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How Much Does a Rural Carrier Associate Make?

A rural letter carrier delivers mail for the United States Postal Service to areas of the country where the USPS does not formal uniformed delivery service. The USPS determines salary and hourly pay rates for part-time, full-time and letters carrier associates in cooperation with the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. This labor union represents all rural carriers across the country and has satellite agencies in every state.

Associate Hourly Wages

As of February 2011, the United States Postal Services divides hourly rates for rural letter carrier associates into two categories: Schedule One and Schedule Two. This division is the result of collective bargaining negotiations with the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. Schedule One applies to all rural letter carrier associates hired beginning August 24, 1991. These letter carriers earn $19.45 an hour. Schedule Two applies to rural carriers hired prior to the above mentioned date. These rural carriers earn an hourly wage of $22.97.

Part-Time Flexible Employees

Rural letters carriers may work for the USPS on a part-time basis earning extra income while working a primary job in another industry. The USPS determines pay for part-time rural carriers based on years of service. For example, as of November, 2009, all part-time rural carriers with one year of experience earn $23.89 per hour while rural carriers with eight years of experience earn $25.25 an hour. The pay for part-time rural carriers caps at 12 years of service and $26.03 per hour.

Full-Time Rural Carriers

As of November 2009, the USPS determines annual salary rates for full-time rural carriers based on the number of scheduled hours carriers work per week and the years of experience carriers have with the U.S. Postal Service. For example, carriers working 12 hours per week with a year of experience earn $14,330 annually, while carriers working 40 hours per week with the same amount of experience earn $47,772. The annual salary for rural carriers caps at $67,679 with 12 years of experience and working 48 hours per week.

Equipment Maintenance Allowance

The USPS provides an equipment maintenance allowance for rural letters carriers since the majority of these workers must conduct letter delivery using personal vehicles. According to the Florida Rural Letter Carriers' Association, as of July 2011, the EMA rate for rural carriers is $0.735 per mile, or a minimum of $29.40 per day—whichever is greater. Rural carriers providing auxiliary service for the USPS earn an EMA of $0.735 per mile, or $7.95 per day—whichever is greater.


Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.