Postal Inspector Careers and Job Outlook

Secure and protect the U.S. mail system in a postal inspector career.

federal-and-state-postal-inspector-resizedPostal inspectors work for the United States Postal Inspection Service and are considered federal law enforcement agents.

Most inspectors start off as mail carriers or sorters, but with a college degree and a few other requirements, you may be able to embark on a postal inspector career.

Postal Inspector Duties

Postal inspectors are charged with securing the mail system and protecting the U.S. Postal Service. They have investigative jurisdiction over any criminal, civil or administrative crimes involving the U.S. Postal Service.

Postal inspectors often work with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to solve crimes related to:

  • International mail theft
  • Identity theft
  • Bank fraud
  • Armed robbery cases
  • Child exploitation
  • Organized crime
  • International drug trafficking
  • Mail bombs
  • International terrorism

Postal inspectors are expected and required to do the following:

  • Carry a firearm
  • Be involved in making arrests
  • Testify in court
  • Deliver subpoenas
  • Execute search warrants
  • Pursue and apprehend suspects

Postal Inspector Education and Qualifications

Becoming a postal inspector is very competitive so having special knowledge or skills can help you stand out from other candidates.

Aside from general requirements like citizenship, age, criminal background and other factors, aspiring postal inspectors are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Due to the job tasks, a criminal justice or law enforcement degree can familiarize you with what your career might entail.

Certain areas of “special knowledge” can also help candidates be more competitive. These areas include:

  • Language skills
  • Postal experience
  • Specialized non-postal skills
  • Academic achievement

Postal Inspector Salary and Job Outlook

Postal inspector salaries are based on the Inspection Service Law Enforcement (ISLE) pay scale which corresponds to the General Schedule pay scale. According to the most recent special base rates for law enforcement, salaries start at $42,948 but increase as you move to different grade and step levels. You may also be eligible for locality pay and law enforcement availability pay.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, job growth for criminal investigators is expected to be about 10 percent through 2026, which is slightly faster than average.

Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Sources: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/employment/eligibility.aspx, www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/2016/general-schedule/

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