So you want to work for the US post office, but what kind of job do you want to do? In general, we can make a distinction between three large categories of United States postal service jobs:
- security and police jobs: inspectors, information technology specialists, postal police officers, security electronic technicians, forensic scientists, administrative support specialists and postal inspector coordinators.
- professional corporate jobs: accounting, finance, legal, economics, education, IT, training, government relations, statistics, healthcare, strategic planning, PR and communications, logistics, marketing, sales, engineering, supply management and human resources.
- delivery and operations jobs: mechanics, technicians, custodians, carriers, tractor trailer operators and mail handler assistants. Read more about delivery and operations jobs
USPS casual jobs vs temporary postal jobs vs fully employed postal service workers
Within these jobs, there’s also the distinction between temporary or “casual” postal service workers and fully employed or “career” postal service workers.
The supplemental workforce or “casuals”
Casual or temporary workers are hired on an as-needed basis and can perform any delivery and operations job or a combination of those jobs. A lot of casual workers are hired seasonally during peak moments for the USPS, for example during the Christmas holiday season. That’s why these jobs are also known as “USPS holiday jobs”. But casuals can also be hired for longer periods of time if the USPS is in need of more workers.
When you’re hired as a casual, you’re hired for a maximum of 89 consecutive work days. After those 89 days, the postal service can decide to hire you for another 89 consecutive days and for an additional 21 days during the holiday season after that. This all in one year, which means that you can work as a casual for 199 days of the year. After that, you either have to apply for a career position (see below), find another job or wait until the next year to apply as a casual again. You can work as a casual for as many years as you like and the tasks you’ll perform are the same as those of workers in career jobs.
The main benefit of applying to be a casual is that you don’t need to take an exam. You’re hired based on your resume, application and interview. However, if you’d like to join the postal service as a fully employed worker, you’ll still need to take the required exam(s) even if you’ve already worked as a casual before.
Working as a casual is also a good way to “get in”. It allows you to get to know the work and test the waters to see if you really do want to become a postal worker.
Career postal service workers
Career postal service workers are those who are fully employed by the USPS and who receive all benefits that come with working for the postal service. Career workers can be employed full-time or part-time and have a fixed or a flexible schedule with fixed or flexible weekly work hours.
For a lot of post office jobs, you’ll need to pass Exam 473 E. Here you can find the study guides we recommend to do that.