Unless you’re applying for a corporate or a security job at the USPS, almost all entry-level positions (“Postal Support Employee” and “Assistant” positions) require you to take the postal exam 473 E, while most of the higher positions are filled-in by internal applicants moving up. You can see why it’s important to be prepared for the postal exam 473. If you want to work for the postal service, you’ll likely have to pass this test.
Below is a list of all types of United States postal service jobs that require you to take the postal exam 473. We’ve also added a list of postal jobs that require you to take another exam.
United States Postal Service Jobs in Delivery and Operations
United States postal service jobs that require the 473 exam
PSE Sales, Services and Distribution Associate
PSE Sales, Service and Distribution Associates are, together with the carriers, the faces of the postal service. They’re the people who sell you stamps, weigh your packages, process money orders and perform other services directly to customers at the front counter of the post office. They’re also the ones you get on the line if you call customer service.
Because of the highly public nature of their function, PSE Sales, Service and Distribution Associates must
- always be polite, pleasant and helpful.
- always look clean and professional, which also means wearing a uniform and name tag when required.
- follow the USPS procedures and policies for personal conduct at the work floor.
Postmaster Relief/Leave Replacement Clerk
Postmaster Relief or Leave Replacement Clerks deliver a wide variety of services, usually serving as the replacement for the Postmaster of a small community when he is on leave or off the job for another reason. They either man single-unit post offices or supervise a small team of carriers and/or other clerks and are responsible for distribution, delivery and front counter services.
City Carrier Assistant
The City Carrier Assistant is who we all know as “the postman”. He/she delivers and collects mail in a determined urban area, by foot or by vehicle. A City Carrier Assistant can move up to become a City Carrier, who basically performs the same duties but at a slightly higher level.
As a City Carrier Assistant, you’ll come into contact with postal service customers and others throughout the day, which means you’ll be seen as a representative of the postal service. It’s, therefore, necessary that you
- have knowledge of postal laws and regulations and follow them.
- have knowledge of the available products and the procedures of the postal service.
- always wear your uniform, act professionally and look clean.
You also need to have a valid state driver’s license and proof of a safe driving record.
Lastly, it’s a plus to be physically fit for this job, as you can be asked to carry mail weighing up to 35 pounds in a shoulder bag and to load or unload mail weighing up to 70 pounds in total.
PSE Mail Processing Clerk
Contrary to City Carrier Assistants, Mail Processing Clerks rarely come into contact with customers. They work inside postal facilities where they process incoming and outgoing mail, either with machines or by manually sorting and distributing the mail.
As a Mail Processing Clerk, you should be able to:
- read and sort mail quickly and accurately.
- gather and move processed mail from one area to another.
- carry heavy sacks of letters or parcels weighing up to 70 pounds.
Mail Handler Assistant
Just like Mail Processing Clerks, Mail Handler Assistants work inside postal facilities and thus rarely see customers. They are the heavy lifters of the post office, opening and emptying sacks of mail and loading, unloading and transporting mail and other equipment. They need to carry sacks weighing up to 70 pounds and push rolling containers weighing up to 1,500 pounds.
Rural Carrier Associate
Just like City Carrier Assistants, Rural Carrier Associates deliver and collect mail, but this time in a rural area and always by vehicle.
Rural Carrier Associate is a long-term temporary position meant to cover for full-time career Rural Carriers who are on sick leave, vacation leave, a day off, etc. The amount of hours a Rural Carrier Associate works a week depends on how big his local postal facility is. If there are few full-timers off work, he/she can work over 40 hours a week, but if it’s a small facility, there might only be a day or two of work a week available. In that case, it is possible for the Rural Carrier Associate to work for other nearby postal facilities as well.
Aside from the job insecurity, another downside is that Rural Carrier Associates need to perform their tasks using their own vehicle. However, they’re compensated on a per-mile basis for doing so.
