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How to Become a Courier or Messenger

Although there is no educational requirement for entering the occupation, employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates. Most couriers and messengers train informally on the job. Almost all couriers and messengers are required to have a valid state driver’s license and a good driving record.


Most courier and messenger jobs do not have strict education requirements. However, a high school diploma or its equivalent can be helpful in finding a job. Some employers will only hire candidates who have a high school diploma or GED.


Couriers and messengers typically train informally on the job. They usually work alongside an experienced courier or messenger for 1 to 2 weeks and help with tasks such as loading and unloading packages and collecting signatures or payments. Once trainees understand the collection and delivery process, they are generally expected to work on their own.

Many courier and delivery contractors specialize in delivering sensitive items, such as medical specimens or donated organs. In these cases, employers generally provide specific training that may last from several hours to a few days, depending on the item.

Important Qualities

Bookkeeping skills. Accurate record keeping is necessary for tracking deliveries, payments, signatures, and other important information. This is especially true for self-employed couriers and messengers.

Customer-service skills. Because couriers and messengers frequently interact with clients, they must be courteous, polite, and ready to answer customers’ questions regarding deliveries, payments, and other issues.

Directional skills. Couriers and messengers spend a considerable amount of time traveling to make deliveries. Therefore, they must be familiar with delivery routes and areas and have a good sense of direction.

Time-management skills. Couriers and messengers must often make deliveries on tight time schedules. As a result, they must be able to plan their day and make deliveries efficiently so items do not arrive late.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition