Requirements to Get Hired at the Post Office




There are ten basic requirements to be considered for employment with the Postal Service.

  1. Must be 18 years old at the time of appointment or 16 years old with a high school diploma.
  2. Must be a United States citizen, a lawful permanent alien (possess a “green card”), or be a citizen of any territory owing permanent allegiance to the U.S.  Being granted conditional permanent resident, refugee, or asylum status does not qualify for Postal Service employment.
  3. Must have a basic competency in English.
  4. Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service System.
  5. Must give employment history for the ten year period effective application date, including names of current and all previous employers (to age 16 where applicable).
  6. Military service is treated as prior employment. Veterans must indicate service and submit Copy 4 of the DD Form 214, Certificate of release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  7. A local criminal background check is required prior to employment. A more extensive criminal history check is completed at employment.
  8. A urinalysis is required, being drug free is a qualifier for employment.
  9. A physical will be given to determine if the applicant is fit to perform the duties of the position that was applied for.
  10. A safe driving record is required for employees who drive on the job. (The Post Office considers no more than two “moving” violations in five years to be safe.)
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83 comments on “Requirements to Get Hired at the Post Office

  1. I attended a interview for a TE City Carrier position and I was told during the interview that since I had been fired from a previous job within the last three years that they could not hire me. Thsi was a non postal related job as well. Have not seen that on the list of requiremtns to get a job anywhere I have looked. Is this a true statement?

    • Hi Jeff,
      Being fired from a previous job is not a disqualifying act. The person who is doing the interview will review the twenty questions you answered on your application. As you know, one of the twenty questions asks if you have been fired recently from any job. If you have been fired for theft, violence in the workplace, or sexual harassment you will not be hired. The interviewer will use his discretion to determine if you will be hired based on your interview. They do not have to hire you. They are usually given a roster of three applicants to interview. They will choose the best applicant out of the three.

      I would suggest that you apply at another office. Work on your interview techniques. Have a good reason why you were fired and why it won’t happen again. Do not badmouth your former employer. This will not help your cause. Good luck!

  2. I’m 40 years old and considering a career change since my factory job is taking a downward spiral! Do you think they would hire someone over 40 in good shape and how long could it take to get a career opportunity? Thanks for all the info!

    • Hi Kenny,
      The Post Office hires all ages all the time. If you can pass a test and the physical you will be good to go. The Post Office is currently hiring PSE Clerks to replace the retiring full-time Clerks. Most PSE’s start around $15 hour. If you get in there and work hard it could lead to a full-time position.

  3. I have been trying very hard to get back on at the postal service. Can you tell me if they will hire former postal employees? I have been trying for everything close to me. I have been put on a selection list for one office while I have been put on prescreening on another facility and one week ago I put in for another position and I plan on putting in for another position in another facility. Can you tell me the difference between prescreened and being put on a selection list? Do they have orientation every year about the same time? How long does it take for the postal service to hire? As you can see, I have lots of questions but unfortunately haven’t found any place to ask and I do not have family in the postal service.

    • The Post Office will hire back former workers if they left on good terms. I’m not sure what pre-screened means in postal terms. They hire based on the test scores by the applicants for each position. You get on a selection list if you score high enough on the test. For example, if they are hiring one clerk for an office they will pull a selection list with the top 4-6 candidates. They will usually interview all of them. They will hire top down and eliminate candidates who are not qualified. The Post Office is in a tough situation right now. They are not following the same patterns they have in the past. Orientation can happen at any time. But, the Post Office has always taken their time getting new people in the door. It is a huge bureaucracy. It takes months to get hired and feels even longer.

  4. I recieved an email saying that I needed take a drug test and physical and then come to an interview at a date that had already passed. I took the drug test and the physical. I have tried to email and call the interviewer to discuss what happened and what I can do, she will not return my calls, and today I recieved a email that I am not eligible for postal jobs. It does not state a reason but I feel as if it was due to missing the interview that was set before the email was sent. I don’t know what to do as the person will not respond to me in any way. What can I do?

