Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal Service
43-9051.00

Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Time-stamp, open, read, sort, and route incoming mail; and address, seal, stamp, fold, stuff, and affix postage to outgoing mail or packages. Duties may also include keeping necessary records and completed forms.

Sample of reported job titles: Insert Operator, Inserter Operator, Mail Clerk, Mail Handler, Mail Machine Operator, Mail Processor, Mail Reader, Mail Sorter, Postal Clerk

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Wrap packages or bundles by hand, or by using tying machines.
  • Verify that items are addressed correctly, marked with the proper postage, and in suitable condition for processing.
  • Remove containers of sorted mail or parcels and transfer them to designated areas according to established procedures.
  • Sort and route incoming mail, and collect outgoing mail, using carts as necessary.
  • Affix postage to packages or letters by hand, or stamp materials, using postage meters.
  • Determine manner in which mail is to be sent, and prepare it for delivery to mailing facilities.
  • Accept and check containers of mail or parcels from large volume mailers, couriers, and contractors.
  • Seal or open envelopes, by hand or by using machines.
  • Weigh packages or letters to determine postage needed, using weighing scales and rate charts.
  • Operate embossing machines or typewriters to make corrections, additions, and changes to address plates.
  • Inspect mail machine output for defects and determine how to eliminate causes of any defects.
  • Remove from machines printed materials, such as labeled articles, postmarked envelopes or tape, and folded sheets.
  • Release packages or letters to customers upon presentation of written notices or other identification.
  • Operate computer-controlled keyboards or voice recognition equipment to direct items according to established routing schemes.
  • Answer inquiries regarding shipping or mailing policies.
  • Lift and unload containers of mail or parcels onto equipment for transportation to sortation stations.
  • Contact delivery or courier services to arrange delivery of letters and parcels.
  • Place incoming or outgoing letters or packages into sacks or bins based on destination or type, and place identifying tags on sacks or bins.
  • Clear jams in sortation equipment.
  • Mail merchandise samples or promotional literature in response to requests.
  • Adjust guides, rollers, loose card inserters, weighing machines, and tying arms, using rules and hand tools.
  • Read production orders to determine types and sizes of items scheduled for printing and mailing.
  • Sell mail products, and accept payment for products and mailing charges.
  • Start machines that automatically feed plates, stencils, or tapes through mechanisms, and observe machine operations to detect any malfunctions.
  • Insert material for printing or addressing into loading racks on machines, select type or die sizes, and position plates, stencils, or tapes in machine magazines.
  • Stamp dates and times of receipt of incoming mail.
  • Add ink, fill paste reservoirs, and change machine ribbons when necessary.
  • Use equipment, such as forklifts and automated "trains," to move containers of mail.
  • Fold letters or circulars and insert them in envelopes.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • High school diploma or equivalent required for some jobsmore info
  • Less than high school diploma required for some jobs
  • Associate’s degree required for some jobs

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

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Interests

Interest code: CR
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$15.65 hourly, $32,550 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
82,200 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
8,800
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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