Page updated 9/2/2016
Post Office Job Qualifications | Age Limit, Citizenship, Exams, Physicals, and Driver's license
Various Post Office job qualification standards from age restrictions to physical requirements must be met before you can take one of the Postal Service exams. Applicants must be a certain age and they have to pass a written exam for most occupations, meet physical requirements, have a driver's license, and all applicants must pass a drug test. When you first apply all of the requirements for the positions will be posted with the job announcement and the Postal Service will coordinate and schedule the required testing as necessary.
When applying for a post office job print out the job announcement first and review it thoroughly. Keep a copy handy, it contains contact information if you should need assistance with the application process or need to follow-up after the test.
All Post Office job applicants must be at least eighteen to apply. Certain conditions allow applicants as young as sixteen to apply. Carrier positions, requiring driving, are limited to age 18 or older. High school graduates or individuals who terminated high school education for sufficient reason are permitted to apply at age 16.
Clerks, carriers, rural carriers and other mail-handling job applicants must pass the 473 Post Office exam. Specialties such as mechanic, electronic technician, machinist, and trades must also pass a written test. The overall rating is based on the test results and your qualifying work experience and education.
Professionals and certain administrative positions don’t require an entrance exam or written test. They are rated and hired strictly on their prior work experience and education. The clerk and carrier exam are the 473 and 473 C and 473 E Battery Exams. The only difference among the three is the occupational title and the methods of taking the exams. The 473 Major Entry Level Jobs Exam covers the following positions:
This Postal exam, also referred to as the 473 Battery Examination, covers the vast majority of entry-level hiring. Custodial positions are reserved for veteran preference eligible by federal law.
The U.S. Postal Service also requires motor vehicle and tractor trailer operators, and highly skilled maintenance positions such as Building Equipment Mechanic, Engineman, Electronics Technician, Auto Mechanics, and General Mechanic to successfully pass an entrance exam. All of the skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination 955, is required for mechanic and electrical skills occupations. Sample exams for these occupations are also included in the all new 6th edition of Post Office Jobs.
Exam List (Partial)
Applicants do not have to be U.S. citizens. If you have permanent alien resident status in the United States of America or owe allegiance to the United States of America you can apply for Postal Service jobs.
Applicants are screened and evaluated to determine their overall suitability for postal employment prior to selection. This evaluation includes a review of:
Medical assessment occurs after the job offer. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the postal service from inquiring into an applicant’s medical suitability until a bona fide job offer is made. Medical assessment is done after selecting an applicant who has met all other suitability requirements.
After an applicant is hired, a career employee’s job performance is evaluated during the probationary period. Fingerprints are submitted for a special agency check to ensure that there is no derogatory information about the individual that has not been discovered in the screening process. Thorough screening is done to ensure that individuals who do not meet postal service requirements are eliminated from the hiring process.
Physical requirements are determined by the job. Carriers must be able to lift a 70-pound mail sack and all applicants must be able to efficiently perform assigned duties. Eyesight and hearing tests are required. Applicants must have at least 20/40 vision in the good eye and no worse than 20/100 in the other eye. Eyeglasses are permitted.
Applicants must have a valid state driver’s license for positions that require motor vehicle operation. A safe driving record is required and a Postal Service road test is administered for the type of vehicle that you will operate.
The Postal Service maintains a comprehensive program to ensure a drug-free workplace. A qualification for postal employment is to be drug free, and this qualification is determined through the use of a urinalysis drug screen. When you are determined to be in the area of consideration for employment, you will be scheduled for a drug screening test.
When applying for other than mail handling positions in the Postal Service recruitment is similar to the federal civil service application process. The applicant is rated on his/her work experience, education, special knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). Job announcements are advertised on the USPS Web site, and the applicant must follow the job announcement application instructions precisely to be considered for the position. Any omissions can cause your application to be rejected. Many highly qualified applicants are excluded because of administrative errors or omissions.
The postal service employs 615,140 workers of which the majority deal with mail handling. However, many administrative, corporate, technical, engineering and support occupations are also available. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the hundreds of occupations employed by the Postal Service including the following abbreviated list: (The number employed in each group is listed in parenthesis.)
View the Bureau of Labor Statistics complete list of postal occupations.
The Postal Service hires when there is a vacancy in an area and you apply for each job vacancy online through the USPS. They no longer offer exams in areas every two years. You apply for job vacancies throughout the year and all can apply. You now take Part D of the 473 exam online unproctored when you first apply and section A, B, and C is scheduled within 14 days from the date you apply if you pass Part D.
Once you take and pass the 473 exam you do not have to retake the exam when you apply for other jobs. The exam score is good for several years. You must keep your Exam Tracking Number, the exam number that they will send you after passing the exam, to apply for other jobs without having to retake the exam. Also, the Postal Service doesn't charge anyone to take an exam. Follow the comprehensive guide to the Postal Service's recruiting and application program on our site and then follow the links on this page to the official Postal Service site to find job vacancies in your area. You can also go direct to the post office site to apply at http://about.usps.com/careers/search-apply/welcome.htm.
"Post Office Jobs" includes guidance on how to successfully handle the postal pre-appointment interview, practice and prepare for the 473 and other entry level tests, and shows you how to find job vacancies in your area. It also presents complete position descriptions for the Post Office's top 25 job classifications and includes sample exam questions for clerical, technician, custodian, auto mechanic, electronics technician, and other occupations. This book is available at all bookstores, through Amazon.com, and many libraries have this title in their reference section.
Explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.