Cashiers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Cashiers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Cashiers process payments from customers purchasing goods and services.

Duties of Cashiers

Cashiers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers
  • Scan or register customers’ purchases
  • Accept payments from customers and give change and receipts
  • Bag or wrap customers’ purchases
  • Process returns and exchanges of merchandise
  • Answer customers’ questions and provide information about store policies
  • Help customers sign up for store rewards programs or credit cards
  • Count the money in their register at the beginning and end of each shift

In some establishments, cashiers have to check the age of their customers when selling age-restricted products, such as alcohol and tobacco. Some cashiers may have duties not directly related to sales and customer service, such as mopping floors, taking out the trash, and other custodial tasks. Others may stock shelves or mark prices on items.

Cashiers use scanners, registers, or calculators to process payments and returns or exchanges of merchandise.

Work Environment for Cashiers[About this section] [To Top]

Cashiers hold about 3.4 million jobs. The industries that employ the most cashiers are as follows:

Grocery stores 24%
Gasoline stations 17
Other general merchandise stores 12
Restaurants and other eating places 8
Department stores 6

Most cashiers work in retail establishments such as grocery stores, gasoline stations, and other general merchandise stores.

The work is often repetitive, and cashiers spend most of their time standing behind counters or checkout stands. Dealing with dissatisfied customers can be stressful.

Cashier Work Schedules

Cashier work hours vary by employer, and sometimes require them to work during weekends and holidays. Some cashiers employed in establishments that operate 24 hours a day, such as gasoline stations, work overnight shifts. Part-time work is common.

Employers may restrict the use of time off from Thanksgiving through early January because that is the busiest time of year for most retailers.

How to Become a Cashier[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Cashiers near you!

Cashiers are trained on the job. There are no formal education requirements to become a cashier.

Cashier Education

Although most jobs for cashiers have no specific education requirements, some employers may prefer applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Cashiers should have a basic knowledge of mathematics, because they need to be able to make change and count the money in their registers.

Cashier Training

Cashiers receive on-the-job training, which may last a few weeks. An experienced worker typically helps new cashiers learn how to operate equipment such as scanners or registers.

Advancement for Cashiers

Working as a cashier is often a steppingstone to other careers in retail. For example, with experience, cashiers may become customer service representatives, retail sales workers, or sales managers.

Important Qualities for Cashiers

Communication skills. Cashiers must pay attention to customers’ questions and explain pricing.

Customer-service skills. Cashiers must be courteous and friendly when helping customers.

Dexterity. Cashiers use their hands to operate registers and scan purchases.

Integrity. Cashiers must calculate payments accurately and be trusted to process customers’ financial information.

Patience. Cashiers must be able to remain calm when interacting with customers.

Physical stamina. Cashiers stand for long periods.

Cashier Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median hourly wage for cashiers is $9.28. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.09, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $13.52.

The median hourly wages for cashiers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Grocery stores $9.40
Other general merchandise stores 9.24
Department stores 9.14
Gasoline stations 9.12
Restaurants and other eating places 9.10

Many beginning or inexperienced cashiers earn the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour as of July, 24, 2009), but many states set minimum wages higher than the federal minimum.

Cashiers' work hours vary by employer, and sometimes require them to work during weekends and holidays. Some cashiers employed in establishments that operate 24 hours a day, such as gasoline stations, work overnight shifts. Part-time work is common. Employers may restrict the use of time off from Thanksgiving through early January because that is the busiest time of year for most retailers.

Job Outlook for Cashiers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of cashiers is projected to grow 2 percent through 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. While retail sales are expected to increase over the next decade, employment growth of cashiers should be limited due to advances in technology, such as self-service checkout stands in retail stores and increasing online sales.

Cashiers Job prospects

Job opportunities should be very good, primarily because of the need to replace the large number of workers who leave the occupation each year.

Historically, workers under the age of 25 have filled many of the openings for cashiers. Nearly half of all cashiers are 24 years old or younger.

Employment projections data for Cashiers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Cashiers 3,424,200 3,491,100 2 67,000


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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