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Career profile Mail Carrier

Also known as City Carrier, City Carrier Assistant (CCA), City Letter Carrier, City Mail Carrier, Letter Carrier, Mail Carrier, Rural Carrier, Rural Carrier Associate (RCA), Rural Mail Carrier, Rural Route Carrier

Mail Carrier

Also known as City Carrier, City Carrier Assistant (CCA), City Letter Carrier

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$38,060 - $66,900 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Sales and Marketing
Core tasks
  • Scan labels on letters or parcels to confirm receipt.
  • Obtain signed receipts for registered, certified, and insured mail, collect associated charges, and complete any necessary paperwork.
  • Return to the post office with mail collected from homes, businesses, and public mailboxes.
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What does a Mail Carrier do?

Mail Carriers sort and deliver mail for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

In addition, Mail Carriers

  • deliver mail on established route by vehicle or on foot,
  • includes postal service mail carriers employed by USPS contractors.

What kind of tasks does a Mail Carrier perform regularly?

Mail Carriers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Scan labels on letters or parcels to confirm receipt.
  • Obtain signed receipts for registered, certified, and insured mail, collect associated charges, and complete any necessary paperwork.
  • Return to the post office with mail collected from homes, businesses, and public mailboxes.
  • Sort mail for delivery, arranging it in delivery sequence.
  • Meet schedules for the collection and return of mail.
  • Deliver mail to residences and business establishments along specified routes by walking or driving, using a combination of satchels, carts, cars, and small trucks.
  • Sign for cash-on-delivery and registered mail before leaving the post office.
  • Hold mail for customers who are away from delivery locations.
  • Turn in money and receipts collected along mail routes.
  • Leave notices telling patrons where to collect mail that could not be delivered.
  • Maintain accurate records of deliveries.
  • Bundle mail in preparation for delivery or transportation to relay boxes.
  • Record address changes and redirect mail for those addresses.
  • Return incorrectly addressed mail to senders.
  • Answer customers' questions about postal services and regulations.
  • Provide customers with change of address cards and other forms.
  • Report any unusual circumstances concerning mail delivery, including the condition of street letter boxes.

The above responsibilities are specific to Mail Carriers. More generally, Mail Carriers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

What is a Mail Carrier salary?

The median salary for a Mail Carrier is $51,080, and the average salary is $53,180. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Mail Carrier salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Mail Carriers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Mail Carriers earn less than $38,060 per year, 25% earn less than $38,620, 75% earn less than $65,030, and 90% earn less than $66,900.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Mail Carriers is expected to change by -7.7%, and there should be roughly 19,100 open positions for Mail Carriers every year.

Median annual salary
$51,080
Typical salary range
$38,060 - $66,900
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-7.7%

What personality traits are common among Mail Carriers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Mail Carrier are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Mail Carriers typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Mail Carriers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Mail Carrier tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Mail Carriers moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Mail Carriers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Mail Carriers moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Mail Carriers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Mail Carriers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Mail Carriers need?

Working as a Mail Carrier usually requires a high school diploma.

Mail Carriers need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Mail Carriers

  • 2.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 34.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 35.5% completed some college coursework
  • 11.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Mail Carriers

Mail Carriers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or sales and marketing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Mail Carriers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Mail Carriers

Mail Carriers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Mail Carriers need abilities such as near vision, information ordering, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Mail Carriers, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Category Flexibility
The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Critical Skills needed by Mail Carriers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Mail Carriers frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Mail Carriers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.