Professional Courier: Job Duties & Career Info

Apr 14, 2019

A professional courier or messenger picks up and delivers documents and packages utilizing a wide variety of transportation ranging from bicycles to delivery vans. Couriers are often used to send smaller packages or correspondence quickly within a limited geographical area. Read on to learn more details of this occupation.

Career Definition of a Professional Courier

Professional couriers are responsible for transporting information and materials for law firms, corporations, medical facilities, schools and others. Most couriers work within a limited geographical area with which they are very familiar. Couriers generally supply their own mode of transportation, whether that be car, moped or bicycle. In some cases, the company employing the courier will provide the vehicle, particularly if what is needed is a larger delivery van or truck.

Education High school diploma plus on-the-job training
Job Skills Physical fitness, excellent communication skills, patience, and good sense of direction
Median Salary (2018)* $28,720 (couriers and messengers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 11% job growth (couriers and messengers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A high school diploma is most often sufficient for a career as a professional courier. Many companies will train new couriers by assigning a more experienced courier to help them learn the routes of the area they are covering.

Skills Required

A certain degree of physical fitness is needed for professional couriers, particularly for those who are working by bicycle. Also, since the courier is often the most visible link between a company and its customers or between a company and its vendors, excellent communications skills are necessary. A well-developed sense of direction and the ability to stay patient during traffic jams and road construction is also needed.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the median salary for professional couriers and messengers was $28,720 in 2018. From 2016 through 2026, an 11% increase in the number of jobs for couriers and messengers is expected.

Alternate Career Options

Other careers in this field include:

Delivery Truck Driver

With a high school diploma, driver's license and on-the-job training, these workers learn to pick up, transport and deliver small shipments within local areas, using small trucks. Slower-than-average job growth of 4% was predicted by the BLS for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers during the 2016-2026 decade, and a median annual wage of $30,500 was reported in 2018.

Taxi Driver and Chauffeur

Average employment growth of 5%, from 2016-2026, was projected by the BLS for this occupation that paid a median wage of $25,980 per year in 2018. They drive customers to and from locations such as workplaces, airports and homes. Skills are learned while on the job, and some areas require a special limousine or taxi license, in addition to a driver's license.

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