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Mail Clerks

At a Glance

  • Handle mail for businesses, institutions, and government agencies
  • Use a variety of mailing machines
  • Work alone most of the time
  • Usually work regular business hours
  • Usually train on the job

Career summary

Mail clerks sort, distribute, and prepare mail for offices or customers.

Mail clerks sort and deliver internal mail, such as memos and bulletins, as well as incoming mail. Mail clerks also prepare outgoing mail for delivery to the post office.

Depending on the organization, mail clerks may send out advertising, customer orders, or legal documents. Clerks also decide what type of mail service to use. For example, they may choose registered mail for an important letter, or third class for bulk mail.

Mail clerks use various machines to prepare outgoing mail. They operate machines that collate, fold, and insert print material into envelopes. They may operate addressing machines or use computers to make address labels. They operate postage machines and may sort large mailings by zip code. During these processes, mail clerks observe the operation of the equipment to be sure it works properly. They adjust machines and inspect the prepared mail for any errors.

Clerks also stack bundles of bulk mail for shipment and load it into trucks. In addition, they keep records of incoming and outgoing mail.

Some mail clerks work for private mailing services. These clerks deal directly with customers. When they receive letters or packages to be mailed, they inspect them to be sure they meet requirements. They weigh letters or packages and compute mailing costs. In addition, these clerks answer customers' questions about shipping and mailing policies.

Related careers

This career is part of the Business Management and Administration cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to mail clerks.

Common work activities

Mail clerks perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, mail clerks:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Mail clerks frequently:

It is important for mail clerks to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for mail clerks to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Mail clerks need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation


To work as a mail clerk, you typically need to:

Education after high school

No formal education is required for this job beyond high school.

On-the-job training

This is a first job for many people. Mail clerks usually learn their skills on the job. Another employee usually provides training. The length of training varies by employer, but can last up to one month.

You may be required to have a driver's license if you make deliveries to other buildings.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers prefer to hire mail clerks who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers also prefer applicants who are careful and dependable workers.

Costs to workers

Workers may join a union and pay an initiation fee and annual dues.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service (SOC 43-9051)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $11.94 $13.90 $17.10 $20.15 $23.96
Monthly $2,069 $2,409 $2,963 $3,492 $4,152
Yearly $24,830 $28,910 $35,570 $41,910 $49,840
    Bellingham Hourly $11.97 $12.24 $12.88 $16.95 $18.60
Monthly $2,074 $2,121 $2,232 $2,937 $3,223
Yearly $24,900 $25,468 $26,785 $35,256 $38,684
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $11.86 $11.96 $13.73 $15.80 $18.32
Monthly $2,055 $2,073 $2,379 $2,738 $3,175
Yearly $24,664 $24,877 $28,546 $32,883 $38,125
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $12.38 $15.34 $18.06 $21.22 $25.27
Monthly $2,145 $2,658 $3,130 $3,677 $4,379
Yearly $25,757 $31,914 $37,564 $44,155 $52,556
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $13.86 $15.67 $17.49 $20.18 $23.16
Monthly $2,402 $2,716 $3,031 $3,497 $4,014
Yearly $28,820 $32,599 $36,392 $41,967 $48,162
    Vancouver Hourly $11.61 $13.01 $15.83 $19.33 $23.47
Monthly $2,012 $2,255 $2,743 $3,350 $4,067
Yearly $24,137 $27,067 $32,922 $40,201 $48,816
United States Hourly $9.86 $11.80 $14.63 $18.33 $22.48
Monthly $1,709 $2,045 $2,535 $3,177 $3,896
Yearly $20,510 $24,550 $30,430 $38,120 $46,760

Wages vary depending on the employer and the area of the country.

Many mail clerks work part time and do not receive benefits. Full-time mail clerks may receive benefits such as vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal Service (SOC 43-9051)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 791 -6.7% 16.1% 73
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 14 -28.6% 13.4% 1
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 17 0.0% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 48 -10.4% 15.2% 4
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 22 -18.2% 14.1% 1
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 70 -11.4% 14.6% 6
    King County 357 -3.9% 19.6% 36
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 12 -16.7% 13.8% 1
    Pierce County 180 -12.2% 15.2% 14
    Snohomish County 29 3.4% 12.4% 3
    Spokane County 49 -12.2% 13.9% 4
United States 90,100 -6.5% 5.2% 9,100

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

This occupation is significantly declining. More people use automatic bill paying services as well as e-mail. This reduces the volume of first-class mail and the demand for mail clerks. A growing population will produce increasing amounts of advertising and other mail that must be handled and delivered. However, job growth will be slowed by increased automation.

Many job openings will occur because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Jobs as mail clerks are attractive to people seeking first jobs or short-term jobs.

Other resources

Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters