15 Pros and Cons of Being a Mail Carrier To Consider
Updated July 19, 2023
Mail carriers are crucial to infrastructure, delivering letters and packages all over the country. They work daily, sometimes in inclement weather conditions, to ensure the mail system continues to function. There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a mail carrier, and understanding them can help you decide if it's the right career for you.
In this article, we discuss what these people do, the pros and cons of being a mail carrier and tips for pursuing this job.
What is a mail carrier?
A mail carrier delivers mail and packages to a pre-assigned route. They serve as the public face of organizations like the United States Postal Service (USPS), and their work is essential for ensuring the organizations deliver the mail to the correct recipients efficiently. While they may begin their workday at a sorting facility to pick up their route's mail, they typically work outdoors to work or drive along their assigned routes. They're responsible for delivering mail to mailboxes, front doors, or designated delivery locations and also collecting outgoing mail to take back to a facility for processing and delivery.
Aside from delivering mail, mail carriers are also responsible for maintaining accurate records of their deliveries, reporting any problems or issues they encounter along their routes and providing excellent customer service to the people on their routes. They must also adhere to USPS safety guidelines and regulations, including driving or walking safely in all weather conditions.
15 pros and cons of being a mail carrier
Consider these pros and cons of being a mail carrier:
8 pros of being a mail carrier
Here are a few pros of being a mail carrier:
1. They can work outdoors
Working as a mail carrier may be especially enjoyable to those who don't want to sit at a desk all day. Mail carriers have the opportunity to work while also getting to enjoy the fresh air and daily exercise. Some mail carriers may also have the option to walk or bike their routes on nicer days, depending on the size of the route.
Read more: 6 Benefits of Working Outdoors (With Tips)
2. They can work independently
Working as a mail carrier allows you to work independently. Most mail carriers work alone, preparing mail and then delivering it along their route. Mail carriers can also typically structure their own day, choosing to break for lunch when they want, as long as they complete their mail deliveries.
Read more: The Benefits of Working Alone
3. They have good job security
The postal system is important to the country, meaning it's likely to lead to good job security. The U.S. Postal Department is likely to always have a need for mail carriers. Because the mail system operates in the whole country, mail carriers may also have career opportunities if they decide to move. Working as a mail carrier is also a federal position, which often comes with good benefits, like health insurance or retirement funding.
4. They don't have to complete college
While there is some training to work as a mail carrier, a college degree isn't typically a requirement. This can be a good option for those who don't want to attend college and don't want to take on student loans. The requirements to work as a mail carrier typically include a high school diploma or GED and even those with limited work experience are eligible to apply.
5. They have active jobs
Mail carriers often spend significant time walking, delivering mail and packages and interacting with people on their routes. This may be appealing to people who enjoy opportunities to be physically active.
6. They have a sense of community
Mail carriers often develop relationships with the people on their routes. As a result, they can feel a sense of connection to their local communities and form lasting relationships with many of the people who they interact with regularly.
7. They have opportunities for career advancement
The USPS offers opportunities for career advancement, including promotions and specialized training programs. This can be useful if you're looking for ways to build a long-term career with the organization.
8. They earn competitive pay
Mail carriers can earn a competitive salary, especially with years of service and promotions. While exact salaries may vary, the national average salary for a mail carrier is $41,218 per year. They may also have opportunities to earn overtime wages.
For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
7 cons of being a mail carrier
It's also important to know the potential challenges that come with being a mail carrier, so you can decide if it's the right career for you. Some potential cons of being a mail carrier include:
1. They encounter some risks
There may be some risks with delivering mail, including vehicle or pedestrian accidents or dog bites. Mail carriers in larger cities may have to deliver mail by foot, which can pose a danger of slipping and falling. The good thing is that mail carriers often enjoy good benefits, which include health insurance and paid time off for medical leave. Many mail carriers also receive training that includes safety protocols to help avoid some of these risks.
2. They have to deliver in all weather conditions
Mail carriers are responsible for delivering the mail, regardless of the weather conditions. This may mean that they're subject to heavy rain, snow or icy conditions. Some areas may also be at risk of extreme heat or cold. Mail carriers may prepare for inclement weather by checking the weather before beginning their routes or dressing in layers.
3. They may experience physically demanding work
While the majority of items a mail carrier delivers is mail, they may also occasionally deliver packages, especially around the holidays. These packages can be heavy, which can lead to a physically laborious career. Mail carriers may learn safe practices for lifting and loading heavier items when training. Mail carriers who find that this part of the position is too physically demanding may have other career options available with the USPS.
4. They complete the same tasks each day
The responsibilities of a mail carrier are consistent over time, which may be tedious to some. Mail carriers typically deliver to the same route daily. Mail carriers do get to meet and communicate with people all day long, which can add an element of enjoyment to the position. Some people may also prefer a work schedule that's predictable and allows them to follow a routine.
5. They may have a high workload
Mail carriers are often responsible for delivering large volumes of mail and packages within tight deadlines, which can be stressful and overwhelming. There are some times of the year that are slower for mail delivery, such as not around the holidays. Also, as mail carriers become more familiar with their routes, they may develop their own strategies for best managing and delivering the mail, even on busy days.
6. They have limited flexibility
Mail carriers adhere to a strict delivery schedule. As a result, they may need more flexibility to change their routes or work hours, which may be frustrating if you prefer more control over their schedules. It may be possible to switch your schedule with your colleagues on special occasions. This may also including opportunities to earn overtime by working additional routes.
7. They hear customer complaints
Mail carriers may receive customer complaints about missing or damaged mail, which can be frustrating and challenging to resolve. These challenges give mail carriers the opportunity to help customers with their problems, and resolving the issue may feel rewarding.
Tips for being a mail carrier
Here are a few tips you can use when working as a mail carrier:
Consider your preferred work style. Consider the type of work style you prefer when deciding if a mail carrier position is right for you. Many positions make up the postal delivery system, including mail carrier or sorter, and you may find one better suited to you based on your work style.
Look over the postal exam. Working with the USPS requires the completion of the Postal Exam. It can be beneficial to look over a sample exam ahead of time to know what to expect so you can better prepare.
Talk with other mail carriers. You can learn even more about the position of a mail carrier by talking to those currently working as one. Ask your mail carrier or a friend or family member who works as one, for any tips or suggestions on the position.
Take additional training. Additional training or certifications can be beneficial if you want to further your career as a mail carrier. The United States Postal Service Full-Service Certification (FSC) is available to current mail carriers who want to demonstrate their quality.
Look over salary and benefits. It's always a good idea to review compensation and, because mail carriers have public positions, this information is often public. Evaluating the average salary and benefits of a mail carrier can help you decide if this career is right for you.
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