Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators
SOC: 43-5053.00


Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Examine, sort, and route mail. Load, operate, and occasionally adjust and repair mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery. Keep records of shipments, pouches, and sacks; and other duties related to mail handling within the postal service.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
117,600 employed

Projected (2024):
78,000 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Assorter
  • Automation Clerk
  • Computer Forwarding System Markup Clerk (CFS Markup Clerk)
  • Data Conversion Operator
  • Dead Mail Checker
  • Distribution Clerk
  • Distributor
  • Equipment Operator
  • File Conversion Operator
  • Flat Sorter Operator
  • Flat Sorter Processor
  • Flat Sorting Machine Clerk (FSM Clerk)
  • Letter Sorting Machine Operator (LSM Operator)
  • Mail Distribution Clerk
  • Mail Distribution Scheme Examiner
  • Mail Distributor
  • Mail Examiner
  • Mail Forwarding System Markup Clerk
  • Mail Handler
  • Mail Handler Sorter
  • Mail Opener
  • Mail Processing
  • Mail Processor
  • Mail Sorter
  • Mail Weigher
  • Mailing Section Clerk
  • Operations Label Clerk
  • Parcel Post Distribution Machine Operator (PDPMO)
  • Post Office Markup Clerk
  • Postal Clerk
  • Postal Service Mail Processor
  • Postal Transportation Clerk
  • Registry Clerk
  • Small Package and Bundle Sorter Clerk (SPBS Clerk)
  • Sorter
  • Sorting Machine Operator
  • Window Clerk
  • ZMT Operator (Zip Mail Translator Operator)

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Direct items according to established routing schemes, using computer-controlled keyboards or voice-recognition equipment.
  • Bundle, label, and route sorted mail to designated areas, depending on destinations and according to established procedures and deadlines.
  • Serve the public at counters or windows, such as by selling stamps and weighing parcels.
  • Supervise other mail sorters.
  • Train new workers.
  • Distribute incoming mail into the correct boxes or pigeonholes.
  • Operate various types of equipment, such as computer scanning equipment, addressographs, mimeographs, optical character readers, and bar-code sorters.
  • Search directories to find correct addresses for redirected mail.
  • Clear jams in sorting equipment.
  • Check items to ensure that addresses are legible and correct, that sufficient postage has been paid or the appropriate documentation is attached, and that items are in a suitable condition for processing.
  • Open and label mail containers.
  • Rewrap soiled or broken parcels.
  • Weigh articles to determine required postage.
  • Move containers of mail, using equipment such as forklifts and automated "trains".
  • Sort odd-sized mail by hand, sort mail that other workers have been unable to sort, and segregate items requiring special handling.
  • Accept and check containers of mail from large volume mailers, couriers, and contractors.
  • Load and unload mail trucks, sometimes lifting containers of mail onto equipment that transports items to sorting stations.
  • Cancel letter or parcel post stamps by hand.
  • Dump sacks of mail onto conveyors for culling and sorting.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Addressographs
  • Automatic airline assignment systems
  • Automatic pallet unloaders
  • Barcode scanners
  • Barcode sorters
  • Compact assignment machines
  • Computer data input scanners
  • Conveyor belts
  • Conveyor sorting systems
  • Copy machines
  • Delivery point packagers
  • Dollies
  • Electric material moving tractors
  • General purpose mail containers
  • Hand-pushed carts
  • Laser facsimile machines
  • Mail canceling machines
  • Mail processing machines
  • Mail scales
  • Mail sorting machines
  • Mail trucks
  • Multi-position letter sorting machines
  • Optical character readers
  • Packaging machines
  • Personal computers
  • Point of sale workstations
  • Postage marking machines
  • Postal automated redirection systems
  • Small parcel bundle sorter machines
  • Voice recognition equipment
  • Warehouse forklifts
  • Address Management System AMS
  • Automated Package Processing System APPS
  • Barcode reader software
  • Delivery Operations Information System DOIS
  • Delivery Routing System DRS
  • Directory software
  • Electronic Time Clock ETC
  • Multi-line optical character reader OCR software
  • NCR Advanced Store
  • Time and Attendance Collection System TACS

  • office and administrative support

    industry stats

    SOC: 43-0000

    Total Employed: 21,846,420

    Average Annual Salary: $36,330