All You Need To Know About A Mail Carrier Career

You consider becoming a mail carrier but are not entirely sure whether this career will be right for you or not?

Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you everything you need to know about being a mailman in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much mail carriers are able to make, but we will also talk about working hours, work-life balance, job satisfaction, duties, future outlook, educational requirements and much more.

You will also find an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about working as a mail carrier for you.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a mail carrier or if you rather want to work in a different job instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Mail Carrier do?

Mail carriers deliver letters or parcels to customers.

They make sure that our postal system works properly so that we can receive messages in physical form in a rather short period of time and can respond to those messages accordingly.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Mail Carrier

  • Delivering letters
  • Delivering parcels
  • Making sure that letters and parcels are delivered in time
  • Checking if postage has been paid properly
  • Delivery to businesses as well as to private households
  • Collecting money for postage due
  • Selling stamps
  • Getting signatures for registered or insured mail
  • Sorting mail
  • Collecting outgoing letters, parcels and documents
  • Carrying out urgent deliveries
  • Complying with rules and regulations related to postal service

What a Typical Day of a Mail Carrier looks like?

Mail carriers usually start their workday between 6 and 8 a.m.

After getting to the main mail distribution center, they get their delivery plan for the day and also load their delivery vehicles.

After that, they get to their actual work and deliver letters or parcels all day long.

They will sometimes also sell stamps and collect money for postage due.

After doing this sort of work for many hours, postmen usually finish their workday between 3 and 5 p.m.

Mail Carrier Salary 2021

Mail Carrier salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $52,000> $25.94
Top 25 %$43,000 – $48,000$21.47 – $23.89
Bottom 25 %$32,000 – $35,000$15.93 – $17.41
Bottom 10 %$26,000 – $29,000$12.96 – $14.45
Range$26,000 – $57,000$12.96 – $28.39
Average (Mean)$39,000$19.48
Median$38,000$18.93

Mail Carrier salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$26,000 – $34,000$12.96 – $16.88
Junior$32,000 – $38,000$15.93 – $18.95
Professional$35,000 – $42,000$17.42 – $20.89
Senior Professional$40,000 – $47,000$19.94 – $23.45
Expert$44,000 – $51,000$21.97 – $25.46
Top Expert$49,000 – $57,000$24.39 – $28.48

Mail Carrier salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$38,200$19.08
Alaska$37,500$18.73
Arizona$39,600$19.78
Arkansas$40,200$20.07
California$46,800$23.39
Colorado$41,400$20.68
Connecticut$39,600$19.79
Delaware$40,700$20.34
District of Columbia$41,500$20.72
Florida$43,100$21.53
Georgia$38,300$19.14
Guam$37,600$18.79
Hawaii$41,800$20.88
Idaho$38,900$19.41
Illinois$40,700$20.33
Indiana$39,600$19.78
Iowa$37,500$18.71
Kansas$38,700$19.34
Kentucky$39,800$19.89
Louisiana$41,200$20.53
Maine$42,400$21.18
Maryland$41,800$20.87
Massachusetts$43,300$21.63
Michigan$40,100$20.42
Minnesota$38,800$19.38
Mississippi$37,900$18.93
Missouri$36,200$18.09
Montana$39,400$19.68
Nebraska$39,300$19.63
Nevada$38,500$19.22
New Hampshire$41,800$20.89
New Jersey$42,600$21.27
New Mexico$37,900$18.93
New York$48,100$24.04
North Carolina$40,500$20.23
North Dakota$39,600$19.78
Ohio$38,400$19.18
Oklahoma$41,200$20.53
Oregon$42,700$21.33
Pennsylvania$41,900$20.94
Rhode Island$41,400$20.68
South Carolina$39,700$19.82
South Dakota$38,600$19.27
Tennessee$40,400$20.19
Texas$39,200$19.58
Utah$38,500$19.23
Vermont$38,100$19.04
Virginia$39,600$19.77
Washington$44,800$22.38
West Virginia$41,300$20.64
Wisconsin$39,200$19.58
Wyoming$38,700$19.32

Job Security of Mail Carriers

Postmen have pretty poor job security since they are easily replaceable.

In fact, there are no high educational barriers to entry to work in this field and almost everyone can do this job.

Consequently, competition is fierce and you may lose your job from one day to the other.

Future Outlook of Mail Carriers

While some mailmen will still be needed in the future, part of the work will be carried out by machines and this means that many jobs in this industry will be lost.

Consequently, also future outlook for mail carriers is rather poor and you will not be able to enjoy high levels of job security as in many other jobs.

