How To

How To Become A Mailman

Charlie Meek

Charlie Meek

For the last 20 years, Charlie Meek has led creative and brand marketing …


Are you wondering how to become a mailman?

It’s a pretty good gig when you can complete the requirements and start riding around town, dropping off letters and packages.

Consider that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report reflects that the average postal carrier earns $51,150 (as of May 2020).

Now, consider that some people go to college, get themselves into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, only to end up working for a similar salary. If you don’t have a college degree and don’t need to make large monthly college loan payments, then you’re essentially in a better financial situation working as a mailman.

You get to work outside in the fresh air, too!

In this article, you’ll learn what you need to know when you’re asking how to become a mailman.

What Does a Mailman do?

A mailman starts their day at the Post Office by collecting the mail that needs to go out for delivery. They transfer the mail to their bag or vehicle and get out on the road.

They drive their route, delivering the mail at each residence on that route. Sometimes, they need to knock on doors to have customers sign for packages or certified mail envelopes.

The United States Postal Service breaks up its mail carriers into two categories :

  1. City carrier
  2. Rural carrier

Often a city carrier delivers the mail by foot when that’s easiest to do in a city environment. Other city carriers use a vehicle to deliver the mail. Rural carriers mostly use vehicles because greater distances exist between homes and offices.

How do I Become a Mailman?

Becoming a mailman doesn’t require a college diploma. The job requires a high school diploma or its equivalent (typically your GED or Graduate Equivalency Degree). No other formal education requirements exist beyond a high school education.

All postal workers, including mail carriers, must pass a test called the 473 Postal Exam . The test takes just over two hours to complete and asks you to understand concepts in the following categories:

  • Personal characteristics and experience
  • Memory and coding
  • Forms completion
  • Address cross-comparison

The USPS offers support to help you pass your exam. They provide practice tests and a study guide. Use those resources to become comfortable with the process and give yourself the best opportunity to pass.

Once you pass the exam, you then must go through an interview process. Your interviewer asks you questions during the interview as they figure out whether you’re a good candidate. They also give you time to ask questions.

How Much Does a Mailman Make?

The salary for a mailman ranges depending on where you work. According to ZipRecruiter , the highest-paying state is New York, with a salary of just under $40,000. North Carolina comes in at the bottom of the list with a salary of just over $24,000.

Are Requirements Different From State to State?

Mail carriers are federal employees. This means the requirements remain uniform from state to state. Aside from a high school diploma, here are other requirements to understand as you learn how to become a mailman.

The USPS requires proficiency when speaking English. You also need to be at least 18 years old. However, the post office sometimes hires high school graduates at the ages of 16 or 17 for entry-level postal worker positions.

You need a driver’s license, and your driving record must be clean going back five years. The United States Postal Service performs a background check on each applicant. You can’t have a criminal background if you expect to get hired as a mailman.

Other exams include a drug test and physical assessment. The USPS wants to make sure you don’t use illegal substances and that you can perform basic physical elements of the position.

What is required to become a mailman? As you can see, it’s a position that requires quite a bit more than what you may think it would.

Skill Sets Required to Become a Mailman

Although it might sound simple to deliver mail in your town, the USPS requires a specific set of skills to hire you:

  • Attention to detail
  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to read and understand English proficiently
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Efficiency
  • Ability to lift and carry heavy bags
  • Ability to walk long distances
  • Integrity
  • Respect for privacy and confidentiality
  • Customer service skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills

What’s the Career Progression for a Mailman?

The USPS includes training and development to help all postal workers advance over the years. You will have the opportunity to continue advancing your career once you’re hired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Hard to Become a Mailman?

It isn’t particularly hard. It’s a matter of understanding the requirements outlined above, assessing whether you can meet them, and working toward completing each step.

Some people might rate the USPS 473 Postal Exam as the hardest part. However, you should find that passing becomes easier once you use the study guide and practice exams.

Do Mailmen Make Good Money?

It depends on what you consider “good money”. If you compare the average postal worker salary of over $50,000 to that of a nurse, for example, which sits at about $75,000, it’s “good money”. You might make less but you don’t have an expensive college education debt to pay back to the government.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Mail Carrier?

It depends where you work. In some instances, you may get the job relatively quickly after some short-term on-the-job training with a seasoned mailman.

In other instances, you need to work as an in-office postal worker before you rise to mail carrier. The typical path takes two to three years. In some areas, you might need to wait ten years.

Is a Mailman a Good Career in 2021+?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics link at the beginning of this article predicts a 14% postal worker employment decline by 2029. Technological changes most likely play into this projection. Tech will change many industries by 2029.


You now know how to become a mailman. If it’s of interest to you, your next step is to apply and begin your new journey!