Becoming a Postmaster
So you think you might like to become a postmaster? Postmasters are responsible for managing the daily operations of a United States post office. They hire, train, and supervise postal employees as well as enforce postal regulations, oversee customer service, handle administrative tasks, and manage mail distribution. Postmasters also resolve complaints and inform the public of postal regulations. All postal service workers must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and pass a written exam. Those who aspire to the position of postmaster will have significant post office experience.
|Education Requirements||High school diploma or equivalent; associate's or bachelor's|
|Field||Public administration, communication, business-related field|
|Key Skills||Customer service, critical-thinking, management, coordination, physical stamina, and technical skills|
|Median Salary (2019)*||$76,900 annually (for postmasters and mail superintendents)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
So, what are the career requirements? Starting with the right education is important. All postal workers will have a high school diploma or an equivalent. Many will also pursue an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. The degree field should be something like public administration, communication, or a business-related field. To secure a postmaster position, one to five years of experience is required. Key skills are customer service, critical-thinking, management, coordination, physical stamina, and technical skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for postmasters and mail superintendents is $76,900 as of May 2019.
Step 1: Meet Educational Requirements
According to the U.S. Postal Service, postmasters must have a high school diploma or equivalent. A college degree isn't required; however, an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in public administration, communication, business, or a related field may improve an individual's qualifications to become a postmaster. Those without postsecondary education can gain skills through on-the-job training programs.
Here's a tip for success:
- Pursue internships or apprenticeships: Individuals considering a career in the postal service may choose to seek out ways in which they can gain insight into the field. Opportunities for job shadowing, mentorship, and volunteer work at a postal facility may be available.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Experience and familiarity with the postal system are vital for postmasters, and most post offices tend to hire supervisors from within. Therefore, aspiring postmasters should begin by looking for lower-level jobs at the post office. To begin a career with the U.S. Postal Service, individuals must be at least 18 years old. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident-alien status. Additional requirements include English fluency, a safe driving record, a criminal background check, a drug test, employment history, and a medical assessment. Applicants will take a written examination as part of the application process. A typical career trajectory may include entering the field as a mail carrier or clerk and advancing to managerial positions and then earning a postmaster position.
Here are some tips for success:
- Follow a fitness routine: Aspiring postmasters may enter the field as mail carriers. Stamina and physical strength are important to mail carriers as they may carry heavy mailbags and parcels. Maintaining good physical health may also help prevent injury on the job.
- Develop strong customer service and interpersonal skills: Postmasters must manage postal employees, as well as customer issues. Working in an entry-level position as a mail carrier or clerk allows an individual to sharpen these skills as they work with customers and fellow employees on a daily basis.
Step 3: Complete Advanced Postal Service Training
Advanced training may be beneficial to individuals who wish to become a postmaster. The U.S. Postal Service provides employees with in-house training and access to career development programs. Two advanced training programs, the Managerial Leadership Program and the Advanced Leadership Program, are designed to prepare individuals for careers in administration and management. Educational coursework blends classroom instruction with on-the-job assignments. Depending on which training program an aspiring postmaster chooses to pursue, the curriculum may take 3-9 months to complete.
Meeting educational requirements, gaining work experience, and completing advanced postal service training are great steps to follow to make the most of a career as a postmaster.