Working Hours of Mail Carriers

Most postal workers start their workday between 6 and 8 a.m. and finish their workday between 3 and 5 p.m.

Hence, you will come home from work relatively early and will have more than enough time for your family or to meet up with your favorite people after work.

Job Satisfaction of Mail Carriers

Most postmen are not very happy with overall working conditions since they are not able to make good money while they still have to deal with high workloads and also have pretty poor job security.

Promotion Opportunities of Mail Carriers

You will have barely any promotion opportunities as a postman.

Instead, you will do the same job for many years or even decades without seeing the potential of getting promoted anytime soon.

Career Levels of Mail Carriers

  • Postal worker intern
  • Junior mail carrier
  • Senior mailman
  • Manager of a local mail distribution network
  • Manager of a big mail distribution center

Fields and Types of Mail Carriers

  • Postman focused on rural areas
  • Mailman specialized in urban areas
  • Mail carried focused on delivering letters
  • Mail carrier specialized in delivering parcels
  • Mail carrier using a bike
  • Postman using a motor vehicle
  • Mailman using a scooter
  • Mailman focused on urgent deliveries
  • Mail carriers specialized in delivering important mails where signatures are needed

Educational Requirements for Mail Carriers

There are no fancy educational requirements for becoming a postman.

You don’t need to go to college but can rather start your mail carrier career right after finishing high school.

How to become a Mail Carrier

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a mail carrier
  2. Apply for an internship at a local postal office
  3. Make a good impression during your internship
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish your high school diploma with decent grades
  6. Apply for a job as a mail carrier
  7. Master the job interview
  8. Sign your labor contract
  9. Work hard and get good at what you are doing

Character Traits you need as a Mail Carrier

  • Motivation for delivering letters and parcels
  • Attention to detail helps you avoid mistakes
  • You should be patient to deal with difficult customers
  • You should be friendly and outgoing
  • Inner motivation to do your job as best as possible
  • You should be reliable to deliver mails to the right people
  • Ambition to deliver letters and parcels as quickly as possible
  • Willingness to work in a low-wage environment
  • Willingness to work with your hands

Hard Skills for Mail Carriers

  • Good knowledge of your local area
  • Knowledge of the shortest delivery routes
  • Math skills help you collect postage due
  • Critical thinking helps you avoid mistakes
  • Good driving can make your life easier
  • Good coordination skills help as well
  • Conflict resolution skills can help you calm down people who are in a bad mood
  • Multitasking can help you get your work done faster
  • Expertise in the use of modern technologies makes your workday easier
  • You should know laws, rules and regulations related to mail delivery

Soft Skills for Mail Carriers

  • You should be friendly
  • You should know how to solve conflicts
  • You should know how to calm down an angry dog
  • Good time management skills help you get your work done
  • You should pay attention to detail
  • You should be able to focus on your work
  • Patience for other road users
  • Good communication skills can help as well
  • Outgoing personality helps you get in touch with customers

Exit Options for Mail Carriers

Mail carriers have barely any exit options at all.

Once you work in this field, you will have a hard time getting out of this industry since you will simply not learn many skills needed in the job market right now and may get trapped in the postal industry for quite a long time.

Mail Carrier – Similar Careers

  • Taxi driver
  • Courier
  • Postal clerk
  • Trucker
  • Food delivery driver
  • Train driver
  • Shipping clerk
  • Receiving clerk
  • Meter reader
  • Parking enforcement officer

Mail Carrier Career FAQs

Is working as a mail carrier physically demanding?

While working as a mail carrier can be physically demanding since you may have to lift many parcels per day, you will still not have to stress your body as much as welders or construction workers who have to do heavy physical work on a regular basis.

Is working as a mail carrier mentally demanding?

Working as a mail carrier is not heavily physically demanding since you will just do the same things over and over again and will get into a certain routine where you don’t have to use your brain that much anymore but will rather use your instincts to do your work properly.

Is it dangerous to work as a mail carrier?

Working as a mail carrier can be risky since you will often be at risk of getting involved in traffic accidents and if you are not careful, you may get seriously injured sooner or later.

However, being a mail carrier is still not as dangerous as working as a firefighter or a police officer.

How long do mail carriers stay in their jobs?

Many mail carriers stay in their jobs for decades since they are pretty specialized and will have a hard time finding a job in a different industry.

Is it easy for mail carriers to find a new job?

Since many jobs will be lost in this industry due to machine learning and artificial intelligence, you may have a pretty hard time finding a new job in this field since a high number of letter carriers may just no longer be needed in the near future.

