Cashiers handle payments from customers purchasing goods and services.

Duties

Cashiers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers
  • Ring up items purchased by customers on scanners, cash registers, and calculators
  • Accept payments from customers and give change and receipts
  • Bag or wrap customers’ purchases
  • Process returns and exchanges of merchandise, which includes inspecting whether the items are in good condition and using the right procedure for cash, credit cards, or other types of payment
  • Answer customer questions and provide information about the store's procedures and policies
  • Help customers to sign up for store rewards programs and to apply for store credit cards
  • Count how much money is in their register at the beginning and end of their 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.

Work Environment: 

Cashiers held about 3.3 million jobs in 2012. Most cashiers work indoors, usually in retail establishments such as supermarkets, department stores, and restaurants. 

The industries that employed the most cashiers in 2012 were as follows:

Grocery stores 25%
Gasoline stations 17
Other general merchandise stores 11
Restaurants and other eating places 7
Department stores 6

The work is often repetitive, and cashiers spend most of their time standing behind counters or checkout stands.                        

Injuries and Illnesses

Working as a cashier can sometimes be dangerous; the risk from robberies and homicides is higher for cashiers than for most other workers. However, more safety precautions, such as limited access to cash and security cameras, help deter criminals.

Work Schedules

Work hours vary by employer, but cashiers typically must work nights, weekends, and holidays. Employers may restrict the use of vacation from Thanksgiving through early January because that is the busiest time of year for most retailers.

Education and Training: 

Cashiers are usually trained on the job. There are typically no formal educational requirements.

Education

Many jobs for cashiers have no specific educational requirements, although some employers prefer applicants with at least 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.

Training

Cashiers go through a brief training period when they are hired. In small firms, an experienced worker typically trains beginners. In larger businesses, trainees spend time in training classes before being placed at cash registers. During training, new cashiers learn store policies and procedures and how to operate equipment such as cash registers.

Important Qualities

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

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

Listening skills. Cashiers must pay attention to customer questions, instructions, and complaints.

Patience. Cashiers must be able to remain calm when interacting with customers who are upset or angry.

Physical stamina. Cashiers must be able to stand for long periods.

Advancement

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. Cashiers with at least a high school diploma or equivalent typically have the best chances for promotion.

Pay: 

The median hourly wage for cashiers was $9.12 in May 2012. 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 $7.89, and the top 10 percent earned more than $13.20.  

Many cashiers start at the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. Some states set the minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.

Work hours vary by employer, but cashiers typically must work nights, weekends, and holidays. Employers may restrict the use of vacation time from Thanksgiving through early January, because that is the busiest time of year for most retailers.

Job Outlook: 

Employment of cashiers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Retail sales are expected to grow, leading to increased need for cashiers over the projections decade. However, employment growth will be limited by advances in technology, such as a rise in the number of self-service checkout stands in retail stores and increasing online sales, which decrease the need for cashiers.

Job opportunities should be good because of the need to replace the large number of workers who leave the occupation for a variety of reasons each year.  

Historically, workers under the age of 25 have filled many of the openings for cashiers. In 2012, about half of all cashiers were 24 years old or younger.

For More Information: 

The Handbook does not have contacts for more information for this occupation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2014–2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh.