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Career profile Courier

Also known as Courier, Driver, Laboratory Courier, Mail Carrier, Mail Clerk, Mailroom Courier, Messenger, Security Messenger, Transporter, Vehicle Delivery Worker

Courier

Also known as Courier, Driver, Laboratory Courier

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$21,840 - $48,340 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Time Management
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Transportation
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Deliver and pick up medical records, lab specimens, and medications to and from hospitals and other medical facilities.
  • Obtain signatures and payments, or arrange for recipients to make payments.
  • Record information, such as items received and delivered and recipients' responses to messages.
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What does a Courier do?

Couriers pick up and deliver messages, documents, packages, and other items between offices or departments within an establishment or directly to other business concerns, traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, or public conveyance.

What kind of tasks does a Courier perform regularly?

Couriers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Deliver and pick up medical records, lab specimens, and medications to and from hospitals and other medical facilities.
  • Obtain signatures and payments, or arrange for recipients to make payments.
  • Record information, such as items received and delivered and recipients' responses to messages.
  • Receive messages or materials to be delivered, and information on recipients, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, and delivery instructions, communicated via telephone, two-way radio, or in person.
  • Load vehicles with listed goods, ensuring goods are loaded correctly and taking precautions with hazardous goods.
  • Walk, ride bicycles, drive vehicles, or use public conveyances to reach destinations to deliver messages or materials.
  • Sort items to be delivered according to the delivery route.
  • Deliver messages and items, such as newspapers, documents, and packages, between establishment departments and to other establishments and private homes.
  • Unload and sort items collected along delivery routes.
  • Plan and follow the most efficient routes for delivering goods.
  • Check with home offices after completed deliveries to confirm deliveries and collections and to receive instructions for other deliveries.
  • Perform routine maintenance on delivery vehicles, such as monitoring fluid levels and replenishing fuel.

The above responsibilities are specific to Couriers. More generally, Couriers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

What is a Courier salary?

The median salary for a Courier is $30,980, and the average salary is $33,010. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Courier salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Couriers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Couriers earn less than $21,840 per year, 25% earn less than $26,110, 75% earn less than $38,020, and 90% earn less than $48,340.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Couriers is expected to change by -8.2%, and there should be roughly 11,800 open positions for Couriers every year.

Median annual salary
$30,980
Typical salary range
$21,840 - $48,340
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-8.2%

What personality traits are common among Couriers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Courier are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Couriers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Courier tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Couriers moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Couriers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Couriers somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Couriers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Couriers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Couriers need?

Working as a Courier usually requires a high school diploma.

Couriers need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Couriers

  • 7.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 35.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 31.7% completed some college coursework
  • 10.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Couriers

Couriers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as transportation, customer and personal service, or public safety and security knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Couriers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Geography
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

Important Abilities needed by Couriers

Couriers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Couriers need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and multilimb coordination in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Couriers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.

Critical Skills needed by Couriers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Couriers frequently use skills like time management, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Couriers, ranked by their relative importance.

Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.