 an hour.
If you prefer, you can apply for a customer service sales associate position. The wages for this role are between $12.00 and $34.00 per hour.
How to fill out a USPS application
If you want to apply for a role, your first stop should be the USPS website.
You can browse for jobs by keyword, location, and functional area. For example, your search term could be “clerk,” "associate,” “mail handler,” or “management.”
In the location section, you'll need to select your preferred state.
Once you've narrowed down your search, you can read the job post. You'll learn about the minimum education requirements and the types of duties you'll be expected to do.
Next, you'll need to set up a candidate profile. You'll need to include your first name, last name, email, and a password to sign up.
Make sure your details are correct because you'll get a confirmation email and other updates sent to your email address.
You'll need to provide a summary of accomplishments and work history. Include anything that's relevant to the position. USPS will use this information to decide whether you'd be a good fit for the company. If you have a resume, you can upload it to support your application.
For some job types, there's a pre-screening assessment. This test can be done online and needs to be completed within three days.
The entire application process and assessment are free. You can apply for as many positions as you like at one time. If you miss out on one role, you can apply for another.
It's important to complete your application as soon as possible. However, your progress will be saved so you can take a break and come back to it.
You should use a computer for your USPS job application. The service may not work correctly on a mobile device.
Does USPS do a background check?
Yes. Before you can work at USPS, you'll need to pass a background check. This check will be near the end of the hiring process and will be a condition of your employment.
USPS will need your permission before they can do the background check. If you say no or take too long to respond, you may automatically be disqualified from the application process.
The background check will look at your history and include a local criminal record check. If the role you're applying for is a driving position, the background check will also look at your driving record.
It's important to be honest in your application and resume because the check can verify your employment and education details.
USPS does this check to protect its employees and customers.
An issue on your background report isn't always a deal breaker. If you've taken steps to rehabilitate or a significant amount of time has passed, you may still get the job.
Additionally, you'll need a negative drug test result if you want to work at USPS.
What does the USPS pre-hire list mean?
The USPS application process can take time. Before you get hired, there are a few steps to get through.
When you fill out your application, you’ll be asked to take a Virtual Entry Assessment (VEA). If you pass this test, you'll be marked as “eligible.” You may then be put on the USPS Pre-Hire list.
If you don't pass, your status will be marked as “ineligible,” and you won't be able to continue your application.
Once you make the pre-hire list, you'll be ready for the next steps. The application process for each job type can be slightly different. For example, you may be invited to an interview, be asked to take more tests, or have a background check.
If you want to learn more about the pre-hire list, we've put together a quick guide. You can read all the details in our USPS pre-hire list article.
What are the most common USPS employee benefits?
If you're eligible, you'll get a range of USPS employee benefits. Full-time team members will get more perks than part-time ones.
One of the top benefits is health insurance. Under the plan, you and your dependents will be covered for a range of medical expenses. These expenses include emergency and preventative services and treatments.
Dental and vision insurance is included, and there's reduced-cost prescription drug coverage. You can also opt into a flexible spending account to protect you against unexpected medical expenses.
There's also a retirement pension and disability insurance, which ensures you’re taken care of in the future, no matter what happens.
You can also get vacation and sick leave. These PTO benefits vary depending on your years of service.
For example, if you're a full-time employee who's been working for less than 3 years, you'll get 13 days of annual leave per year.
Alternatively, if you've been there between 3 and 15 years, you'll get 20 days off per year.
USPS offers a generous salary, but it doesn't end there because, over time, you'll get wage increases. You can make extra for overtime, night shifts, and Sundays.
If you want the full rundown of these employee perks, read our comprehensive USPS benefits guide.
Tips for your USPS resume
During the online application process, there's the option to upload a resume. We recommend completing this step to give the hiring manager more information about your skills and experience.
If you have any experience in retail, sales, or delivery, make sure you highlight this in your resume. Try to keep your resume on one page, and list your most recent work experience first.
Focus on transferable skills, such as teamwork, computer skills, customer service, and technical skills.
Read over your resume to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. You should also check your contact details to make sure they're up to date.
Did you know you can create a free, professional resume using our resume builder?
What are common USPS interview questions?
There's an interview process for most USPS positions. If you make it to this stage, you may be wondering what to expect.
Here's a list of some of the most common USPS interview questions.
Why do you want to work for USPS?
Tell us about a time when you had to work under pressure.
What is your availability?
What does good customer service mean to you?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
How would you deal with a customer who is visibly upset?
How do you stay organized on a busy day?
Are you available to work overtime?
Tell us about your experience.
What is your biggest strength?
What is your biggest weakness?
You can also check out this list of interview questions and answers. When you practice these at home before the day of your interview, you'll have a better chance of success.
Where to get a USPS job
There are exciting career opportunities available at USPS right now. Whether you want to work at a post office, in mail processing, delivery, or customer support services, check out USPS.
When you're ready to start your job search, head over to our job board. You can browse USPS positions in your area on our job board.
Alternatively, there's a careers section on the USPS website. You'll get more information about each position and will be able to start your application.
Starting your USPS career
USPS can be a great place to work. The employer has a range of short-term and long-term opportunities across the US.
Some of the most popular jobs include motor vehicle operators, mail processing clerks, automotive technicians, distribution associates, and mail handler assistants.
If you want to work at USPS, you’ll usually need to be 18 or older. There are some exceptions for those who are 16 years old but have a high school diploma.
In this article, you learned about the most desirable USPS skills, and we shared insights into the application process and background check.
Plus, we gave you a list of common interview questions.
If you’re looking for a new job, head over to our job board. You can also find more articles like this one in our resource center.
The culture at this place is insanity. Your coworkers are disgruntled and unfilled in life and will take it out on everyone, especially those in the lowest seniority because they know you won't know how to play the system like them. Management will constantly affirm to you daily that you are worthless. You will face harassment of all kinds from every direction and be expected to smile, laugh and act like you agree and\or like it. The union exists, that's about it. They will actively try to keep you from filing against any kind of harassment so they don't have to do the work to defend you. However, if you work there, it is a necessity as Management will attempt to force you out for anything they can. You can; not show up, harass, scream at and even fight your fellow co workers, but anyone that attempts to call out management or the way things work will be attacked relentlessly, removed from the building and put on unpaid leave for an unknown amount of time. "Going Postal" was coined there for a reason, but hey, they have a pension!
How much do they check out your educational background? It’s been over 30 years since I’ve been school.