USPS Salary: How Much Do Postal Workers Make

The United States Postal Service (USPS) postal service is an independent government organization linked to the United States’ executive branch. The USPS holds the distinction of being one of the only federal agencies that receive its authorization to act directly from the U.S. Constitution. 

As such, The United States Postal Service employees (also known as postal workers) are considered federal employees. Although the federal government once subsidized the United States Postal Service, it has not done so since the early 1970s. The USPS currently generates its own revenue through its mail carrier and retail services. 

The USPS employs temporary, permanent, part-time and full-time postal workers. A postal worker salary depends upon their exact position, their experience, and their educational backgrounds. The narrative that follows details the potential salaries of the varying jobs at the United States Postal Service. 

Remember, a postal worker includes the indoor job responsibilities that include the following -

  • A service clerk.
  • A mail processer.
  • A mail sorter.
  • A mail processing machine operator.

Perhaps the postal worker most of us see most often is that of the USPS letter carrier. For the calendar year of 2018, there were more than 342,000 mail carriers employed by the United States Postal Service. A USPS mail carrier is responsible for the following tasks –

  • Assigned administrative responsibilities.
  • The appropriate loading of mail/parcels into a USPS delivery truck or van. 
  • The accurate delivery of regular mail, Express Mail, as well as parcels. 
  • The completion of the mail carrier’s assigned route.

The USPS ethos states – 

Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night prevents us from making deliveries.

More often than not, it is the United States Mail Carrier that completes the work required to meet Postal Service’s creed. 

To become a postal worker, one must pass one of two postal exams. The Postal Exam 473 and the Postal Exam 460 are the two exams administered by the USPS. The primary difference between the two tests is that the 460 Exam is specifically designed for rural postal workers and rural mail carriers. It is noted, however, that both the 473 exam and the 460 exam are quite similar in content.  

The USPS 473 Exam

The United States Postal Service administers its Postal 473 (and 473(e)) examination to those candidates hoping to land a job as a postal clerk, a processing clerk, or mail carrier. Potential test-takers must prepare for the exam to ensure they have the best chance to pass the exam on his or her first attempt. 

473 Exam Format

The 473 Exam is organized into four parts. These exam parts are detailed below –

  • Part A of the test focuses on test-takers ability to check and compare addresses accurately. [There are 60 questions with an 11-minute time limit]
  • Part B is designed to assess the test-taker’s ability to complete forms accurately. [There are 30 questions with a 15-minute limit]
  • Part C includes two sections – Coding and Memory. [There are 66 questions with a 13-minute time limit]
  • Part D covers the test-taker’s job experience. [There are 236 questions with a 90-minute time limit]

To prepare for the exam, try Test-Guide.com's free postal practice exams.

460 Exam Format

The United States Postal Service administers its Postal 460 examination to those candidates hoping to land a job as a rural postal clerk, a rural processing clerk, or a rural mail carrier.

The 460 Exam is organized into four parts. These exam parts are detailed below –

  • Part A of the test focuses on test-takers ability to check and compare addresses accurately. [There are 95 questions with a 6-minute time limit]
  • Part B is designed to assess the test-taker’s ability to memorize addresses. [There are 88 questions with a 5-minute time limit]
  • Part C includes two sections – evaluates number series. [There are 24 questions with a 20-minute time limit]
  • Part D covers the test-taker’s ability to follow oral directions. [N/A questions with a 25-minute time limit]

How Much Do Postal Workers Make?

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were more than ½ million postal workers employed in the calendar year of 2018. The BLS also reports the following salary statistics for USPS workers:

Median Annual Postal Worker Salary - $58,760, which translates to $28.25 per hour.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ published data includes the salaries from the following USPS jobs –

  • Letter carriers. 
  • Administrative positions 
  • Upper management. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for a Postal Service Mail Carrier Only 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers salary and earnings data for only those postal workers who are mail carriers. The salary statistics for mail carriers during the calendar year 2018 are as follows – 

Mean Annual Salary for Mail Carriers (2018) - $51,780, which translates to $24.89 per hour. 

USPS Salary Percentile Estimates 

A Postal Worker who is at the top of their game (i.e. 90th percentile of all postal workers) earns an annual salary of nearly $64,000 (approximately $30.75 per hour). Conversely, postal workers just starting (i.e. earning in the lowest 10% of all postal workers) can anticipate an annual salary of nearly $37,000 (approximately $18 per hour). 

