Is It Hard to Get a Job at USPS? [2022 How to Guide]

In certain areas of the US, colleges can be crazily expensive, and USPS jobs are the highest paying jobs available with no GED or training required. For this reason alone, working at USPS can be a great option for many Americans.

Is It Hard to Get a Job at USPS? As long as you have a clean driving record, a somewhat clean criminal record, and can get a decent score on the test, you should eventually be able to get a job at USPS.

Getting hired at US Postal Service isn’t that hard, it’s not like trying to become a fighter pilot. Postal jobs are jobs virtually anyone could do, and you could advance from a mail carrier, CCA or RCA, PSE, to Custodian or Maintenance. Advancements are mostly based on seniority, just like working for the UPS.

But keep in mind that a carrier job is not everyone. Even though you could potentially make a lot of money as a carrier compared to many other entry jobs, you will have to work a lot, sometimes 50 or 60 hours per week. Working at FedEx can be similar for some positions.

Is It Hard to Become a USPS Worker?

USPS logo on surface next to a tree

Getting the job at USPS isn’t hard. However, keeping the job is, but that will also depend on what you do at the USPS. For a mail carrier, as long as you’re not making huge mistakes, you could potentially have a great career, with a lot of benefits.

The mail carrier can be a well-paying job with benefits for life after you gain some seniority. And since the pay is mostly based on seniority, it’s smart to start as early as possible, similar to getting a job at UPS.

It’s not a job for everyone, though, and it can be exhausting with long hours, sometimes 7 days a week. But after you become a regular, things get much better. Still a demanding job, but much better in terms of hours, plus you get all the benefits.

Even if you don’t have a GED, you can work as a mail carrier, but you should know that GED is a very easy test. So, if you’re waiting to develop your driving record, then you can take the test while waiting.

One piece of advice: get some exercise while you work. This will make it much easier to deal with long hours in the beginning.

USPS Job Requirements

USPS job requirements are:

  • 18 years of age (or 16 with a high school diploma)
  • US citizen, permanent resident
  • recent employment history
  • must pass a criminal background check, drug screening, and medical assessment
  • The residency requirement for background checks
  • Safe driving records if applicable to the position
  • Must be registered with Selective Service if applicable
USPS vans shipping trucks

How Long Does It Take To Get Hired at USPS?

It usually takes about a few weeks to a month to get hired at USPS these days. USPS hiring process was never known for swiftness, but they’ve improved upon this with the fast track hiring.

Because the hiring process at USPS can be slow, it can be an issue for both the company and the applicants. Since it can take a long time, many applicants turn down the positions because they find other jobs. 

This is actually good for you, if you keep your perseverance in check, and continue applying. But keep in mind you can only accept one job at USPS. The system will not allow two jobs to be accepted, and you will have to drop one offer.

Why Does USPS Take So Long to Hire?

USPS has improved a lot when it comes to the length of the hiring process. You still have to pass several tests, plus background checks can take a while. Because of the long hiring process, the USPS created fast track hiring.

USPS fast track hiring was first used during peak season, but in 2019 it was adopted as a normal hiring process. The goal of fast track hiring is to shorten the time for extending job offers and to quickly get the applicants on the rolls.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Career Position at USPS?

It takes a while to become a regular carrier, usually 2 to 4 years. The first couple of years will be rough, but it gets easier. Once you make it through, you’ll have a schedule and eventually your own route. 

You’ll also get to choose if you want to work 8 hours, or work assignment, or ODL (Overtime Desired List). It becomes much better after you get your own route, and it can be worth it to push it through the year as a CCA or RCA.

Everyone becomes a permanent worker, eventually. Or as they say, “get converted” or “turn regular”. Usually, it’s about 2 years but can take longer.

How Hard Is the USPS Exam?

The USPS Exam is the general aptitude test for performing tasks such as completing forms, memory, speed, accuracy, checking addresses, etc. The test is about 30 to 45 minutes.

The USPS exam is considered easy for the most part, though the memory part is generally harder for most people. The first one is the personality test, which consists of simple questions that you need to answer honestly. The 2nd part (473) consists of checking to see any errors in addresses and also includes a memory test. 

In the memory test, you need to memorize several fictitious mailing routes for a few minutes. Then, they remove the mailing routes and you get a bunch of addresses that you need to match up with the right route. 

You can practice these tests to get higher scores on Union Test Prep and Test-Guide.

There are also computerized keyboard tests for certain positions, which include 3 types of tests where you must type a minimum number of words per minute. These tests are fairly easy, but if you can’t type you can easily get to 30 or 45 with some practice. 

Go to MonkeyType and practice. You’ll be typing above 45wpm in no time.

Then, there are automotive mechanic tests, for mechanics and technicians. These can be easy for entry-level positions, but some can be complex and more difficult. You can read more about the 941 automotive bench test, and how to pass it.

