Postmasters serve as the leaders of individual post offices. The U.S. Postal Service doesn't require a college degree to hire you as a postmaster, but you must pay your dues working in different positions within the USPS before being considered for a postmaster position. Once you earn the position of postmaster, expect a median wage of $62,080, according to the 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To be considered for any postal job, including postmaster, you must meet several requirements. If you're a U.S. citizen with a high school degree who can pass a criminal background check and drug test, as well as the government's civil service exam, you're a candidate as a post office employee. Males must be registered with the Selective Service System, and if you start out delivering mail, you must have a clean driving record. To be hired as a postmaster, you must first move up through the ranks and then complete post office-specific exams.
The USPS hires from within almost exclusively, except for entry-level jobs. When you're hired as an entry-level mail carrier or mail processor in the back office, you have the chance to earn experience and move up within the USPS system. You don't necessarily have to stay with the same post office, however; you can move to other locations within the system to gain more experience. When hiring for the position of postmaster, the USPS looks for people with experience in nearly every aspect of the post office, including processing mail, delivering it and working as a clerk with direct contact with customers. Postmasters must manage all these positions, so knowledge of the challenges of each gives you a well-rounded background. It normally takes several years to work up through the system and learn all the jobs. Not serving in one position -- such as a carrier who never works as a clerk -- doesn't automatically disqualify you as a postmaster, but those who have worked in every position often have stronger resumes.
To move toward your goal of postmaster faster, apply for a postmaster relief position. A postmaster relief fills in for a postmaster on weekends, when he's on vacation or when a post office is in between postmasters. You keep your regular post office job, such as clerk or carrier, and only work as a postmaster relief when your services are needed. After one year of working as a postmaster relief, you can go ahead and take the postmaster exams, which puts your name on the short list as an applicant for open postmaster jobs in nearby post offices.
When considering a career as a postmaster, spend time during your processor, clerk or carrier days taking career development courses offered by the USPS. Although not required to be considered for a postmaster position, these help improve your resume and make you a more likely candidate. The USPS offers courses such as the Associate Supervisor Program, Managerial Leadership Program and Advanced Leadership Program to help you move closer to your goal of becoming a postmaster.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.