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What Type of Degree Do I Need for a Good Job With the USPS?

Those who do not possess undergraduate degrees from colleges or universities may find that their best job prospects exist with federal government agencies. The U.S. Postal Service is one of the federal government's largest employers, hiring thousands of workers to handle, process and distribute mail to millions of American residents. Advancement to good USPS jobs is typically handled through internal promotion. Earning a college degree may increase advancement opportunities.

Educational Requirements

There are no collegiate educational requirements that must be fulfilled prior to earning a position in any of the entry-level jobs available through the USPS. These positions include mail clerk, city carrier, mail handler, mail processor, sorting machine operator and mark up clerk. An individual may select any of these positions as a preference during the USPS job application process. Typically, U.S. Postal Service employees have earned at least a high school diploma or GED equivalency, which is the minimum educational requirement for federal government jobs.

Examination

Prospective postal service workers must pass an introductory exam that tests applicants on proper USPS procedure and comprehension of the English language. The examination is a written test that requires about two hours to finish completely. Applicants also must submit to a drug screening test to identify applicants who use illegal drugs. Failure of a drug test gives the U.S. Postal Service immediate cause to disallow an application.

Other Job Requirements

Applicants for jobs at the U.S. Postal Service must fulfill other basic requirements that the USPS strictly enforces. All postal service employees are required to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident possessing a green card and must be registered with the Selective Service. Employees must be at least 18 years of age, or 16 years old with a high school diploma. Applicants must also submit a 10-year employment history, including any military service, and must submit to a criminal background check.

Advancement

The easiest way to advance to a high-paying position with the U.S. Postal Service is through internal job advancement. The USPS typically advertises supervisory position openings internally; openings are advertised to the general public only if no workers can be promoted from within the USPS. Postal service workers can search through job opening advertisements published by the U.S. Postal Service through the agency's official website. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postal service mail carriers earned a median salary of $49,800 per year in 2008, while postal service clerks earned a median salary of $51,040 per year. Undergraduate or graduate degrees in business administration may help a postal service worker advance more quickly to jobs with higher salaries and more seniority.



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