Is it hard to switch from being a mail carrier to another field of work?

Since letter carriers are pretty specialized and don’t learn many skills apart from delivering letters and parcels to clients, they will also have a pretty hard time switching to different fields due to a lack of important hard skills.

Do mail carriers have a high social status?

Mail carriers don’t have a high social status.

In fact, while you will do an important job to keep our system running, you will still be belittled and some people may even make fun of you and your job.

Can you help out your family and friends as a mail carrier?

You will not be able to help out your loved ones as a mail carrier.

While many of your friends may work in craftsman jobs and will be able to fix many things around the home, you as a letter carrier will just not have this kind of expertise and may therefore have a rather low standing among your circle of friends.

Can mail carriers work remotely?

Mail carriers are not able to work remotely since they have to deliver letters and parcels in person.

Hence, while many other people are able to work from home on a regular basis, you as a mail carrier will be far less flexible in this regard.

Is it easy to find a partner as a mail carrier?

It is not easy to find a partner for a long-term relationship as a mail carrier since you will not make good money and will also have rather poor job security and low social status.

Consequently, you will not be considered a good provider and may have a hard time in the dating market while dentists and many other people who make more money will have a much easier time in this regard.

Do mail carriers have to work on weekends?

Mail carriers sometimes have to work on weekends.

While you don’t have to work on all weekends, you should still be ready and willing to work some of them.

Otherwise, you should not aspire to a career as a letter carrier but rather go for a classical office job.

Do mail carriers have to work on holidays?

Mail carriers don’t have to work on holidays.

Instead, you can spend precious time with your loved ones or on your favorite hobbies.

Do mail carriers have to work at nighttime?

Postmen don’t have to work at nighttime.

Instead, most mailmen come home from work rather early and have more than enough time to meet up with their favorite people after work.

Do you have to travel as a mail carrier?

There is no need to travel as a letter carrier.

While many other people like consultants have to make many business trips and will be away from home quite often, you will be able to enjoy your leisure with your family at home.

Are mail carrier pensions good?

Since mail carriers don’t make good money, also their pensions are rather poor.

Moreover, postmen are also not able to save and invest enough money for retirement purposes and once they get older and quit their active careers, many mails carriers are no longer able to pay their bills.

Are mail carrier salaries going up?

Mail carrier salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years and this trend will likely continue in the future since many jobs will be lost in this industry and since many people want to work in this field due to low barriers to entry, wages will also stay low.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a mail carrier?

While you will do an important job to keep our system running, you as a mail carrier will still not have as big of a social impact as teachers or doctors who can really change the lives of many people in a significant positive manner.

How long does it take to become a mail carrier?

Since you will not need to get fancy education for working as a mail carrier, you can become a letter carrier right after getting your high school diploma and while many other people will have to spend many years in college, you will be able to make money at a rather young age.

Is it difficult to become a mail carrier?

It is not difficult to become a letter carrier.

Since educational barriers to entry are pretty low, almost everyone can do this job and you don’t need to have any special skills to be able to work in this industry.

Do you need to be smart to work as a mail carrier?

You don’t need to have a high IQ for working as a mail carrier.

What’s much more important is that you are motivated to work in this field and that you are client-oriented and ambitious to do your job as best as possible.

Do mail carriers have a good work-life balance?

Postmen have pretty decent work-life balance since they often have free weekends and holidays and also don’t have to work in the evening.

Mail carriers also come home from work rather early and while financial analysts and many other people have to work long hours every day and don’t see their loved ones, you as a letter carrier will have more than enough time in this regard.

Do mail carriers have to work many extra hours?

Mail carriers don’t have to work much overtime.

Instead, you will just have a rather rigid schedule and once your shift is over, you will finish your workday and get back to work the next morning.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a mail carrier?

The sooner you start getting experience in this field, the easier it will be for you to get a job as a mail carrier.

Hence, you may want to work as an intern while you are still at school to make some contacts that could help you get a job as a letter carrier later on.

Can mail carriers work part-time?

While you might be able to work part-time as a mail carrier in theory, most letter carriers still work full-time since their hourly wage is pretty low and they need to work full-time to pay their bills.

Do mail carriers work indoors or outdoors?

Mail carriers work indoors as well as outdoors.

Hence, you should not be afraid of working outdoors during times of rain or extreme heat. Otherwise, you would be better off going for a career in a classical office environment.

What does the workplace of a mail carrier look like?

Mail carriers are on the road most of the time.