    • It sounds like you are not eligible based on your physical or drug test. Missing an interview would not make you ineligible. You may have missed your chance at the position you were supposed to interview. Keep calling the interviewer and leave messages. Try to find a number or name to call on the email you received. You need to find out if you are truly ineligible for postal jobs.

  5. I worked for the service over 10 yrs. Ago, I resigned because I got in trouble and received a felony. Its been 12yrs. Now could I possibly reapply? Thanks

    • The interview will be like any other job interview. Every Postmaster/Manager is different. The main question you will be asked is if you are willing to work 7 days a week and do you have transportation? They may ask about your previous work history. Don’t lie about anything. It will disqualify you if they find out otherwise.

    • I am told that only moving violations count against your driving record. Is a seat belt ticket a moving violation in your state?

  6. I love your website as you post “hard to find” information about postal jobs
    and well written, concise answers. I face a situation that many of your readers will also confront on “driver ineligibility”. I have two moving violations
    in the last 5 years for “unsafe backing” and “failure to obey traffic light
    or signal”. These moving violations are Not “reckless of careless driving” offenses. Yet I was told by the interviewer I was “driver ineligible’ and withdrew my application.
    I also note there has been an update on driver evaluation from “at most
    3 moving violations” in 3 years to “2+’ in 3 years in the 312 USPS manual.

    So where do I stand? Am I “driver ineligible” or can I request reactivation of my application.

  7. I applied for the postal service and also took the test and passed. How long does it usually take for someone to get back to you whether you can proceed to the next step or are ineligible?

    • Hi Kema,

      Once you have passed the test you need to go online and apply for a job. It depends how fast the manager in that department wants to get someone hired. It may be within a week of you applying that you get called for an interview. Sometimes managers and postmasters sit on a list for weeks before calling to set up an interview. It also depends on your test score. The interviews are done from the highest score to the lowest passing score. They may not even get to you on the list. Good luck.

  8. Hi,

    I have been trying to find an answer all day with no success. I just need to know what would happen if I miss an interview for what seems like a particular area. Would that make me ineligible across the board or just at that location. This is my first interview after the proctored test and drug screening. Would they call me in for one particular area or one interview to let me know if I was at all hirable. Ugh. I’m freaking out!! Please help me.


    • Hi Jacob,
      Apply for a position in another building or office. If the facility is large enough you might be OK in another area. Each hiring list is pulled separately.

  9. Hello,
    I applied to many stations for the PSE service clerk positions. About two weeks later, two stations called me for interviews the same day. Five days after, I received email instructions for the background check and drug test. I completed both. Now when I check the applicant cockpit, one station lists me in pre screening, the other lists me on hiring list. I interviewed for both one day apart, although it was the first postmaster who sent the emails for the checks and drug test. I’ve been with the Post Office before, so I know they don’t move as quickly as one would hope. Both Postmasters stated they recommended me, but now the decision will be up to the area HR manager. Is this true? How long should I realistically expect to be waiting? Both stations seemed in dire need of help, according to them. I’m in a bad way financially, this job could really pull me out of the hole. Also, I’m on hiring lists at facilities I have not even interviewed for, but did apply to. What does this mean?

    • They hire in order of test score. It all depends where you are on the list. If they are hiring a lot of employees you will be in good shape.If they are only hiring a few you may have a wait. I don’t know how you can be on a hiring list without an interview. Maybe the manager is approving anyone who has passed the drug test and physical.

  10. I’ve taken the exam, drug test and have sent in my driver record. I receive a call from one of the manager asking if I was still interested in the position I told her yes, but afterward I received an email saying was ineligible for the position. What does this mean?

    • Go to the application site and Use the “View” link after completing the application to see any answers, shown in red, that made you ineligible.

  11. Hi!
    I applied for a postal position, I was e-mailed about taking the assessment test, which I have taken and received an 83.60. It took about 10 days and my status was changed to hiring list. It’s been about 2 weeks and I haven’t received anything more from anyone, is this normal?


