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Career profile Mail Processor

Also known as Automation Clerk, Computer Forwarding System Markup Clerk (CFS Markup Clerk), Distribution Clerk, Flat Sorting Machine Clerk (FSM Clerk), Mail Handler, Mail Handler Equipment Operator, Mail Processing Clerk, Mail Processor, Parcel Post Distribution Machine Operator (PDPMO), Small Package and Bundle Sorter Clerk (SPBS Clerk)

Mail Processor

Also known as Automation Clerk, Computer Forwarding System Markup Clerk (CFS Markup Clerk), Distribution Clerk

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$34,440 - $63,000 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Monitoring
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administrative
Core tasks
  • Direct items according to established routing schemes, using computer-controlled keyboards or voice-recognition equipment.
  • Clear jams in sorting equipment.
  • Check items to ensure that addresses are legible and correct, that sufficient postage has been paid or the appropriate documentation is attached, and that items are in a suitable condition for processing.
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What does a Mail Processor do?

Mail Processors prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

In addition, Mail Processors

  • examine, sort, and route mail,
  • load, operate, and occasionally adjust and repair mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery,
  • keep records of shipments, pouches, and sacks, and perform other duties related to mail handling within the postal service,
  • includes postal service mail sorters and processors employed by USPS contractors.

What kind of tasks does a Mail Processor perform regularly?

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

  • Clear jams in sorting equipment.
  • Operate various types of equipment, such as computer scanning equipment, addressographs, mimeographs, optical character readers, and bar-code sorters.
  • Sort odd-sized mail by hand, sort mail that other workers have been unable to sort, and segregate items requiring special handling.

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

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.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What is a Mail Processor salary?

The median salary for a Mail Processor is $53,140, and the average salary is $51,440. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Mail Processor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Mail Processors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Mail Processors earn less than $34,440 per year, 25% earn less than $37,770, 75% earn less than $62,980, and 90% earn less than $63,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Mail Processors is expected to change by -12.2%, and there should be roughly 7,000 open positions for Mail Processors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$34,440 - $63,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Mail Processors?


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 Processor are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Mail Processors 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 Processors typically have moderate 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.


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 Processor tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

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

Second, Mail Processors 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 Processors somewhat 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 Processors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, attention to detail, and dependability.

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

Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
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 Processors need?

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

Mail Processors 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 Processors

  • 4.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 30.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 34.7% completed some college coursework
  • 13.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Mail Processors

Mail Processors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, customer and personal service, or administrative knowledge.

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

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
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.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

Important Abilities needed by Mail Processors

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

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
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).
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 Processors

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 Processors frequently use skills like monitoring, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Mail Processors, ranked by their relative importance.

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
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.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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.