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Mail Clerk: Career Information & Requirements

Mail clerks are employed by government or public shipment services. They process and prepare packages and letters for shipment by ensuring proper markings, payment and weight. Read on for more information about the work of a mail clerk.

Career Definition for a Mail Clerk

Mail clerks wrap and weigh packages and letters for shipment according to the U.S. Postal Service and private standards set by shipment companies. They sell stamps and shipment insurance and help customers file claim reports for missing packages and letters.

Education High school diploma and on-the-job training
Job Skills Knowledge of shipping policies and shipment requirements; good customer service skills
Median Salary (2018)* $55,280 (for postal service clerks)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 12% decline (for postal service clerks)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

There are no post-secondary educational requirements for a mail clerk, but a high school diploma is necessary, and training is acquired on the job. Applicants must also pass a test which measures reading speed and accuracy. Applicants with the highest scores generally have the first shot at any positions that open up; the U.S. Postal Service keeps test results for two years and considers applicants in the order of their scores. Candidates must be able to pass a drug test and lift up to 70 pounds.

Required Skills

Mail clerks are on their feet all day as they answer questions from customers and process daily sales. In small facilities, they are often asked to sort mail. Excellent communication and customer service skills are needed to be a mail clerk, as well as knowledge of federal and international shipping policies and shipment requirements.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for postal service clerks are expected to decline by 12% over the decade spanning 2016 to 2026; there will be more applicants than openings, and the competition for these positions will be high. Median annual earnings of postal service clerks were $55,280 in 2018, according to the BLS.

Alternative Careers

Career options in similar fields include:

General Office Clerk

For those who may not want to deal with the postal service requirements and exams, becoming a general office clerk is an option. Office clerks perform many office duties, such as scheduling meetings and appointments, delivering mail and supplies, filing paperwork, answering telephones and running errands. Education beyond high school is not required to gain employment, and most training occurs on the job. According to the BLS, jobs for general office clerks will decrease by 1% between 2016 and 2026. In 2018, the BLS reported that these clerks received a median salary of $32,730.

Courier

If delivering packages and documents to businesses, facilities and government agencies sounds interesting, a career as a courier should be considered. These professionals sign for packages, secure them for transport, drive to locations, collect delivery signatures and keep accurate records of these activities. A high school diploma and driver's license are all that is usually necessary for employment, although some may find a job without graduating from high school, and some deliveries may occur on bicycle. The BLS predicts an 11% increase in job opportunities for couriers and messengers between 2016 and 2026. The median salary of these workers in 2018 was $28,720, as stated by the BLS.


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