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Postmaster: Job Description & Career Requirements

Learn what a postmaster's responsibilities are. See how to become one, and learn about the job prospects and earning potential to decide if this career field is right for you.

Career Definition for a Postmaster

A postmaster oversees and leads all aspects of the operation of a United States Post Office. The specific duties include operations, administration, management and support tasks. Postmasters train postal employees; handle customer transactions like selling postage or money orders or collecting post office box rent; supervise mail processing; and explain post office regulations to customers.

Education Completion of U.S. Postal Service Career Management Program, advanced degree in related field recommended
Job Skills Problem solving, communication, negotiation, mediation, critical thinking, organization, management
Median Salary (2015)* $70,640 (for postmasters and mail superintendents)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* -26% (for postmasters and mail superintendents)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A person who aspires to become a U.S. postmaster should plan on participating in the 'Career Management Program' offered by the U.S. Postal Service. Since 1971, the postmaster has been selected on the merit system.

The most important coursework for a U.S. postmaster is that which will provide knowledge of principles and best methods in organizational design, implementation, and operation. An advanced degree program in public administration, business management or a related discipline teaches allocation of resources, human resource modeling, and techniques of leadership. In practice, many postmaster positions are earned through experience and advanced training while on the job.

Skills Required

Some of the skills needed to carry out a career as a U.S. postmaster include the ability to identify and solve problems, communicate effectively, carry out negotiation and mediation tasks, and perform critical thinking processes. The U.S postmaster must be able to envision a course of action and implement the steps necessary to achieve a successful result.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a rapid decline of 26% for postmaster and mail superintendent positions between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The U.S. Postal Service is expected to close several post offices and discontinue postal services previously offered, such as Saturday delivery service. The BLS reported that a postmaster made a median salary of $70,640 as of May 2015, though wages varied based on location.

Alternate Career Options

Some skills necessary to become a postmaster will help prepare you for careers in other areas.

First-Line Supervisor of Office and Administrative Support Workers

A person in this occupation provides leadership for customer service representatives, administrative assistants or other office workers. First-line supervisors oversee workflow, ensure deadlines are met, and monitor standards of quality and production. They may train new hires, implement company policies or procedures, and evaluate staff. Employers usually seek candidates with at least a high school diploma and relevant work experience. The BLS predicts that first-line supervisors will see 8% job growth from 2014-2024. This job paid a median salary of $52,630 in 2015, per the BLS.

General and Operations Manager

A general and operations manager typically oversees and directs all aspects of a company or organization's business, such as production, financial, organizational, sales or human resources activities and performance. This is a broad and varied career field, so education and experience requirements also vary; in 2015, O*NET OnLine reported that of respondents to their survey, roughly one-fifth replied that they had some college, and slightly under one-third had a bachelor's degree. BLS reported that the number of jobs for general and operations managers is expected to grow 7% from 2014-2024; the median salary in 2015 was $97,730.

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