Mail Machine Operator Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a mail machine operator career? Get real job duties, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a mail machine operator is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Mail Machine Operator

Mail machine operators, or mail clerks, are in charge of making sure mail gets to where it needs to go. Keep reading to learn about more pros and cons for this profession.

Pros of Being a Mail Machine Operator
No expensive education required*
On-the-job training is available*
Opportunities in multiple settings (industries and the government)*
Includes both desk work and physical work*

Cons of Being a Mail Machine Operator
Low earning potential (mean salary $29,000 as of May 2014)*
Repetitive work**
Possible overtime required*
Decreased job-growth field (9% decline projected from 2012 to 2022)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Mail machine operators make sure mail and other parcels make it to their intended destinations. They receive mail, and prepare it for distribution within the company or neighborhood, depending on where they work. They also ready letters and packages to be sent out. Additionally, they may sort mail and keep records. Mail machine operators typically work in an office and may be in charge of sorting or processing equipment. If they work for the Postal Service, they may have to work on Saturdays and holidays. Either way, the job often involves doing the same thing every day.

Job Growth and Salary

Mail machine operators can generally be divided into those who work for the Postal Service and those that do not. For those employed by the Postal Service, mail machine operator positions were projected to decline 30% between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS. This is due to new sorting technology that is becoming available. For those who work for a private company, positions are projected to decrease by 9% between 2012 and 2022.

The BLS reports that, as of May 2014, the mean wage for mail clerks is $29,000, whereas salaries for sorters, processors and machine operators working within the Postal Service averaged $48,000. Jobs within the Postal Service are expected to become increasingly competitive as they decline in number.

What Are the Requirements?

In general, a high school diploma is all the education necessary to become a mail machine operator. Many positions will offer on-the-job training to bring you up to speed. To work for the Postal Service, you will also need to be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Mail machine operators are expected to have the following characteristics:

  • A good command of the English language
  • Attention to detail
  • Organization skills
  • Categorizing skills
  • Reading comprehension

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job listings may be listed for mail machine operator, mail room clerk, mail clerk or mail room supervisor. Typically, candidates should be able to lift a certain amount of weight and pass a drug test and a background check. Sometimes the listings will indicate specific types of machines that applicants should be familiar with. Below are actual positions that were posted in April of 2012.

  • An administrative company in Delaware is looking for a mail machine operator for a temporary position. Candidates should have at least a year of experience and a willingness to work a flexible schedule.
  • A staffing agency located in Georgia wants a mail machine operator to process information for the healthcare industry. They have shifts available around the clock.
  • A direct mailing company in California is looking for a seasonal mail machine operator to work swing-shift for approximately 60 hours a week.

How to Maximize Your Skills

While no official training is necessary to become a mail machine operator, you will find that some skills will assist you. Anything you can do that increases your speed and accuracy when looking at names and numbers will help. Reading comprehension is also important. Additionally, some experience in an office environment may prove to be useful.

Being able to lift heavy items is often part of the job description, so keeping in shape will be valuable as well. This is important not only for lifting, but mail machine operators often spend several hours a day on their feet, so stamina is key.

Other Fields to Consider

Administrative Assistant

If you like the idea of working with documents, but think that the repetitive work doesn't sound fun, you might consider becoming an administrative assistant instead. Administrative assistants perform secretarial and directional tasks, often in an office environment. According to the BLS, as of May 2011, they earn more on average than mail machine operators ($33,000 mean annual salary). Also, the job tends to be less physically demanding.

Financial Clerk

If you prefer numbers to letters, you might consider becoming a financial clerk. Financial clerks complete administrative tasks for banking and other industries. While some employers may request an associate's degree or bachelor's degree, most do not. Also, financial clerks earned about $36,000 as of May 2011, reports the BLS, and the job prospects are better, with 14% growth expected between 2010 and 2020.

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Featured Schools

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • MS - Organizational Leadership
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Organizational Leadership

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Northcentral University

  • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
  • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management

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Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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The University of Scranton

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Dual MBA-MHA

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