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Career and Education Opportunities for Mail Clerks in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for mail clerks in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 8,370 jobs for mail clerks in Illinois and this is projected to shrink by 9% to 7,590 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for mail clerks are expected to shrink by about 11.8%. In general, mail clerks prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution.

The income of a mail clerk is about $11 per hour or $23,540 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $12 per hour or $25,100 per year on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Postal, people working as mail clerks in Illinois earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Postal nationally.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a mail clerk. The most common level of education for mail clerks is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a mail clerk if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Mail Clerk

In general, mail clerks prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. They also use hand or mail handling machines to time stamp, open, and route incoming mail; and address, seal, and affix postage to outgoing mail or packages.

Mail clerks verify that items are addressed correctly, marked with the proper postage, and in suitable condition for processing. They also seal or open envelopes, by hand or by using machines. Equally important, mail clerks have to fold letters or circulars and insert them in envelopes. Finally, mail clerks place incoming or outgoing letters or packages into sacks or bins on the basis of destination or type, and place identifying tags on sacks or bins.

Every day, mail clerks are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for mail clerks to affix postage to packages or letters by hand, or stamp materials, using postage meters. They are often called upon to clear jams in sortation equipment. They also lift and unload containers of mail or parcels onto equipment for transportation to sortation stations. They are sometimes expected to add ink, fill paste reservoirs, and change machine ribbons when needed. Somewhat less frequently, mail clerks are also expected to remove containers of sorted mail/parcels, and transfer them to designated areas in line with established procedures.

Mail clerks sometimes are asked to contact delivery or courier services to organize delivery of letters and parcels. They also have to be able to inspect mail machine output for defects; decide on how to remove causes of any defects and accept and check containers of mail or parcels from large volume mailers and contractors. And finally, they sometimes have to answer inquiries regarding shipping or mailing policies.

Like many other jobs, mail clerks must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • File Clerk. File correspondence, cards, and other records in alphabetical or numerical order or according to the filing system used. Locate and remove material from file when requested.
  • Mail Carrier and Clerk. Sort mail for delivery. Deliver mail on established route by vehicle or on foot.
  • Office Machine Operator. Operate one or more of a variety of office machines, such as photocopying, photographic, and duplicating machines, or other office machines.
  • Order Filler. Fill customers' mail and telephone orders from stored merchandise in accordance with specifications on sales slips or order forms. Duties include computing prices of items, completing order receipts, keeping records of out-going orders, and requisitioning additional materials, supplies, and equipment.
  • Payroll Bookkeeper. Compile and post employee time and payroll data. May compute employees' time worked, production, and commission. May compute and post wages and deductions. May prepare paychecks.
  • Postal Clerk. Perform any combination of tasks in a post office, such as receive letters and parcels; sell postage and revenue stamps, postal cards, and stamped envelopes; fill out and sell money orders; place mail in pigeon holes of mail rack or in bags according to State, address, or other scheme; and examine mail for correct postage.
  • Postal Service Mail Sorter Operator. Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Examine, sort, and route mail by State, type of mail, or other scheme. 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. Must complete a competitive exam.
  • Procurement Clerk. Compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
  • Production Proofreader. Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors.
  • Shipping and Receiving Clerk. Verify and keep records on incoming and outgoing shipments. Prepare items for shipment. Duties include assembling, addressing, and shipping merchandise or material; receiving, unpacking, verifying and recording incoming merchandise or material; and arranging for the transportation of products.
  • Statement Clerk. Prepare and distribute bank statements to customers, answer inquiries, and reconcile discrepancies in records and accounts.
  • Weighter. Weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment for the purpose of keeping relevant records. Duties are primarily clerical by nature.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mail Clerk Training

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated two students in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated three students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.