    • Hi Tami,

      It all depends on what position you are applying for, how many they are hiring, and how many people are ahead of you on the list.

      Might be tomorrow, or it could be a year.

  12. Hi, I have a question regarding the extensive background check. Is it only a criminal history check the the USPS looks for or do they also pull up other info such as civil records and credit history?

  13. Hi Brian
    what does it mean when you are on the pre screening list.. i have been there for a week now. and im getting pre screened for three different job oppurtunites

    • Being on a pre screening list is the stage right before the hiring list. Once you have been pre screened and score high enough for the position you will be moved to the hiring list.

  14. Hi Brian, I took the test about a month ago and scored an 84.70. I have been putting applications and applying daily as I see any that is close to my house. Two of the 9 that I applied for so far from last week has already put me on the hire list. I wanted to know what this means and what is the process after this step. How long does it usually take a person with a score like mines to get in the door.

    • Hi Michael,
      It all depends on how many they are hiring for the position and what the position is.
      An 84.70 is a great score for the RCA list but not for an office only hiring one or two Clerks or City Carriers.
      Good luck.

  15. Hi Brian
    I took test 473 and scored a 77.5, The position I am waiting for is Mail handler assistant, which don’t require me to take the test.. will my score effect me with getting this position, and how much is the average pay

  16. Hey Brian, I was put on the hiring list had an interiview then asked to go through a background check. My status went from hiring list back to prescreened, does that mean I wasn’t selected?

    • Sounds like it. I would call (or stop in) and talk to the Postmaster or Manager that interviewed you and ask if they have made a decision.

  17. Hello . I applied and made an interview for postmaster relief . Before to make the interview I was in hiring list but a week later I passed to selection list . it was about a month . I still am in the same status . Does any one knows what does selection list mean for a postmaster relief ???. Thank you !!

  18. Hello,
    I am curious, what impact does veteran preference status have on the hiring process? Is it just the preference points included in the test score, or is will the interviewer weigh that more heavily than other prior work experience? I have heard that the post office is very veteran friendly….

    • The preference is given with the veteran preference points. Management is supposed to hire down the list based on overall score. They are not supposed to skip qualified applicants for any reason. They can however skip over unqualified candidates.

  19. I am currently on the pre-screening list for the pse-mpc &sales/serv associate position in all the detroit, Mi 482 zip code area. I scored a 85 on the 473 exam? Do you think that this is a good score to have high hopes? Also, I wanted to know does this position usually start off with close to full time hours? please help! I applied 7/24 and I was still in application entry until 8/2 when the process step changed to pre-screening? Can I stay in the pre-screening process step for a long period of time?

    • It all depends on how your competition has done on the test. 85 is a pretty good score. The position hours will depend on the situation of the office you are in. You will work more hours if they are short staffed. You should move through pre-screening pretty quickly. Then you will have to wait for them to get down to your score. Good luck.

  20. Wow, you seem to have all the answers..I Love it! I took the test & scored a 85.60 & googled the highest score you could get since it changed & and the most common was 86 so I feel like a scored perfectly. Is that true? Also, the day after the test, they requested a BG check and today I was placed on the hiring list (All within 2 weeks). Most of the info I have found says that interviews and drug screenings are done before being placed on a “hiring list,” so I’m slightly confused. Do you know what this means for me? I know it all depends on scores & the list, but is there any other reason?

    • 85.6 is a pretty good score. The scale still goes to 100. Looks like you have been put on the “able to be hired” list. You will take the drug test once someone has pulled you for a particular job. Good luck.

  21. Hello I had a interview, background and drug test. Now HR called me back in to do my finger print and told me to bring my SS Card and Drivers License. What does that mean in the hiring process.

  22. Hi Brian. This is the most helpful site I have been able to find. I am wondering how far back the criminal background check goes. Also, will you receive an email whether you do or do not get the job? Thank you for any help.

