Cashiers

Summary

cashiers image
Grocery stores are the largest employers of cashiers.
Quick Facts: Cashiers
2012 Median Pay $18,970 per year
$9.12 per hour
Entry-Level Education Less than high school
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 3,338,900
Job Outlook, 2012-22 3% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 86,500

What Cashiers Do

Cashiers handle payments from customers purchasing goods and services.

Work Environment

Most cashiers work indoors, usually in retail establishments such as supermarkets, department stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. 

How to Become a Cashier

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

Pay

The median hourly wage for cashiers was $9.12 in May 2012.

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.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of cashiers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about cashiers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Cashiers Do

Cashiers
Cashiers help customers pay for goods and services.

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
Cashiers spend most of their time on their feet.

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 stores25%
Gasoline stations17
Other general merchandise stores11
Restaurants and other eating places7
Department stores6

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.

How to Become a Cashier

Cashiers
Cashiers need to have good customer service skills.

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

Cashiers

Median hourly wages, May 2012

Total, all occupations

$16.71

Retail sales workers

$9.56

Cashiers

$9.12

 

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

Cashiers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Total, all occupations

11%

Retail sales workers

7%

Cashiers

3%

 

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.

Employment projections data for Cashiers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Cashiers

41-2011 3,338,900 3,425,400 3 86,500 [XLS]

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of cashiers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2012 MEDIAN PAY
Customer service representatives

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives handle customer complaints, process orders, and provide information about an organization’s products and services.

High school diploma or equivalent $30,580
Retail sales workers

Retail Sales Workers

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Less than high school $21,410
Tellers

Tellers

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

High school diploma or equivalent $24,940
Waiters and waitresses

Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

Less than high school $18,540

Contacts for More Information

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

O*NET

Cashiers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Cashiers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/cashiers.htm (visited August 29, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014