The first few weeks at any new job can be overwhelming, but in large organizations, there are always guidelines for staying on track and learning the day-to-day duties.
In fact, getting a job at the United States Postal Service can be a challenge.
However, once you do accept that formal offer of employment, you can expect to go through their training program. But what is USPS training and what is its purpose? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
What Is USPS Training In 2023?
The United States Postal Service requires all new hires to go through their training program, which takes place during new-employee orientation. This is where new employees get more in-depth into USPS employment policies and guidelines and begin to learn how to perform their daily duties. As well, training/orientation time is paid at the employee’s starting rate as of 2023.
If you’d like to learn more about what training is like at USPS, how long you can expect it to last, what else happens at orientation, and more, keep reading for more facts!
What Is Training Like For USPS?
Training to work for the United States Postal Service takes place during new-employee orientation.
For some of it, new hires are grouped together, but they eventually break off into groups by position to learn the specifics of the job for which they were hired. The training protocols are as follows:
According to the USPS Academy, you can expect the entire orientation to take about two weeks. The first couple of days are “general orientation.”
It’s also when (for people who are brought in to complete general orientation on-site) you will take your oath to uphold the federal regulations of the Post Office.
In fact, for all new hires into positions which handle mail, you can’t touch any of it until you have taken the Oath of Office, because mail is protected by federal law.
Afterward, you can expect to receive the employee handbook, with all the rules, regulations, and guidelines for employment at the Postal Service.
Next, you’ll follow along with a Power Point presentation (or something in that style), which will go over the contents of the handbook, plus some additional information.
Interestingly, some new hires can expect to experience the first few days from their home!
Depending on how far they are from a Post Office (and their internet connection), sometimes new employees participate in general orientation remotely.
A new hire on the FederalSoup message board described the first day as almost eight hours, and the second as much shorter.
However, they were training as a Postal Support Employee (PSE) and noted that the carriers had a full shift on the second day as well.
After general orientation, on-the-job training begins. Carriers, as an example, will go through driver training, learning how to handle the right-hand drive vehicles and best practices for safe-driving.
The next step for new hires is Shadow Day, where the newbies follow along with an established Postal worker in their position, watching what they do and learning more about the job.
Finally, there is a whole special training program for mail carriers, called Carrier Academy, where prospective carriers get into the nuts and bolts of the position.
The Postal Service wants to prepare their carriers as thoroughly as possible, because in this position, there are many variables for how a day can go awry.
Carrier Academy includes 32 hours of classroom instruction, including lectures and discussions, plus an overview of everything from scanners to marketing products to customers.
Where Is USPS Orientation Held?
According to this outline from USPS.com, training can occur in a variety of locations.
You will most likely be assigned based on proximity to any of the following:
- Postal Service training centers
- Local Post Offices
- The Learning and Development Department at Headquarters
- National Center for Employee Development
- William F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development
- Other training sites, as appointed
- Online with video conferencing
- Online through web-based training programs (HERO)
You might complete part of the training online and then the rest in-person; or, depending on what they decide, you’ll do the entire thing in-person.
How Long Is The Training For USPS?
New hires can expect the full orientation experience to last two weeks, with the initial two days dedicated to general orientation.
The rest of the time is then dedicated to job-specific training, which might include driver training for letter carriers, or window training for PSEs.
Is USPS Training Paid?
USPS new-employee training is paid, which is provided for under Section 438.222 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, stating the following:
“All employees are eligible for compensation for any training time which occurs during their established hours of service on a scheduled workday.”
Trainees can expect to receive the hourly wage for which they received an offer and agreed.
Further, some trainees may have to travel to attend orientation (ex. the employee who commented on FederalSoup was required to travel).
Also, USPS provides all the training materials for employees, including tuition, fees, books, and supplies (you don’t have to purchase any of those materials for training).
Does USPS Offer Ongoing Training?
The USPS online training program I mentioned above, HERO, also offers opportunities for ongoing learning to USPS employees.
These courses are all free of charge to employees, and they can be completed at the employee’s own pace.
Completion of these programs gives employees the option to get a leg up on their competition and show that they have the motivation to move up the ladder.
Unfortunately, though, the courses are only for off-the-clock time and employees are not paid for participating.
Training with USPS is a two-week process which starts with general orientation, before moving into more specific job instruction.
Orientation and training are not only provided to acquaint new hires with their job duties, but is also a final opportunity for individuals to decide if working at the Postal Service is truly what they want.