Essential Role of USPS City Carrier Assistants: Duties, Requirements, and Career Path

Last Updated on 09/09/2023 by UPS_ Admin

The U.S. Postal Service, a cornerstone of American infrastructure, relies heavily on City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) to ensure the timely and efficient delivery of mail. Dive into the multifaceted responsibilities of a CCA, the prerequisites for entering this vital role, their potential earnings, benefits, and the broader landscape of their position within the USPS. Whether you’re considering a career move or simply curious about the unsung heroes of mail delivery, this comprehensive guide sheds light on the life and labor of a USPS City Carrier Assistant.

USPS City Carrier Assistants

What Does A USPS City Carrier Assistant Do?

A USPS City Carrier Assistant (CCA) serves as an essential part of the U.S. Postal Service team, assisting in the delivery and collection of mail in urban areas.

Primary Duties:

  1. Delivery and Collection: The CCA delivers and collects mail, both on foot and by vehicle, ensuring timely and accurate service.
  2. Customer Relations: They maintain positive relationships with customers, answering queries, and assisting with postal needs like change of address forms or selling postage stamps.
  3. Organizing Mail: Known as ‘casing’, CCAs organize mail by address, ensuring a systematic sequence for efficient delivery.
  4. Handling Different Classes of Mail: Whether it’s personal letters, business correspondence, or legal documents, CCAs handle all mail types. They need to adjust and relabel cases as needed.
  5. Using Technology: CCAs use portable scanners to track parcels or pieces of mail, ensuring transparency and accuracy in deliveries.
  6. Covering Routes: CCAs might have specific routes assigned to them or might fill in for other carriers during their absences due to vacation, illness, or days off.
  7. Observing Route Conditions: While delivering, CCAs note the conditions of the route, ensuring that any significant changes or obstacles are reported and addressed.

Physical and Mental Requirements:

  • Prolonged standing, walking, and reaching.
  • Ability to perform repetitive tasks every day in varying weather conditions.
  • Capacity to lift and carry heavy objects daily.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • A high degree of responsibility and accountability.
  • Ability to read and comprehend English with a High school diploma or GED, preferably with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Basic math skills to handle US currency.
  • Familiarity with postal laws, regulations, and products.

Personal Experience:

As shared by a retired Rural Mail Carrier with 43 years of service, working for the Postal Service can be fulfilling, albeit challenging. There’s a significant amount of responsibility involved, from handling personal and sensitive mail to ensuring timely delivery. Understanding the life events of customers, such as birthdays, marriages, and other significant milestones, becomes a part of the job. This position is not just about delivering mail; it’s about serving the nation’s people with dedication.

However, it’s not for everyone. Those who can’t adhere to the rules, maintain punctuality, or uphold the high standards of the Postal Service might find it challenging to thrive in this role.

What Are The Requirements For City Carrier Assistants?

City Carrier Assistants (CCA) play a vital role in the mail delivery system of the U.S. Postal Service. Those interested in pursuing a career as a CCA should be aware of the following requirements:

  1. Age Requirement: Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Educational Requirement: A high school diploma or its equivalent is required.
  3. Citizenship/Residency Requirement: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or possess permanent residency.
  4. Driver’s License and Safe Driving Record: A valid state driver’s license is essential. Additionally, a safe driving record must be demonstrated and maintained.
  5. Examination: Potential CCAs must take and pass the Postal Exam 473.
  6. Drug Screening: All applicants are generally required to complete a drug screening.
  7. Work Schedule: As per data from December 6, 2014, CCAs might need to work on non-scheduled days, including Saturdays and weekdays, based on the need.
  8. Physical Conditioning: Given the nature of the job, CCAs must be physically fit to walk extended routes and have the ability to carry a fully loaded mailbag.
  9. Salary Information (as of Apr 15, 2023): The position offers a salary of $15.68 to $17.02 per hour, and the payment is made bi-weekly.
  10. Other Skills: Proven work experience as a City Carrier or in a similar role is advantageous but not a strict requirement.

It’s important to remember that while there are foundational requirements for the position, the exact prerequisites and additional conditions might vary depending on specific job listings, regional USPS offices, or changes in USPS policy over time. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on requirements, it’s always recommended to visit the official USPS careers website or contact local USPS offices.

How Much Do USPS City Carrier Assistants Make?

City Carrier Assistants (CCA) at the U.S. Postal Service play a pivotal role in the mail delivery process. For those interested in the compensation details of this role, here’s a summary of the salary information based on available data:

Average Hourly Pay: The average hourly pay for City Carrier Assistants in the U.S. is approximately $19.53, which stands at 33% above the national average.

Do City Carrier Assistants Get Any Benefits?

Yes, City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) do receive benefits. Based on the provided data, here is a breakdown of the benefits offered to City Carrier Assistants:

  1. Hourly Wages: The starting hourly wage for CCAs is $18.01 per hour.
  2. Health Benefits: CCAs are eligible to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.
  3. Annual Leave: CCAs receive annual leave benefits, which provide paid time off for purposes like vacations or personal needs.
  4. Path to Career Advancement: CCAs have a potential path to becoming a Career City Carrier, indicating opportunities for advancement within the Postal Service.
  5. Nature of Employment: CCAs are non-career employees, meaning they do not hold a permanent position. They can be hired on either a part-time or full-time basis based on the requirements of the Postal Service.
  6. Additional Benefits for Full-Time City Carriers: Full-time City Carriers, a position that CCAs can potentially transition into, benefit from health benefits, annual leave, sick leave, and the option to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan.
  7. Life Insurance: All newly hired postal employees, including CCAs, are covered under the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program.
  8. Social Security and Medicare: New postal employees are covered under Social Security and Medicare, ensuring they have access to these essential social safety nets.
  9. Commitment to Employee Well-being: The benefits provided to CCAs are part of the Postal Service’s commitment to ensuring the well-being and welfare of its employees.

