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USPS Assistant Rural Carrier


Are you searching for a rewarding yet flexible career with the United States Postal Service?

If you are responsible and have plenty of stamina, working as Assistant Rural Carrier for the USPS could be for you. This is a physically demanding job that comes with part-time hours. The main responsibility of this job is delivering mail to customers on a specified route. While this job is ideal for people with minimal work experience, it comes with excellent advancement opportunities. 

So, let’s learn all about the role of USPS Assistant Rural Carrier, including the required skills. 

Assistant Rural Carrier Job Overview

Assistant Rural Carrier Job Overview

Assistant Rural Carriers are responsible for assisting with delivering mail along a specified rural route. These professionals mainly serve as part-time fill-ins for regular employees on their days off. Therefore it is often necessary to cover shifts on short notice when employees are sick or apply for temporary leave.

The rural area covered is usually very large, and employees use a van to make deliveries. However, it is also necessary to work short distances and be able to carry heavy mailbags. It is not uncommon to cover more than a hundred miles during a single shift. 

Duties and Responsibilities

A number of set duties need to be completed during each shift. It is important to fully understand these duties and be able to rise to the challenge. Here are the main duties and responsibilities of an assistant rural carrier.

Receiving packages

At the start of each shift, these employees receive mail from a designated post office or another location. It is important to make sure that the mail is properly sorted and ready to deliver. It is also necessary to load the mail into the van so that it is ready to be delivered. 

Delivering mail

You will be given a route that covers a specific geographic area. You need to distribute mail to all the residential and commercial addresses within that area. This can also include distributing mail to post office boxes and other accepted locations. 

Delivering mail

Interacting with customers

You need to be prepared to answer questions from customers about various services and products. This includes providing information about shipping rates and how to track packages. You will also collect money from customers for shipping services and postage stamps. 

Operating a vehicle

You will be provided with a van, truck, or bicycle to use when distributing mail. You need to make sure that the vehicle is clean and safe at all times. 

Clerical tasks

A wide range of clerical tasks go with this job, such as sorting mail by ZIP code and handling account transactions. You will often operate a computer to enter mail data about delivery routes. This includes creating delivery schedules and recording any issues that come up regarding deliveries. 

Following postal regulations

There are strict guidelines and regulations related to security, safety, and documentation. It is essential to make sure that these regulations are followed to the letter at all times. 

Handling cash

You need to make sure that cash drawers are reconciled at the end of your shift. This includes counting and packaging all coins and currency. Any damaged or excess currency must be turned in to the head teller at the postal office. 

The Work Environment

When the regular carrier is not available, Assistant Rural Carriers take over their duties. It is usually necessary to work a full eight-hour shift on Saturdays and often on Sundays as well. You must be on-call at all times and ready to come to work at short notice.

Although this job mainly focuses on delivery, it may occasionally be necessary to work in a postal office. This involves interacting with customers and selling them different services. It is essential to be a team player and be willing to step into different roles on demand. 

The Average Salary

The salary for an assistant rural carrier depends on the amount of experience and the area covered. New employees typically make between $16 and $17 per hour. This can rise to more than $38 per hour for any overtime you do.

However, the salary also depends on whether you work full-time or part-time. After a few years of full-time work, you can expect to make around $24 per hour or $49,500 per year. The highest-paid people in this role make $84,500 per year, which translates to a little over $40 per hour. 

Additional benefits

In addition to the regular salary, employees receive sick leave, vacation time, and paid training. Overtime pay is available for people who work more than forty hours a week. There is also the opportunity to buy into a specially created group health insurance plan.

Advancement opportunities 

After one year of continuous employment, it is possible to apply for a full-time position. Hiring preference for available positions is usually given to current United States Postal Service employees. This can lead to a long and rewarding career with a competitive salary and benefits. 

The Job Requirements

You need to be at least eighteen years old and hold a valid state driver’s license to apply. Have personal automobile liability insurance coverage and be willing to work on weekends. Here are the other main requirements that you need to meet to secure the job. 

The Job Requirements

Physical requirements

You need to be able to lift at least fifty pounds repeatedly during shifts. You must be able to walk at least six miles throughout an eight-hour shift. Also, be familiar with the local area and be able to follow written instructions. 


You usually need to hold a high school diploma or GED to be considered for this role. Although some carriers hold a bachelor’s degree, this is not a strict requirement. 

Training and experience

New employees are provided with on-the-job training from an experienced carrier or supervisor. This includes shadowing a carrier on their route and assisting them with various tasks. The training also involves instruction on the policies and procedures of the postal service and the correct use of sorting machines. 

Certifications and licenses

A license or certificate is not usually needed to do this job. However, you may need to apply for a license or carrier to work in a post office branch. The exact licensing and certification requirements depend on the state you work in. 

Key Skills and Abilities

It is necessary to have basic math skills to do this job well. There is also a range of hard and soft skills that will help you accomplish various tasks. While the hard skills can be taught during on-the-job training, the soft skills relate to your personal attributes. 

Key Skills and Abilities

Customer service skills

Hiring preference is usually given to applicants who have customer service experience. It is important to be polite and professional at all times. You must always be willing to go the extra mile to provide information and help customers with their queries. 

Attention to detail

This is the ability to notice small mistakes in addresses, attached postage, and other issues. Being able to identify these issues quickly and rectify them will make the job go much more smoothly. You will also need to notice when packages are damaged and handle the issue quickly and effectively. 


Customers rely on postal service employees to receive their mail as quickly as possible. Employers need to know that they can trust you to arrive at work on time and work efficiently. Much of this job is unsupervised, and you need to be able to follow instructions to the letter. 

Critical thinking skills

When issues arise, you need to be able to analyze the problem and work out the best way to solve it. This includes determining the correct address when part of it is smudged or missing. When there are several ways of solving a problem, you need to be able to choose the best option. 

Physical stamina

It is often necessary to walk long distances when delivering mail. This includes lifting heavy packages in and out of vans and carrying them up driveways. You also need to be able to sit for long periods when traveling through rural areas.

Computer skills

You need to be comfortable using a computer and entering data into the system. Make sure that customer data is entered correctly and print shipping labels. A computer is also used to access the USPS website to check the postal route and track packages.

Get Ready To Apply Today!

Let’s take a look at look at a few alternative job descriptions you might be interested in, with my PSE Mail Processing Clerk USPS job description, my USPS City Carrier Assistant job description, and my USPS Mail Processing Clerk Job Description.

Next, we move on to our in-depth guide to the USPS Application, and once you’ve applied, you might want to know Is USPS A Federal Job and what is the USPS Pre Hire List? Although, if you have a criminal record, please check out Does USPS Hire Felons before applying.

In addition, we also have our guide to the UPS Application Online, including How Much Does UPS Pay? for your rates and working hours, along with Does UPS Do Background Checks, and Does UPS Hire Felons in 2023?

Final Thoughts 

Working as a USPS Rural Carrier Associate is perfect for people who are searching for a part-time role. However, you need to have a flexible approach to work, as you will often be on call. You also need to be willing to work in all types of weather conditions. 

This job is best suited to people who have strong customer service skills and attention to detail. If you meet the requirements for this job, you can start searching for vacancies right away. The best way to do this is by heading on over to the United States Postal Service website.

All the very best working at USPS!

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