These two downsides shouldn’t stop you from applying, though, as being a Rural Carrier Associate is often the ideal way to later enter into a career position as a Rural Carrier when a position becomes available at your postal facility. As it requires passing for the postal exam 473, it’s also a good departure point to apply for other jobs within the postal service as interviewers are more likely to hire a known and well-performing temporary employee than somebody that has just passed the exam but that they’ve never seen before.
USPS Data Conversion Operator
Data Conversion Operators transform handwritten or typed addresses on letters into barcodes that can then be scanned and sorted by the machines used throughout the postal facility. They do so by putting the original address into a computer and selecting essential information from it that allows the barcode to be created.
You’d think a Data Conversation Operator just needs to be good at inputting data, and while that’s true, there’s more to it as well. PSE Data Conversion Operators not only have to pass the postal Exam 473 E, they also need to take exam 714, which tests their typing speed and accuracy.
On top of that, PSE Data Conversion Operators can’t work at just any postal facility. Data Conversion is only done in Salt Lake City, UT and Wichita, KS where they have the country’s only two Remote Encoding Centers. These two centers handle data conversion for the entire country.
Automated Markup Clerk
Automated markup clerks also do a lot of data entry, but instead of entering new addresses, they enter address changes. They also process mail and perform other clerical functions.
United States postal service jobs that require the USPS 955 exam
Building Equipment Mechanics
Building Equipment Mechanics perform preventive maintenance inspections, preventive maintenance and complex maintenance work on buildings and building equipment systems (like the air conditioning and heating system).
Perform less complex, more predictive and corrective maintenance tasks that are related to smaller areas of the postal facilities, for example, mail processing equipment, customer service equipment and delivery equipment.
Electronic Technicians are responsible for making sure all electronic activities and tools keep running smoothly. They do preventive maintenance and diagnose problems as well as align and calibrate building and mail processing equipment and customer service tools.
Area Maintenance Technicians
Area Maintenance Technicians are assigned to an area maintenance office that is responsible for several post offices. For these post offices, the Area Maintenance Technicians perform installations, repairs, removals and disposals of equipment.
United States postal service jobs that require the 714 exam
PSE Data Conversion Operator
United States postal service jobs that require the 943/944 exam
An automotive Mechanic is responsible for the everyday maintenance of all motor vehicles (200,000+!) in of the postal service fleet. He/she analyzes the vehicle’s condition and performs routine repairs and scheduled maintenance.
Automotive Mechanics need to pass exam 943, which covers basic automotive mechanic skills.
The Automotive Technician also does routine repairs and maintenance, but besides that, he/she is also able to use computerized test equipment to diagnose more complex malfunctions and fix them. Sometimes the Automotive Technician also assists lower level employees.
Automotive Technicians need to pass exam 943 and exam 944, which covers more complex matter than exam 943. It’s the specific USPS automotive technician exam.
United States postal service jobs that require the 916 exam
Building Maintenance Custodian
Building Maintenance Custodians need to make sure the postal service’s buildings and offices stay in order. They’re responsible for cleaning, housekeeping and ground maintenance, among other things. They often work together with other maintenance workers.
Building Maintenance Custodian is a special job in that it’s reserved for eligible military veterans. To get the job, they need to pass exam 916. This exam tests if they are able to
- stand, stoop, bend and stretch for long periods of time.
- carry and lift things that weigh 45 pounds or more without assistance or lifting equipment.
- follow oral instructions given in English.
- operate power driven tools.
- work at heights, on ladders, walkways and scaffolds.
United States postal service jobs that require the 230/238/240 exam
PSE Tractor Trailer Operator and/or Motor Vehicle Operator
Motor Vehicle Operators drive mail trucks to pick up and transport mail while Tractor Trailer Operators drive heavy-duty tractor trailers for different kinds of postal operations. Each job requires you to pass a different exam and there’s also an exam for those who’d like to perform both jobs.
Motor Vehicle Operators need to pass exam 230.
Tractor Trailer Operators need to pass exam 240.
Those who want to do both luckily don’t need to pass two exams, but they do need to take the more extensive exam 238.