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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

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.

Become a Postmaster

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 a 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

O*NET OnLine, which offers statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), showed that postmaster positions are expected to decline rapidly between 2012 and 2022 at a rate of 3% or higher (www.onetonline.org). 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 $63,050 as of May 2012, though wages varied based on location.

Alternate Career Options

First-Line Supervisor of Office and Administrative Support Workers

A person in this occupation provides leadership fors 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 12% job growth from 2012-2022. This job paid a median salary of $49,330 in 2012, 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 2011, O*NET OnLine reported that of respondents to their survey, roughly one-third replied that they had some college, one-third had an associate's degree, and one-third had a bachelor's degree. O*NET OnLine also reported that the number of jobs for general and operations managers are expected to grow 8%-14% from 2012-2022; the median salary in 2012 was $95,440.

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