USPS Hiring Process 2022

The application process steps are:

  1. Create an account at the USPS website
  2. Search for jobs at eCareers
  3. Enter keywords relating to your job
  4. Find a job and click “Apply” 
  5. Complete an online application
  6. Successfully pass the examination with a score of 70 or above
  7. Complete the interview and pass background checks
  8. You’re hired!
two gray US mailboxes close up

You can check the USPS hiring process for yourself, and see what is necessary to apply for a job at United States Postal Service.

USPS hiring process interview is an important part of the process. When doing a group interview carry yourself well, dress appropriately, and treat it seriously. Many people don’t treat it seriously and this is where they fail.

They will ask you questions such as: “How have you dealt with the cold in the past/elements outside” or “Give me a time when you had an irate customer and you fixed the problem”. Similar to getting a job at Target – they’re straightforward questions, but you should still try to come prepared.

Btw, if you’re on a step called “application entry” it means that they are investigating your application and scores. If you get a “process step hiring list” this means that you’ve already been approved to be hired, so congrats. On the other hand, a “pre-hiring list” means you are being reviewed for the hiring list. 

Here’s a video to help you prepare for the USPS job interview:

How to Get a Permanent Job at USPS?

The main thing you should be looking for when getting hired at USPS is becoming regular someday, and this usually takes about 2 years.

What does it mean to become regular? It means you’re officially a carrier mailman with full benefits and maxed out Union protection. You get your own route (same route every day), which means guaranteed hours. You can earn vacation/sick days, and you’re full-time.

You need a certain amount of years worked, depending on where you’re at, to gain all the benefits.

Almost everything at USPS is based on seniority, just like working at UPS. This means that the sooner you start working, the better you’ll be down the road. But you should also be looking into other positions at USPS, and how to switch if the physical aspect of the job becomes too much for you.

What Is the Best Job at USPS?

There are all kinds of post office jobs, and you should know about the best ones. Many people just want to get their foot in the door, but sometimes it is the wrong door. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into.

One of the best jobs at USPS in terms of pay and work/life balance is the maintenance job. It pays more than a custodian, has all the benefits, it’s easier on your body, no customers or dogs, no coworkers calling in sick, less stress overall.

Then, there’s the custodian. You get the benefits right away and, aside from being a clerk, a custodian is probably the easiest job at the post office. It’s more predictable with less responsibility, consistent hours, a single jobsite, less chance of messing up or losing your mind. Your body will thank you for being a custodian.

Many custodians switch to maintenance later on, which pays more. Keep in mind that getting a custodian position can be difficult because there are always Vets applying and city carriers who move to custodian positions towards the end of their careers.

(PSE) Postal Support Employees is another good choice. The work isn’t bad, and the pay is good, especially for overtime. All the holidays are paid, whether you’re working or not. Once you become a career clerk, you can go into a lot of different jobs from there.

Another good job at USPS is as an expeditor. Less pressure, nicer environment.

RCA (Rural Carrier Associate) job can be difficult. Depending on the office, it could be the hardest job you ever worked while getting shorted pay. Then again it can be extremely part-time. The CCA (City Carrier Assistant) will probably also be hardworking but paid for how much you work. For both of these, you’ll be working fully every minute.

The hardest job is probably the RCA, both in terms of pay and difficulty.

The most important thing to work towards is becoming a regular USPS employee. Before you are regular, you don’t get retirement benefits, and it’s like a part-time job, even though you often work 50+ hour weeks.

USPS Background Check

USPS does a background check by calling every former employer and reference you have listed to verify your information. Background check is usually a positive sign, and while it can take the longest, it usually ends positively.

How Long Does a USPS Background Check Take?

A background check usually takes 7 days to several weeks. 

You’ll know if you passed the background check when someone from HR reaches out to you to tell you the next step, such as giving you a start date, scheduling your for orientation, or similar.

How far back does the USPS background check go?

Background checks at USPS usually go 5 to 10 years back, depending on your requirement.

US postal office (USPS) delivery truck mail carrier

What Disqualifies You From Working for USPS?

According to the USPS list of reasons for disqualification, you will get disqualified from the hiring process if there is a negative decision on any of the eligibility factors. These factors include:

Dismissal from prior employment for a cause can also be a disqualifying factor. Deception, fraud, convictions for theft, and just the general stuff you can get dismissed from the hiring process at any job.

USPS Background Check Disqualifiers

USPS will check your employment history, criminal history, as well as driving history.

Usually, what gets you immediately disqualified are any misdemeanors received within the prior 3 years of your application.

For a driving position, you must have at least 2 years of driving experience, and you must not have had your driver’s license suspended once in the past 3 years, or twice in the last 5 years. Your driving permit shouldn’t have been revoked not once in the last 5 years.

If you have pending convictions, you can’t get a driving job until those charges are cleared. They will also check if you had any criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. USPS does hire felons, but the local criminal records check will be done, and DUI’s (Driving Under Influence) can be a disqualifying factor.

The post-hiring process includes doing a NACI check to determine if you’re a good citizen and meeting the criteria to enter employment. These investigations usually take about 2 to 3 months. If you were honest, nothing to worry about and just keep on keeping on.


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