Thus, you will often have to deal with unpleasant traffic situations and should be the type of person who is able to stay calm to stay happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Do you have to look good for working as a mail carrier?

Your looks don’t matter at all when it comes to succeeding as a mail carrier.

What’s much more important is that you have a strong motivation to deliver parcels and letters to stay focused and interested in what you are doing for many years to come.

Is a mail carrier career beneficial for your private life?

Being a mail carrier is not very beneficial for your private life since you will not be able to make good money from what you are doing and will also have to deal with high levels of insecurity related to your work.

In turn, you will not be able to afford any luxury and your spouse may start to cheat on you sooner or later.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a mail carrier?

You don’t need a college degree for becoming a mail carrier.

In fact, educational requirements to work in this field are pretty low and you just need a high school diploma to start a career in this industry.

Do you need to be certified to work as a mail carrier?

You don’t need to be certified to work as a postal officer.

What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have a real passion and motivation to work in this field to get your work done in time.

How much does it cost to become a mail carrier?

Since you will not have to go to college, you can become a mail carrier at almost no cost.

In fact, while many other people have to spend lots of time and money on college, you can start making money at a rather young age as a letter carrier.

Is being a mail carrier a good career?

Being a mail carrier is not a great career since you will not be able to make good money and you may also lose your job in the near future since many jobs will vanish in this industry sooner or later.

Consequently, if job security and money are really important to you, you should rather go for a demanding office job like being a programer instead of aspiring to a career as a mailman.

Is it easy to start your own business as a mail carrier?

It is almost impossible to start your own mail business since this industry is controlled by few big players and entering this market would be quite hard.

Thus, if your dream is to work self-employed sooner or later, you should become a digital marketer or work in a different field where this goal is much easier achievable.

Can mail carriers teach themselves?

Mail carriers are able to teach themselves most things they need on the job.

In fact, it is not necessary to get lots of formal education.

Instead, it is much more important that you are committed to what you are doing to get things done in time.

Do mail carriers make good money?

Mail carriers don’t make good money at all.

In fact, many letter carriers are not happy with what they are doing for a living since they are barely able to cover their expenses and secretly think about quitting their jobs and working in a different field.

Is it ever too late to become a mail carrier?

Since working as a letter carrier is not greatly physically demanding and you also don’t need fancy education to work in this field, you can become a mail carrier at almost any age.

However, still note that the younger you are, the better your job prospects will be on average and if you get too old, nobody might be willing to employ you.

Do mail carriers have to quit their careers early?

Most letter carriers don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner compared to welders or roofers who often have to quit their jobs relatively early due to physical health problems like back pain or other spinal issues.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a mail carrier?

The most challenging thing about being a mail carrier is that you always need to stay focused to deliver letters to the right people to avoid any issues in this regard and to make sure that people get their mail in time.

Can you provide for your family by working as a mail carrier?

It is almost impossible to provide for your family as a mail carrier since your salary will be quite low.

Hence, especially if you live in an expensive region, you will most likely not be able to provide for your family as a letter carrier and your spouse may have to work as well to pay your bills.

Will mail carriers suffer from old-age poverty?

Since mail carriers don’t make good money and their pensions are rather low, many of them also suffer from old-age poverty and are no longer able to pay their bills once they quit their active careers and retire.

Can mail carriers retire early?

Mail carriers are not able to retire early since they don’t make good money from what they are doing and while most of them have to work until official retirement age, some letter carriers even have to work longer since they would not be able to cover their expenses with their pensions.

Do mail carriers get a fixed or variable salary?

Mail carriers get a fixed salary most of the time.

Consequently, your performance at work will not matter that much for your income as a letter carrier, even though it may still help you keep your job.

Can you get rich as a mail carrier?

It is not possible to get wealthy or even rich as a mail carrier since you will not make enough money from what you are doing.

If money and luxury are really important to you, you should become a doctor or start your own business in a field where you can really make a fortune.

Do mail carriers need a second job?

Many mail carriers also need a second job to pay their bills since their income from their day job will not be enough to cover their expenses.

This is especially true if you live in regions where living costs and rents are quite high.

Do you get continuous training as a mail carrier?

You don’t need continuous training as a mailman.

Instead, you will learn most things you need on the job and there is no need to get fancy formal education to succeed in this field.

Do you get sick pay as a mail carrier?

Most mail carriers are eligible for getting sick pay.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you should ask a mail carrier in your local area.

Do mail carriers have a high level of responsibility?

While mail carriers have a high level of responsibility to deliver letters and parcels in a proper manner so that people can react to them, they still don’t have the same high level of responsibility as doctors whose mistakes could really take away the lives of many people.

