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Career and Education Opportunities for Mail Clerks in Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for mail clerks. There are currently 1,110 working mail clerks in South Carolina; this should shrink by 11% to 990 working mail clerks in the state 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.

Income for mail clerks is about $11 per hour or $23,170 per year on average in South Carolina. Nationally, their income is about $12 per hour or $25,100 yearly. Incomes for mail clerks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Postal in South Carolina, and not quite as good as the overall Postal category nationally.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a mail clerk. The most common level of education for mail clerks is less than a high school diploma. It will take only a short time to learn to be 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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.
  • Weighter. Weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment for the purpose of keeping relevant records. Duties are primarily clerical by nature.


Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College - Orangeburg, SC

Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College, 3250 Saint Matthews Rd, Orangeburg, SC 29118-8299. Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College is a small college located in Orangeburg, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,605 students. Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College has a one to two year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated ten students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina photo by Akhenaton06

Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.