States with the Highest Postal Worker Salaries

The following states offer the highest salaries for mail carriers and postal clerks working for the USPS -

State  Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 Hawaii  $54,250  $26.08
 Arizona  $53,870  $25.90
 Washington, DC  $53,840  $25.88
 New Jersey  $53,750  $25.84
 California  $53,660  $25.80

States with the Highest Post Office Mail Carrier, Sorters, Processors & Processing Machine Operators Salaries

The following states offer the highest salaries for a Postal Worker employed as a sorter, a processor or a processing machine operator - 

State  Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 Delaware  $53,890  $25.91
 Vermont  $53,070  $25.51
 Washington, DC  $52,930  $25.45
 Idaho  $52,820  $24.40
 Connecticut   $51,580  $25.28

Metropolitan Areas with the Highest Postal Worker Mail Carrier Salaries

The following states offer the highest salaries for mail carriers working for the USPS -

Metropolitan Area Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 San Jose-Santa Clara-Sunnyvale, CA  $55,120  $26.50
 San Francisco-Hayward-Oakland, CA  $54,880  $26.38
 Honolulu, HI  $54,870  $26.38
 Florence, SC  $54,110  $26.02
 Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA  $54,030  $25.98

Metropolitan Areas with the Highest USPS Postal Clerk Salaries

The following metropolitan areas offer the highest salaries of postal clerks who work for the United States Postal Service -

Metropolitan Area Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 Prescott, AZ  $56,400  $27.12
 El Centro, CA  $56,370  $27.10
 Athens-Clarke, GA  $55,730  $26.79
 Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX  $55,710  $26.78
 Hickory-Morganton, NC  $55,540  $26.70

Metropolitan Areas with the Highest Postal Worker Mail Carrier, Sorters, Processors & Processing Machine Operators Salaries

The following metropolitan areas offer the highest salaries of a Postal Worker employed as a sorter, a processor or a processing machine operator for the United States Postal Service

Metropolitan Area Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 Saginaw, MI  $56,910  $27.36
 Wausau, WI  $55,620  $26.74
 Beaumont - Port Arthur, TX  $55,430  $26.65
 Baton Rouge, LA  $55,230  $26.55
 New Haven, CT  $55,090  $26.48

Postal Worker Salaries for Varying Jobs within the U.S. Post Office 

According to glassdoor.com, the following data represents several traditional positions available for those who have passed one of the USPS’ examinations. The jobs noted below include a City Carrier Assistant (CCA), a Mail Processing Clerk, a PSE Processing Clerk, and a City Letter Carrier. 

The United States Postal Service’s Skilled Labor & Manufacturing Job Positions

The USPS City Carrier Assistants (CCA) Jobs

  • Average Salary - $58,515 per year.
  • Range - $32,000 to $83,000.

The USPS City Carrier Assistants (CCA) Jobs - Hourly

  • Average Salary - $17 per hour.
  • Range - $16 to $21 per hour.

The USPS City Letter Carriers - Hourly

  • Average Salary - $19 per hour.
  • Range - $16 to $21 per hour.

The United States Postal Service’s Administrative Job Positions

The USPS PSE Processing Clerk 

  • PSE Processing Clerk - $17 per hour.
  • Range - $15 to $21 per hour.

The USPS Mail Processing Clerk

  • Mail Processing Clerk - $49,030 per year.
  • Range - $36,000 to $72,000.

Postal Service Clerk Salaries in the States w/the Highest Employment Levels

As of May 2018, the following states have the highest employment levels with regard to a Postal Service Clerk Salary - 

State Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 California  $53,660  $25.80
 New York  $51,420  $24.72
 Texas  $51,030  $25.53
 Pennsylvania  $50,390  $24.23
 Florida  $52,260  $25.13

Postal Salaries in the States w/the Highest Employment Levels for, Sorters, Processors & Processing Machine Operators 

As of May 2018, the following states have the highest employment levels with regard to a Postal Worker employed as a sorter, a processor or a processing machine operator - 

State Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 California  $51,520  $24.77
 New York  $51,390  $24.71
 Texas  $52,430  $25.21
 Florida  $51,870  $24.94
 Illinois  $50,880  $24.46

Salaries in the States w/the Highest Employment Levels for Mail Carriers

As of May 2018, the following states have the highest employment levels with regard to a Postal Worker Mail/Letter Carriers -  

State Yearly Wage (Median)  Hourly Wage (Median) 
 California  $53,680  $25.81
 New York  $51,620  $24.82
 Texas  $52,150  $25.07
 Florida  $52,090  $25.05
 Illinois  $52,090  $25.04

USPS Salary Tables

Many USPS workers are members of a union. The APWU represents over 200,000 current and retired USPS workers in the Clerk, Maintenance, Motor Vehicle Services, or Support Services divisions. According to the APWU, their members receive pay according to the following pay scale.

USPS Full-Time Basic Pay Scale (APWU Members)

Pay Grade  Starting Pay Step Ending Pay Step
 3  $15.02  $27.70
 4  $15.67  $28.16
 5  $18.85  $28.66
 6  $19.95  $29.20
 7  $21.05  $29.80
 8  $21.41  $30.43
 9  $27.41  $31.46
10  $29.08  $33.89
11  $29.70  $34.80

USPS Starting Pay

According to the APWU, the starting pay for a postal worker is:

Annual Postal Worker Starting Salary - $30,000, which translates to $15.00 per hour.

 

USPS Salary Summary

There are many factors that affect how much postal workers make, including:

  • Experience
  • Job Type
  • Location
  • Union Membership

In general, the following observations about USPS salaries can be made

  • USPS Starting Salary - about $30,000 per year
  • Postal Worker's Average Pay - $52,000 to $ 58,000 per year
  • Highest Post Office Salary - about $70,000 per year

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