To deliver or send mail in a timely manner, the United States Postal Service relies on mail handlers to organize it. These clerks typically work in the backroom, emptying the large bins of mail. Salaries for mail handlers vary depending on their experience and geographical locations.
Sort and Process Mail
Mail handlers have two main responsibilities: sorting and processing mail. They distribute incoming mail to post office boxes or load it into trucks for drivers. Mail handlers separate outgoing mail by zip codes and ensure it is stamped and postmarked for delivery. Some work at post office branches, while others are employed at major distribution centers.
Must Pass Exam
All mail handlers must be at least 18 years old in most cities, although there are no specific educational requirements for the job. Applicants must take and pass Test 473 with a minimum score of 70, according to the United States Postal Service. This test measures candidates' aptitude for mail handler jobs. Other important qualifications are physical strength and stamina and customer-service skills.
Salaries and Outlook
The average annual salary for Postal Service mail sorters, processors and processing machine operators was $48,040 as of May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent made $54,030 or more per year, while the bottom 10 percent made $28,620 or less. Hawaii and Delaware paid the highest average salaries of $49,720 and $49,660, respectively. Those in Alaska averaged the least, at an average of $38,100 a year. Job prospects in the field are not strong. The BLS expects employment for all postal workers to decline 28 percent from 2012 to 2022 because of email, online payments, tighter budgets and more automated sorting systems.