According to the Strong Interest Inventory® Test, Postal Service Mail Carriers are included in the Conventional Theme Code category of careers. The Strong Interest Inventory® has been revised and refined since its inception in 1927. The Strong Interest Inventory® not only analyzes individuals’ workplace preferences and personal interests, but also applies that analysis to help them find a career which they will find fulfilling. Individuals with a proclivity for the Conventional Theme Code generally enjoy positions with high levels of organization and attention to detail. They also prefer structured workplace environments, and thrive in spaces where they have opportunities to complete specific tasks with maximum efficiency.
Postal Service Mail Carriers handle all aspects of mail processing and delivery. They sort mail for delivery and arrange it in the proper sequence to maximize efficiency. Then, they deliver all packages, letters, and other items to residential and business establishments along assigned routes on foot or via various means of transportation, including cars or bicycles. They also scan labels or obtain signatures to confirm delivery and receipt, especially of registered, insured, or certified mail. After their route, they deliver any mail that they collect to the post office for distribution, whether the mail is obtained from personal, professional, or public mailboxes. All the while, Mail Carriers need to meet set schedules for mail collection and return. If any patrons are out of town or otherwise away from the delivery locations, they may need to hold their mail and leave a notice informing them of the proper pick-up place for their letters and packages. In some cases, letters and packages may need to be labeled for address changes or mail forwarding as well. For this reason, they need to maintain accurate records of completed and open deliveries.
Some Postal Service Mail Carriers may deal directly with customers. These individuals handle customers’ questions and resolve any issues or complaints they may have. This may also include reporting unusual circumstances, or informing them of any issues which may result in a delay of mail services. Those who engage in customer contact also frequently sell stamps, stationary, and money orders, and may even assist with passport operations.
Mail Carriers use many kinds of tools and technologies, including barcode scanners, handheld data input devices, storage materials and platforms. While their technology use is not particularly sophisticated, they need to be able to learn to use an address management system as well as electronic time clocks and delivery routing software. Comfort and familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, including Outlook, Excel, and Word, as well as Microsoft Windows is also very helpful.
To be successful, Mail Carriers need to have information ordering skills and the ability to arrange things or actions according to a certain set of rules, including patterns of numbers, words, letters, pictures, or other factors. They also need to be able to lift moderately heavy loads, and have a fair degree of hand-arm steadiness and dexterity. Because Mail Carriers do not require specialized knowledge, almost 93% of Mail Carriers hold a high school diploma or less. The remaining 7% may have taken some college or vocational courses.
The rate of employment of Postal Service Mail Carriers nation-wide is expected to decline slowly before 2024. That said, in fast-growing states such as Utah and Texas the growth rate is projected to be over 10% — much faster than the nationwide average. However, the actual employment numbers are still relatively low, with even Texas, one of the largest states in the union, only projected to add 2,000 new jobs as postal service Mail Carriers before 2024. A Postal Service Mail Carrier’s salary is typically under $60,000 annually, but Postal Service Mail Carriers’ salaries in lower-cost states or at the lower levels of management can be under $50,000.
Below are some employment trends for Postal Service Mail Carriers:
- Median Postal Service Mail Carrier Salary: $28.02 hourly; $58,280 annually
- Employment: 297,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Decline (-2% or lower)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 57,400
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org