U.S. Postal Service Inspector Career, Salary and Training Info

Investigating criminal, civil, and administrative violations of laws related to the postal service is the jurisdiction of a U.S. Postal Service Inspector.

Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement agents who are armed and authorized to make arrests. They serve subpoenas, execute search warrants, restrain suspects, and provide testimony when needed.

The hours are long and irregular and a position as a U.S. Postal Service Inspector may require relocation.

U.S. Postal Service Inspector Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 21 and 36 ½. Applicants who complete the recruitment process have to start their first duty assignment before they are 37. This age restriction does not apply to applicants with experience in a federal civilian law enforcement position (non-military).

A four year degree from an accredited college or university is required as is the ability to write and speak clearly in English. Felony or domestic violence convictions will disqualify you and you must be willing to relocate as needed. Good physical condition is needed as sustained rigorous activity may be required. Please note that as an applicant for the United States Postal Inspector position you are subject to a drug test.

Additional consideration is given to candidates who posses one of the four special knowledge tracks. Applicants without at least one special track will be viewed as minimally qualified for the position. Those special tracks are language skills, postal experience, specialized non-postal experience, and academic achievement.

All applicants are subject to polygraph examination, background investigation, drug screening, medical assessment, and an orientation course.

U.S.P.S. Inspector Education and Training

The basic training course at the Career Development Division covers academics, firearms, physical fitness, defensive tactics, and practical exercises. You must fully participate in all phases of the training. Failure to pass any of the academic and performance levels will result in termination of your appointment.

U.S. Postal Service Inspector Salary

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply to Postal Inspectors so they do not receive overtime pay. Salaries correspond to the GS pay scale for law enforcement officers with newly hired Postal Inspectors entering at the GS9 to GS12 level depending on their qualifications. The pay of the applicant’s current position is considered when entry level salary is established. Each GS level contains multiple pay grades.

Locality pay and law enforcement availability pay are given in addition to the basic salary. Various parts of the country determine locality pay which can range from 13.86% to 34.35% of the base salary. Inspectors in Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories receive cost-of-living allowances determined by the Office of Personnel.

Upon graduation from the training academy, LEAP adds approximately 25% to the U.S. Postal Service Inspector’s salary.

The benefits package may be the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System. Added to that package are relocation benefits and a lump sum payment that allows Post Inspectors to exchange unused leave hours for a lump sum payment once per year.

U.S. Postal Service Inspector Career Opportunities

Only the best candidates succeed in qualifying as a U.S. Postal Service Inspector, and with relatively few positions available, the bar is set very high.

Those who qualify receive excellent base pay that may be increased by 50% by cost of living, locality adjustments, and LEAP pay. You will have all costs of relocation paid even for your first duty station. The steps of each GS level allow pay to increase within your GS classification and you can progress to higher classifications as you gain experience and seniority.

The work can be difficult, and the hours erratic, but it is an interesting career that leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment and purpose; as the work is necessary to the well being of the country. You can retire at age 50 after working 20 years or at any age after serving 25 years as a U.S. Postal Service Inspector.

Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

3 comments… add one
  • Dustin Higgins

    Does anyone have any experience with the polygraph testing to know what questions they ask? I’m sure it has to do with past drug use and things of that nature but I was just wondering. Thanks!

  • Anthony Pondillo

    Good Afternoon:

    I am interested in a position as a US Postal Inspector with the US Postal Service as I have experience as a Law Enforcement Officer and would like to further my career. Thank you for your consideration.

    Anthony Pondillo

  • Trevor Shade

    Good afternoon,

    I’m not sure if anyone monitors this website but I’ll ask my question anyway.
    In just over 1 year my qualifications will be as follows:

    1.) Masters degree in criminal justice. GPA: 4.0
    2.) Bachelors degree in criminal justice: GPA: 3.76
    3.) Army Reserve veteran, with six years of service, one overseas deployment, and the last two years of the contract in a leadership position as a sergeant.
    4.) Various part-time/ full-time-summer jobs, generally dealing with guests as a security guard.

    Are my qualifications about the same as everyone else on here, or do I stand out a little? I’m 23, and I really wish to be a part of this organization.

    Thanks for any insight from anyone.

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