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How does one apply for a job at the USPS?

You cannot just walk into your local post office building and ask for a job application. That's not how it works. The U.S. Postal Service hires workers to fill job vacancies by giving out entrance exams called the Battery Exams. There are two types of entrance exam offered by the U.S. Postal Service:

  1. The 473-Battery Exam. This exam is for people who wants the position as a Mail Carrier (also called City Carrier), Clerk or Customer Services Counter clerk (also called Sales, Services, and Distribution Associate), Mail Processing clerk, Flat Sorting Machine Operators, Mail Handler, and Mark-Up Clerk.


  2. The 460-Rural Exam. This exam is for Rural Carriers (also called Rural Carrier Associates). The Rural Carrier Associates are non-career entry-level employees who serve on a rural route area before becoming eligible to be Regular Rural Carriers. This entry-level exam tests the general aptitude and/or characteristics and ability to perform duties as a Rural Carrier Associate and Regular Rural Carrier. This exam provides a screening process on job-related criteria for rural carrier job applicants and allows applicants to compete for positions based on their general aptitude (and overall) score.


Rural Carrier Associates deliver mail in the Rural areas. The starting pay for Rural Carrier Associates is $21.45 per hour. To qualify to be a Rural Carrier Associate, you must meet the following requirements:

  • >> Must pass the 460-Rural Carrier Exam.
  • >> Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • >> Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien (Green Card holders).
  • >> Must have at least a high school diploma or a GED or equivalent.
  • >> Must be drug-free and be willing to do drug screening test.
  • >> Must not have a felony conviction of any kind.
  • >> Must have a clean driving record in the past 5 years.


Usually, before becoming a Regular Rural Carrier, all Rural Carrier employees must start as Rural Carrier Associates. This means that there is no Battery Test for Regular Rural Carriers, but there is a Battery Test for Rural Carrier Associates [only].

The entrance exam commonly known as the "Batery Exam" is given to job seekers to determine each applicant's aptitude test score, which the USPS uses to give preferential treatment to applicants whose Batery Exam scores are highest, but not lower than the score of 70. This means that when the exam applicants scored 70 or higher, their scores are placed in a system called the "Register" to maintain fairness, with the highest score appears at the top and the next sub-sequent highest score appears one step lower from one another and continues down to the lowest score of 70. The U.S. Postal Service hires applicants with the highest score first and trickles down to the lowest score of 70.

Here is a snipet of the sample tests that you can test yourself to prepare yourself for the test.

>> To take a sample test for the 6 listed positions,   Please Click Here.

>> To take a sample test for Rural Carriers,   Please Click Here.

The Quickest Way of Getting Hired by the USPS

As of January 12, 2013, a new five-year contract was signed, effectively rendering the test-taking process described above insignificance. However, all prospective applicants still have to take the "Batery Exam" and passed a score of 70 or higher in order to be hired by the USPS. Here is a description about a City Carrier Assistant (or CCA) position. Rural Carrier Assistants (or Helpers) have similar job description and pay scale.

The process goes something like this:

The USPS posts jobs listing on its employment website and job seekers applied to take a batery exam(s). After the test, assuming if the applicants passed the batery test and the USPS wants to hire them, they will be told to show up to do pre-employment screeming paperwork . After that, actual employment orientation commences.

City Carrier Assistant (or CCA)

As of January 12, 2013, a new 5-five year contract have been agreed and signed by the USPS and the unions. The new five-year contract will dictate the course of any future contracts being negotiated. This means that future contracts will look similar to the current five-year contract (2011-2016) unless there are substantial changes in the economic and political systems the USPS faces in the future, and City Carrier Assistant will be the main source of employment offering by the USPS for some time to come.

  • As of January 12, 2013, CCA starting pay is $16.25 per hour. But the new quicker and bigger steps increases will speed up the hourly pay in quite a short time, making CCA hourly pay on par with the rest of the USPS regular employees that have been in the organization for a long time.

  • CCAs have to work long hours without time off or choice of work. CCAs don't have much choice of how much (or little) hours they want to work; everything is being dictate to them and they will have to take what being dictate to them. But when they become regulars, usually in about 18 months to 3 years, and be able to bid on regular positions, then they will have more control of their [lives or] choices. Personal observation tells me that some CCAs were converted to regulars as little as 11 months, and the average CCAs were converted somewhere between 10 months to 16 months from the first day they were CCAs. So starting as a CCA is the quickest way to gain full-time employment with the USPS.

  • CCAs are fill-in helpers who fill in positions absent by regular employees. CCAs get sent out to different area working locations regularly to fill in--in an event any area location is in need of assistance.

    The Oil Boom: Strike it Rich!!

    The Williston/Bakken Oil Field area in Northwest North Dakota and Northeast Montana is experiencing tremendous growth due to oil activity in the area. In fact, the Census Bureau has recently noted that Williston may be the fastest growing metro area in the United States as a result of the oil boom.

    The Dakota District of the U.S. Postal Service is experiencing shortage of workforce there and currently is desperately looking for prospective employees to fill its staffing needs there. This critical shortage may present you an opportunity to gain employment with the U.S. Postal Service quicker and easier than otherwise possible. This critical shortage of staffing need will continue in the years to come due to the tremendous growth causes by the oil boom activity. The U.S. Postal Service is paying for your lodging, expenses, and moving expenses. So if you're interested, please contact (Manager Operations Programs Support) Jan Cassaw at 605-333-2610.

    Strike it Rich!!! And good luck!!!