Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators

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About the Job

Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Examine, sort, and route mail. Load, operate, and occasionally adjust and repair mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery. Keep records of shipments, pouches, and sacks; and other duties related to mail handling within the postal service.

It is also Called

  • ZMT Operator (Zip Mail Translator Operator)
  • Sorting Machine Operator
  • Sorter
  • Small Package and Bundle Sorter Clerk (SPBS Clerk)
  • Postal Transportation Clerk
  • Postal Service Mail Processor
  • Post Office Markup Clerk
  • Parcel Post Distribution Machine Operator (PDPMO)
  • Operations Label Clerk
  • Mailing Section Clerk
View All

What They Do

  • Accept and check containers of mail from large volume mailers, couriers, and contractors.
  • Cancel letter or parcel post stamps by hand.
  • Weigh articles to determine required postage.
  • Search directories to find correct addresses for redirected mail.
  • Dump sacks of mail onto conveyors for culling and sorting.
  • Train new workers.
  • Rewrap soiled or broken parcels.
  • Distribute incoming mail into the correct boxes or pigeonholes.
  • Load and unload mail trucks, sometimes lifting containers of mail onto equipment that transports items to sorting stations.
  • Open and label mail containers.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: CR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Conventional interests, but also prefer Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Relationships and Working Conditions in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.


In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $51,070 with most people making between $34,310 and $58,570


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 6,170 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 4,090 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 70 replacement openings for approximately 70 total annual openings.

Industries that Employ this Occupation

Industry breakdown is not available for this occupation

Pennsylvania Department of Education