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Career and Education Opportunities for Mail Clerks in Elgin, Illinois

Mail clerk career and educational opportunities abound in Elgin, Illinois. There are currently 8,370 working mail clerks in Illinois; this should shrink by 9% to 7,590 working mail clerks in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for mail clerks, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 11.8% over the next eight years. In general, mail clerks prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution.

A person working as a mail clerk can expect to earn about $11 hourly or $23,540 per year on average in Illinois and about $12 hourly or $25,100 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for mail clerks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Postal in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Postal category nationally.

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Elgin area, including four within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree to start your career as a mail clerk. Mail clerks usually hold less than a high school diploma, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a mail clerk if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Elgin 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.


Elgin Community College - Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193. Elgin Community College is a medium sized college located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,821 students. Elgin Community College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated five students in 2008.

Kishwaukee College - Malta, IL

Kishwaukee College, 21193 Malta Rd, Malta, IL 60150-9699. Kishwaukee College is a small college located in Malta, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,134 students. Kishwaukee College has a one to two year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated two students in 2008.

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.

Waubonsee Community College - Sugar Grove, IL

Waubonsee Community College, Rte 47 at Waubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554-0901. Waubonsee Community College is a medium sized college located in Sugar Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,218 students. Waubonsee Community College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.


Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.