While CCAs are non-career employees, they still enjoy a range of benefits, which enhances their overall compensation and provides them with essential health and financial protections.

How Many Hours Do USPS City Carrier Assistants Work?

USPS City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) have variable working hours that can range based on the specific demands of their location, mail volume, staffing needs, and other factors. Based on the provided data:

  1. Standard Workweek: CCAs typically work a five-day, 40-hour workweek. However, they may often be called upon to work overtime, especially during busy periods like the holiday season.
  2. Extended Hours: Some data suggests that CCAs can work anywhere from 40 hours up to 72 hours per week, with potential workdays stretching up to 12 hours. The long hours can often be attributed to high mail volume, staff shortages, or other operational needs. [Source: Mar 20, 2016]
  3. Variability: The official CCA job description from USPS mentions that the hours vary, emphasizing the inconsistency and flexibility in scheduling. Factors influencing the variability include the specific USPS station, staffing needs, mail volume, and weather conditions.
  4. Maximum Working Hours: CCAs can work up to 11.5 hours in a day (12 hours including lunch) and up to 80.5 hours in a week. This suggests that while long hours are possible, there is an upper limit to how much a CCA can be scheduled.
  5. Overtime Compensation: CCAs receive double time or “penalty overtime” for all work over 10 hours in a service day and over 56 hours in a service week. It’s important to note that this penalty overtime does not apply during a specific exclusion period in December. [Source: Jan 12, 2019]
  6. Typical Working Days: It’s common for CCAs to work six days of the week. On any given day, the hours can range from a shorter six-hour day to a longer ten-hour workday. The exact length depends on factors like mail volume.
  7. Minimum Guarantee: If scheduled and they report to work, CCAs are guaranteed at least four hours of work. However, in practical terms, many CCAs often work a full 40-hour week or even more.
  8. Daily Averages: Many CCAs report working an average of 6-10 hours per day. As mentioned, USPS policy does allow for CCAs to be scheduled up to 11.5 hours daily.

While there’s a baseline expectation for CCAs to work a standard 40-hour week, the actual hours can vary significantly based on several factors. Many CCAs work extended hours, often up to 6 days a week, with daily shifts that can range from 6 to 11.5 hours.

How Many Days Can A City Carrier Assistant Take Off?

The days off and holidays for a City Carrier Assistant (CCA) can vary based on scheduling needs, but based on official site.

  1. Standard Days Off: The days off for a CCA can depend on the specific schedule they’re given. Some CCAs might work over the weekends (both Saturday and Sunday) and then get two days off during the week. In some cases, CCAs are required to work extensively over weekends, often putting in more than 8 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. [Source: Aug 15, 2018]
  2. Replacement for Regular Carriers: RCA (Rural Carrier Associate) roles are designed to replace regular rural carriers during their days off (like Saturdays), vacations, or other leaves. The work hours for an RCA will vary based on the specific office and route they are covering.
  3. Holidays for CCAs: CCAs have six recognized holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. For these holidays, they receive straight pay for 8 hours in certain stations.
  4. Annual Leave: This is a form of paid vacation time for CCAs. The amount of annual leave credited to a CCA depends on how much they work. A CCA can earn up to 13 days of annual leave per year based on their worked hours each pay period. [Source: Jan 12, 2019]
  5. Holiday Pay: CCAs are paid for the aforementioned six holidays. It’s important to note that PTFs (Part-Time Flexibles) don’t receive this holiday pay, but they get a higher hourly rate to compensate for the lack of holiday pay.

The specific days off for a City Carrier Assistant can vary based on their individual schedule and the needs of their specific post office. However, they can expect to receive paid leave for six recognized holidays and have the potential to earn up to 13 days of annual leave based on their work hours.

Is City Carrier Assistant A Permanent Job?

The City Carrier Assistant (CCA) role is not a permanent position within the United States Postal Service. Here’s a summary based on the provided data:

  1. Duration: CCAs are typically appointed for terms of 360 days. At the end of this term, there is a 5-day break in service, after which they can be reappointed for additional 360-day terms if their job performance meets standards.
  2. Probation Period: New CCAs undergo a probationary period for the initial Ninety (90) Working Days or One Hundred Twenty (120) Calendar Days from their official hire date.
  3. Path to Regular Employment: While the CCA role is not permanent, it serves as a stepping stone to becoming a regular City Carrier. The transition from CCA to a regular City Carrier can take anywhere from one to three years, depending on various factors like openings, retirements, or promotions within a specific branch.
  4. Seniority and Promotion: When a permanent City Carrier position becomes available, the most senior CCA at that particular branch is the first candidate considered for promotion. Achieving senior-most CCA status requires dedication, hard work, consistent attendance, and patience. The time to reach this position can vary widely, influenced by factors like retirements, promotions, and attrition within the branch.
  5. Non-Career Position: The CCA role is a non-career-track position, meaning it’s not a permanent job. However, it does present an opportunity for individuals to eventually transition to career-track positions, such as a City Carrier, based on performance, seniority, and the operational needs of the USPS.

While the City Carrier Assistant position is not a permanent job, it offers individuals a pathway to career-track roles within the USPS. The progression from a CCA to a permanent role like a City Carrier depends on seniority, performance, and the availability of open positions.


The U.S. Postal Service’s City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) are critical to ensuring timely mail delivery. These essential team members navigate various responsibilities, from mail organization to customer relations. Beyond the job’s physical and mental demands, there’s a deeper connection to the community. Despite the non-permanent nature of the role, CCAs have potential career advancement paths, benefits, and decent compensation. This piece offers a comprehensive look into the life, duties, and opportunities of a USPS CCA.

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