    • They should go back until the age of eighteen. You can receive notice by mail, email, or call depending on the job and where it is.

  23. Hi Brian. This site seems very helpful. I was wondering how long a usps background check takes and how far back it goes. Also, will you receive an email whether you are hired or not? Thank you for any help.

  24. Hi Brian
    I applied to 5 positions. One holiday the rest regular. The holiday position has me in pre screen since I applied. How long does it usually take? I only got a 75 on my test. The rest of my applications say application entry.

    • You probably should retake the test. 75 is low. It might get you hired on the holiday list depending on how many they hire. It could take a while.

  25. I just interviewed for a postmaster relief position, they were up front with me and said that my DUI in 2012 may prevent me from passing the background screen, do you know whether it would or not, it is not a driving position that I am trying to get so I wondered if that would make a difference? Thanks!

      • Well I got my copy of my background check in the mail on Monday, and it said under my grade “hit” with a flag next to it, but the only thing that showed up was this DUI. So I logged on and checked my application status and it still said “pre-screening” so I decided to check again today and it has actually changed to “selection list”, does this mean my DUI isn’t going to prevent me from my chances of getting the job?

  26. I scored 77.10 on my 473 exam . I applied to 4 positions Two mail carrier assistant positions ( one in January the other in august) , 1 casual ( august ) and PSE mail clerk ( in March )”. When I check the website to check my application status it says prescreening. I haven’t had an interview or drug test for no position do I call HR , write an email or is my score too low and need to retest

  27. I applied to a seasonal job that start in November and ends in January but if I see a job hiring fulltime thats not seasonal before november comes could i apply and try to get that job or not?

  28. Some years ago, I was with friends that got caught stealing & we were all fingerprinted & put in jail for about an hour. I went to court & the judge dismissed the case. I was never convicted. Would that stop me from getting hired at the post office?

  29. What does “In Process” mean on USPS jobs you’ve applied for website? Should I hear something when it’s at that point?

  30. I applied for 3 postal potions on July 25 and two of my applications says ” Application Entry” while the other says Pre-screening. What does that mean? Also for the exam do I have to take it on my own or do I have to wait till the usps tells me to do so.

    • It depends what positions you are applying for. Some casual positions don’t require the test. Take the test as soon as you are ready. You will get hired faster if you have a score in the system.

  31. Hi, Brian I got a 76.80 on my test I took a drug and background check . I’m on the hiring list for assistant carrier. My question is I got a violation in may 2014 but I did’nt know that the ticket was a violation. I didn’t put it on my application it was not intenually I didn’t know it was a violation. It was a failure to obey highway sign. I stop at the sign but it had a certain time to turn down the street. Will I be disqualified for that if I could explain.

    • That is a moving violation so it does count. As long as you don’t have more violations you might be okay. 76.80 is not a great score. You probably won’t get selected with that score unless they are hiring a large group, or don’t have any other applicants.

  32. Hello, I took the 473 exam and scored a 85.5, I have taken my drug test & I have applied for 5 different positions (3 carrier positions, 1 clerk & 1 “casual holiday term MPA’) and only one says pre screening, the others say application entry. Why is only one moving forward and the rest aren’t? Also I have had my share of speeding tickets (not proud of), and at one point like 4-5yrs ago had my drivers license suspended for 3 months but Ive never had any reckless driving or accidents at my fault, will my speeding tickets prevent me from getting the job, even the ones that are not driving positions? Thanks for all your great responses!!

    • The PO moves pretty slow. You have to be patient.
      You can only have 2 moving violations in the previous 5 years. Sounds like you won’t qualify for a driving position. You may still qualify for a non-driving position.

  33. I have a question please.
    I applied for RCA back in Jan 2014. They did the driving background, and told me that I was ineligible. So I was thinking I was disqualified, and I took my mind off of it. Well just the other day I received an email to schedule an interview for the RCA.
    I’m confused because I thought I was disqualified because of my driving record according to the BC company?
    Are they bypassing it? Can USPS move forward and hire me anyway?

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