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Messenger or Courier

Messengers and couriers sort, collect, and deliver letters, messages, packages, or palletized freight. They run errands, distribute office supplies, complete paperwork, and perform related duties.

Also Known As

Courier, Driver, Package Handler

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 1463: Couriers, Messengers and Door-to-Door Distributors

2006 NOC-S

  • B563: Couriers, Messengers and DoortoDoor Distributors

2011 NOC

  • 1513: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors

2016 NOC

  • 1513: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors

2021 NOC

  • 74102: Couriers and messengers

2023 OaSIS

  • 74102.00: Couriers and messengers
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Messengers and couriers have overlapping duties. Messengers typically move documents from one location to another over short distances. Couriers do this also, in addition to small parcels, often over farther distances. Messengers are usually same day, while couriers may also involve multiday transportation.

Government messengers and couriers pick up and deliver mail on scheduled routes. They also:

  • Load and unload incoming and outgoing mail and materials
  • Sort interdepartmental mail
  • Organize dock areas and bag mail
  • Operate vehicles, perform visual checks, and do routine preventive maintenance
  • Use cellular devices and email to communicate with supervisors, dispatchers, and clients
  • Ensure sensitive documents are handled safely, and vehicles and their contents are secure at all times

Messengers employed in large businesses have duties similar to those in government. They may operate postage meters, envelope sealers, or simple duplicating machines. They may oversee a stockroom. Bank messengers collect and deliver cheques, securities, mail, and other items.

Couriers work for or are contracted by delivery businesses providing letter, package, and freight pickup and delivery services on short notice or prescheduled runs. They generally operate vehicles, ranging from small cars and vans to five-ton trucks. They may need to complete paperwork detailing their activities. Some messengers in congested urban areas walk or use bicycles in the downtown core or during peak seasons.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 23, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

In general, messengers and couriers use radio dispatch or cellular communication systems to keep in touch with dispatchers. They may be required to lift heavy packages weighing up to 32 kg (70 lbs) unassisted. They use equipment to move heavier items. This is most often an outdoor job. Couriers should expect to work in all kinds of weather.

Most office messengers work regular office hours. However, some commercial companies require messengers to work shifts, including early mornings or late evenings. Couriers who work on a contract basis sometimes work 12-hour days.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Couriers, Messengers and Door-to-Door Distributors

2006 NOC: 1463

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in copying information to keep records of delivery transactions using delivery information acquisition devices


Interest in handling to deliver newspapers, flyers, handbills, telephone directories and similar items to residences and businesses, and to hand-deliver mail to addressees within an organization and to establishments by walking or cycling


Interest in assisting customers by picking up and delivering messages, letters, envelopes, parcels, airline tickets, legal documents, packages, cheques, bonds, securities and other items

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Messengers and couriers need:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Physical fitness, with an ability to lift up to 35 kg
  • Self-motivation
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Conflict-resolution skills
  • The ability to determine the best routes for pickups and deliveries
  • The ability to adjust to changing conditions and customer needs

Couriers must be able to read maps and locate addresses efficiently. They should enjoy variety and working with little direction from others.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors

2016 NOC: 1513

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 15 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 25, 2021 and May 07, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Work under pressure
Tasks: Deliver and pick up messages, parcels, and other items by hand
Work Setting: Courier company
Attention to detail
Tasks: Follow directions and read map
Construction Specialization: Dependability
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Organized
Tasks: Keep a record of items received and delivered
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 23, 2023
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no standard minimum education requirements in this occupation. However, employers may require applicants to have a high school diploma and be computer literate.

Messengers and couriers who operate vehicles must have an appropriate, valid driver’s licence. Employers require a minimum period of driving experience and a clear driving record.

Couriers must have no criminal record (often they must be “bondable” as they may be required to enter bonded warehouses). They should have a good knowledge of the city in which they wish to work. Those hired on a contract basis must own a dependable vehicle and may be required to pay for insurance and cargo bond licensing.

Depending on the industry, training related to handling or transporting dangerous goods may be required.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 23, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Messengers and couriers work for large businesses, governments, and private courier companies. Couriers must be acceptable to an insurance company as law-abiding, responsible persons (bondable).

Couriers may be employees or self-employed contract workers. Where couriers work on a contract basis, the company may provide communication equipment, uniforms, and documents. Other courier companies provide vehicles and pay an hourly wage. In some organizations, employees are represented by a union.

Couriers may start out doing general delivery from a call board. They may progress to more regular or dedicated routes when they have demonstrated that they are responsible and reliable. Without further education, opportunities to advance may be limited.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 1513: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors occupational group, 79.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 1513: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 4% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 108 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Mar 23, 2023. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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