Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators

It’s a tedious job, but somebody’s got to do it. Maybe that’s why the United States government offers great pay and benefits for its Postal Service workers. These workers—mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators—form the backbone of the mail industry and without them no one would receive their mail.

If you are looking for a job as a mail sorter, here’s what you need to know:

You need to be a U.S. citizen. Mail delivery is serious business, and the government has certain requirements of its workers. You should be at least 18 years old and a United States citizen either through birth or because you have been granted permanent resident-alien status. If you are a male, you should also be registered with the Selective Service, since this is a government job.

You need to be proven eligible. In addition to citizenship and age, you will need to pass a criminal records check, a drug-screening test, and a medical exam. You should also be able to speak English so that you can easily communicate with other employees. And all applicants must take and pass a Postal Service exam.

What are the daily tasks? In a typical day, Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators help to sort incoming and outgoing mail at mail processing centers and post offices—this may include operating machinery that sorts, processes, and cancels mail. Some mail processors may also help to load and unload mail trucks and help transfer mail around the centers to get everything in the correct spot for delivery. All of this sorting, processing, and transferring mail helps to accomplish one goal: a dependable national mail system that runs smoothly and efficiently.

You will earn full compensation and benefits. On average, Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators earn about $50,000 a year. They also receive full health benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program in addition to retirement and life insurance.

What about training? Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators go through on-the-job training with a supervisor during the first couple of weeks after being hired. During the training, you will learn how to meter outgoing mail using a postage machine, and how to certify, register, return receipt, and overnight mail. You will also learn how to interact with outside vendors such as FedEx and UPS to ship and receive letters and packages.

It’s a tough job market. Excellent pay and benefits attract numerous Postal Service applicants. But because email and online bill pay have negatively affected first-class mail, post offices are hiring fewer mail sorters and processors than in years past. In fact, it is estimated that employment growth of Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators is expected to decline rapidly in the future, at a rate of about 30 percent over the next decade. This means that there are too many applicants for too few open positions. You will face tremendous competition as you search for a job as a Postal Service mail sorter, processor, or processing machine operator. To gain an edge over the other applicants, make sure your resume is up to date, clearly stated, and reflects that you have completed all the eligibility requirements.