Tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank. These transactions include cashing checks, depositing money, and collecting loan payments.

Duties

Tellers typically do the following:

  • Count the cash in their drawer at the start of their shift
  • Accept checks, cash, and other forms of payment from customers
  • Answer questions from customers about their accounts
  • Prepare specialized types of funds, such as traveler’s checks, savings bonds, and money orders
  • Exchange dollars for foreign currency
  • Order bank cards and checks for customers
  • Record all transactions electronically throughout their shift
  • Count the cash in their drawer at the end of their shift and make sure the amounts balance

Tellers are responsible for the safe and accurate handling of the money they process. When cashing a check, they must verify the customer’s identity and make sure that the account has enough money to cover the transaction. When counting cash, tellers must be careful not to make errors. If a customer is interested in financial products or services, such as certificates of deposits (CDs) and loans, tellers explain the products and services offered by the bank and refer the customer to the appropriate personnel.

In most banks, tellers record account changes using computers that give them easy access to the customer’s financial information. Tellers also can use this information when recommending a new product or service.

Head tellers manage teller operations. Besides doing the same tasks as those done by other tellers, they perform some managerial duties, such as setting work schedules or helping less experienced tellers. Because of their experience, head tellers may deal with difficult customer problems, such as errors in customer accounts. Head tellers also go to the vault (where larger amounts of money are kept) and ensure that other tellers have enough cash to cover their shift.

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Work Environment

Tellers held about 545,300 jobs in 2012. About 91 percent worked in the depository credit intermediation industry, which includes commercial bank branches.

Work Schedules

Although most tellers worked full time, about 1 in 3 worked part time in 2012.

Education and Training

Most tellers have a high school diploma and receive about 1 month of on-the-job training. Some banks do background checks before hiring a new teller.

Education

Tellers usually need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some tellers may take some college courses, but a degree is rarely required for a job applicant to be hired.

Training

New tellers usually receive brief on-the-job training, typically lasting about 1 month. Normally, a head teller or another experienced teller trains them. During this training, tellers learn how to balance cash drawers and verify signatures. They also learn the computer software that their bank uses and the financial products and services the bank offers.

Advancement

Experienced tellers can advance within their bank. They can become head tellers or move to other supervisory positions. Some tellers can advance to other occupations, such as loan officer. They can also move to sales positions.

Personality and Interests

Tellers typically have an interest in the Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a teller, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Tellers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Customer-service skills. Tellers spend their day interacting with bank customers. They must be friendly, helpful, and patient. They must be able to understand customer needs and explain service options to their customers.

Detail oriented. Tellers must be sure not to make errors when dealing with customers’ money.                                 

Math skills. Because they count and handle large amounts of money, tellers must be good at arithmetic.

Pay

The median annual wage for tellers was $24,940 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 $19,630, and the top 10 percent earned more than $34,320.

Although most tellers worked full time, about 1 in 3 worked part time in 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of tellers is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022.

Past job growth for tellers was driven by a rapid expansion of bank branches, where most tellers work. However, the growth of bank branches is expected to slow because of both changes to the industry and the abundance of banks in certain areas.

In addition, online and mobile banking allows customers to handle many transactions traditionally handled by tellers. As more people use online banking, fewer bank customers will visit the teller window. This will result in decreased demand for tellers. Some banks also are developing systems that allow customers to interact with tellers through webcams at ATMs. This technology will allow tellers to service a greater number of customers from one location, reducing the number of tellers needed for each bank.  

Job Prospects

Job prospects for tellers should be excellent because many workers leave this occupation.

For More Information

For general information about the banking industry, visit

American Bankers Association

FAQ

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com.

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. We recommend the Career Personality Profiler assessment ($29), the Holland Code assessment ($19), or the Photo Career Quiz (free).