UPS Package Handler Salary
Online shopping is more prevalent than ever. With services like Amazon, eBay, and stores’ own shopping websites, the need to go in-store to make a purchase is decreasing as the amount of purchases made virtually rises. Once you click that purchase button, you can expect to typically see your package arrive on your front doorstep in less than a week, like magic. It’s not magic, though—these packages set out from their initial places of origin and travel to their destinations through the hard work package handlers and truck drivers.
There are numerous big shipping industries, such as the US Postal Service and FedEx, but the quickest and top of the line service is that of UPS. UPS package handlers are imperative to the success of UPS as a whole, ensuring that our packages get where they need to be in a timely manner. Being a package handler can be a physically strenuous job that should not be undervalued, as they are required to lift heavy packages and load trucks for hours at a time, working at the fast pace that our culture demands.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average package handler salary industry wide is $25,870 per year. While this is not a particularly high salary, those package handlers who work for UPS receive a good collection of benefits. This is also an ideal job for college studentsbecause of UPS’ education program.
This is a male-dominated field, men comprising approximately 68% of UPS package handlers.
The Work of UPS Package Handlers
“It’s just moving boxes, right? How hard can that be?”
UPS package handlers must not only transport boxes and other shipped materials, they must move them quickly. While most packages won’t exceed the weight of 25-30 lbs., it is typically required that package handlers be able to lift up to 70 lbs. if necessary.
And the employees aren’t just throwing boxes around, either. They are responsible for strategically arranging boxes and other packaged materials so that the trucks can carry as much as possible. They also need to ensure that the packages are going to the right place, so they have to actively be mentally present so that a package isn’t sent to North Dakota when it should be headed for Oregon.
During each stage of the shipping process they scan the packages to make sure they’re headed in the right direction, and to provide that package tracking data everyone loves. They also make sure that the packages are in good condition at each stage of the journey, and that they are placed in a position where they will continue to be so.
Because of the highly physical nature of the role, UPS wants to make sure that their package handlers stay productive without the sacrifice of staying healthy. There are stringent lifting and transporting rules to follow to ensure all-around safety. The employees are expected to follow these guidelines at all times.
Though the UPS working conditions can be physically strenuous, they make up for it with their benefits packages. They offer several different benefits programs depending on their employees’ specific needs. These include medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage, in addition to overall life insurance. They also offer various work-life programs and compensation and savings programs so that they can ensure the happiness of their employees. Furthermore, employees who remain with UPS for a number of years will receive retirement benefits.
UPS employees don’t have to be full-time to be eligible for benefits—part time employees receive a benefits package as well. Their insurance can not only cover children, but also the parents of the employees as well if they’re in need.
UPS invests in the future of its employees. They offer on-the-job training as well as professional development opportunities, so that their employees can advance up the UPS ladder and establish a meaningful career for themselves. The program they are most proud of is their Earn and Learn Program. This program assists part time employees pay for school, providing up to $5,250 a year in assistance for up to a total of $25,000. UPS wants its employees to advance within the company and make the most of their employment—helping pay for their employees’ education is a way they try and do that.
Overall, UPS package handlers are satisfied with their work. Though it can be strenuous, it is also physically rewarding, and they are provided with good break times and shifts that are a reasonable length. What mainly contributes to employee satisfaction, though, is the great benefits they offer the employees and room for advancement.
How to Get Started Working for UPS
There is no formal education required to begin working as a UPS package handler, though a high school degree is preferable. The UPS hiring team will look for candidates that are physically fit and have good stamina so that they are able to sustain the strain of the work. Prospective package handlers should also have good communication skills and be able to work under self-direction.
If you do have a degree, you can likely apply for a management position right off the bat. The same applies for if you are completing and of their education or training programs.
The job market for package handlers, in general, is looking pretty good. As we talked about at the beginning of this article, online shopping is becoming increasingly more common and so the need for package handlers and other shipping workers is steadily climbing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2016 and 2026 the job outlook for package handlers will increase by 7%, directly on par with the nation’s average.
UPS Package Handler Salary Range
While the average UPS package handler salary is $25,870, most salaries fall within the range of $20,478 – $32,011.
The main factor that affects the salary levels of UPS workers is education level. While employees coming in with a high school degree and little to no experience will likely receive pay on the lower end of the above salary range, those that come in with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are eligible for management positions that lead naturally to a salary increase. UPS package handler salaries also consistently increase as the employees continue to work with UPS for an extended period of time.
Many UPS workers also make the leap to truck driving. This requires formal training and certification, but the pay is considerably greater.
Highest Package Handler Employment Levels by State
There are a variety of factors that affect the employment levels of package handlers in different areas. One of them is where factories and warehouses are located in the first place—certain states tend to have greater concentrations of warehouses, and so there is a large shipping and transportation need to be filled. Other factors include where the items are being shipped too. This can be affected by both the state’s overall population and that population’s tendency to ship and order things.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data for UPS package handlers specifically, but listed below are the total number of package handlers and related specialties in the top five highest-employing states. Through looking at this general data, it is reasonable to assume that comparative numbers relate to UPS specifically as it is the nation’s largest shipping company. The same general data is provided for the two lists after this one.
- 1California: 343,460
- 2Texas: 190,210
- 3Illinois: 152,370
- 4Illinois: 152,370
- 5Florida: 132,680
Highest Package Handler Salaries by State
The following states offer the highest UPS package handler salaries and material mover salaries as a whole. Because of the conflation of multiple position in the data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we will only list the top five states and not their accompanying salaries.
- 1District of Columbia
Highest Package Handler Salaries by Metropolitan Area
As above, the information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics combines the average UPS package handler salaries with other positions. So, in our list of the top five paying metropolitan areas, we will not be listing their accompanying salaries.
- 1Lynn-Saugus-Marblehead, MA NECTA Division
- 2Urban Honolulu, HI
- 3Sheboygan, WI
- 4Stockton-Lodi, CA
- 5San Rafael, CA Metropolitan Division
Final Thoughts on UPS Package Handlers
Working as a UPS package handler isn’t the highest paying job out there, but it’s a great starting place if you have a high school diploma and are looking to take advantage of their Earn and Learn Program. The physically demanding nature of the job means that it is certainly not a perfect fit for everyone, but if you’re physically fit and have good stamina levels then this might be a good fit for you.
Regardless of what the UPS package handler salary may be, UPS certainly does offer an awesome range of benefits. Working as a package handler is a great way to get your foot in the door with UPS and quickly advance.