Can mail carriers work abroad?

Letter carriers are needed all over the world.

However, working conditions and salaries may still be quite different from what you are used to at home and before you decide on moving to a foreign country, you should inform yourself in this regard to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Is it stressful to work as a mail carrier?

Working as a mail carrier can be stressful.

While you will not have to deal with the same level of stress as people who work in demanding office jobs, you will still have to deal with high workloads from time to time.

Is it boring to work as a mail carrier?

Working as a mail carrier may become quite boring if you don’t like this type of work and are also not passionate about delivering parcels and letters to customers.

In such a case, you would be better off going for a career in a different field to stay motivated with what you are doing in the long run.

Is being a mail carrier hard?

Working as a mail carrier is not that hard.

Even though you will have to deal with high workloads from time to time, most of your workdays will still be rather relaxed and you will also come home from work rather early and will have more than enough time to spend on your favorite hobbies or with your family.

Are mail carriers at risk of burnout?

Since mail carriers have lots of leisure and don’t have to deal with lots of pressure at work, they are also not at great risk of burnout compared to investment bankers or lawyers who often have to deal with excessive workloads and long working hours on a regular basis.

Is there a dress code for mail carriers?

You will often get workwear from your employer so that people know that you have official permission to deliver and collect parcels to minimize the risk of fraud in this field.

What kind of mail carriers are paid the most?

The more senior you get and the faster you are able to do your work, the higher your value and the more money you can make as a letter carrier, even though you will not be able to make really good money from what you are doing even if you put 100% of your power into it.

What percentage of mail carriers are women?

Around 35% of postal mail carriers are women while 65% are men.

However, this doesn’t mean that women have a harder time finding a job in this industry. It rather means that more men aspire to a career in this field.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a mail carrier?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a mail carrier.

Instead, you should be willing to focus on your work and to stay motivated with what you are doing to stay successful in your job in the long run.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a mail carrier?

You will not be personally liable for mistakes you make as a mail carrier most of the time.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in this regard, you should talk to a lawyer or get proper insurance.

Do mail carriers have a high life expectancy?

Mail carriers don’t have a high life expectancy since they are at risk of suffering from serious accidents at work.

Moreover, they are also not able to make really good money and may not be able to afford the best medical treatment in case of emergency.

Do mail carriers suffer from sleeping problems?

Since letter carriers don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime, most of them are able to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and don’t suffer from sleeping problems.

What states are best for working as a mail carrier?

Since you will not be able to make good money in any state, you should rather choose a state or region where living costs are pretty low so that you might be able to pay your bills from your postman salary and don’t need to get a second job.

Who do mail carriers work with?

Mail carriers work on their own quite a lot.

Hence, you should be fine with not having that much human contact and with working rather independently.

Is working as a mail carrier cool?

Working as a mail carrier is not considered cool by the majority of people out there.

However, you should still not choose your job according to what’s cool but rather take into account your own preferences.

Can you start a side hustle as a mail carrier?

Since you will have lots of leisure as a letter carrier, it will also be pretty easy for you to start a side hustle.

However, you might still learn many additional skills to provide enough value to make money from your side hustle in the long run.

Do you have to be creative as a mail carrier?

You don’t need to be creative as a mail carrier.

Since you will do the same things over and over again, it is much more important to develop an efficient daily routine instead of being creative at work.

Do mail carriers suffer from being overweight?

Since mail carriers burn sufficient calories at work, they are not at great risk of suffering from being overweight but can rather stay fit in their jobs.

How employable are mail carriers?

Since many jobs will be lost in this industry in the near future, mail carriers are not that employable anymore and future job prospects are rather poor.

Are mail carriers happy with their jobs?

Most mail carriers are not really happy with what they are doing for a living since they don’t make good money and always have to worry about financial issues and also about losing their jobs.

Is working as a mail carrier exciting?

Working as a letter carrier is not exciting at all since you will do the same things over and over again and you may get really tired and sick with what you are doing in the long run.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a mail carrier?

As a mail carrier, your positive impact on our environment will be rather limited since you will just deliver letters and parcels and will not have the power to do good for our planet during your workday.

What are the pros and cons of working as a mail carrier?

If you are still interested in working as a mail carrier, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a letter carrier career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1087960/share-postal-service-mail-carriers-united-states-gender/

https://www.statista.com/topics/4063/courier-express-and-parcels-cep-market-in-the-united-states/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1088288/highest-employment-states-of-postal-service-mail-carriers-us/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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