US Postal Service Inspector
Few federal services are as trusted as the US Postal Service. Millions of pieces of mail are delivered every day. Unfortunately, an organization of this size attracts those who want to use it for fraud, terrorist crimes, or illegal transportation. US Postal Service Inspectors are responsible for supporting the US Postal Service by protecting it from fraud and enforcing laws in the mail system.
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US Postal Service Inspector Job Description
US Postal Service Inspectors oversee and investigate many cases of alleged fraud or criminal activity. As an inspector, you may respond to claims of mail theft, identity theft, mail containing illegal items, and people using the mail service to scam consumers. You may respond to different crimes from day to day, depending on the needs of your US Postal Office and what types of crimes are most prevalent in your area. In addition, if crimes go through multiple states, you may have to travel.
As a postal inspector, you are a sworn federal law enforcement officer. This requires you to be comfortable arresting suspects, serving search warrants and conducting searches of private homes and businesses, and working closely with other law enforcement agencies. You may work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection.
One of a postal service inspectors main responsibilities is protecting the mail carriers that serve their specified area. This may involve responding to possible threats reported by mail carriers and investigating cases of suspected mail terrorism. The investigative part of the job may take up the majority of the time and an inspector may investigate strange substances in mail, like anthrax and other dangerous chemicals.
No matter where you work for the US Postal Inspection Service, your job can be a very important part of mail security. As a postal law enforcement worker, you can ensure that one of the nation’s most important institutions runs smoothly and safely.
How to Become a US Postal Service Inspector
There are several ways to qualify for an inspector job with the US Postal Office. In general, you must have the appropriate education. Furthermore, there are several paths that you can follow to be considered highly qualified for an inspector job. These knowledge tracks include language skills, experience in the United States Postal Service, specialized job experience, and superior academic achievement. The eligibility requirements for an inspector position are clearly outlined by the US Postal Inspection Service.
At minimum, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. This degree can be in any field or specialty. Furthermore, you must have excellent eyesight, great physical fitness, and mental stability. If you are selected for a position, you may have to go through tests to demonstrate your competency in these areas.
Meeting the service’s minimum requirements for inspectors may not be enough to get you hired. Without special knowledge or qualifications, you may only be considered minimally qualified for the job. You can qualify for this job via language skills. This involved having advanced competency in a foreign language. Accepted foreign languages include Arabic, French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Russian.
You can also have special knowledge if you have previous postal experience. You must have experience with the US Postal Service as a contractor, intern, or employee. To be considered relevant, this experience must be in the two years prior to your job application. If you have non-postal work experience or relevant education, you may have specialized skills. Having two years of military experience, a law degree, certifications in auditing or investigations, or highly-specialized computer experience can serve you well as a US Postal Service Inspector. Finally, academic achievement can give you a step up over other applicants. Academic achievement requires you to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher for a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in any field also counts as academic achievement.
After getting selected for a job, you must go through a comprehensive training program. The Career Development Unit offers a training program that delves into four areas: firearms, physical fitness, academic, and practical experiences that are relevant to the job. Completing this training permits you to receive an assignment and begin your career.
US Postal Service Inspector Salary and Career Outlook
The job outlook is generally fairly stable for those who are qualified for a U.S. Postal Service Inspector position. However, it’s important to be flexible. As current inspectors retire, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service may have openings across the country. If you are willing to relocate wherever you are needed, you may have a better job outlook than someone that wants to stay in one specific area. Furthermore, having special knowledge that makes you highly qualified for the job can improve your job outlook. If you know that you want to pursue this career, you can tailor your experience and education to meet the requirements.
Postal inspectors start off fairly high on the pay scale for federal law enforcement employees. Salaries for postal inspectors fall under the general services pay scale for federal employees. According to the postal inspector’s website, most postal inspectors enter the field at grade 10, step 1. In 2017, that was a base pay of $48,297.
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