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Cashiers ring up items at your local grocery store, convenience store and other establishments using electronic scanners and cash registers. There were 3.3 million cashiers in the United States in 2012, making this occupation the country's second-largest behind retail salespeople. But the pay is low, averaging just $9.79 an hour or $20,370 per year. This entry-level position requires no formal education or work experience, and most of the training is provided on the job. However, if you wish to move higher in the company, a high school diploma or additional education may be required. Because cashiers handle cash transactions, applicants may have to pass a background check and drug screen. Many cashier jobs are part time or seasonal, and flexible schedules may be possible.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of cashiers will grow 2.6 percent from 2012 to 2022, with 86,500 new jobs added. Cashier turnover is often high, which leads to opportunities for people new to the job. But employment growth could be limited by advances in technology, including self-service checkout and online sales that may decrease demand for cashiers.
Many cashier positions pay minimum wage or slightly higher. The median annual wage for cashiers was $18,970 in 2012, or $9.12 an hour, according to the BLS. The highest-paid 10 percent in the field made $27,450 per year, or about $13.20 per hour, while the lowest-paid 10 percent made $16,410 per year, or $7.89 per hour. The highest-paid in the profession work in Seattle, Olympia, Wash., and Santa Rosa, Calif.
While most cashier jobs don't have specific educational requirements, employers prefer a high school diploma or equivalent. Previous cashier experience is also a plus. Tia Burden, shift supervisor and former cashier at CVS/pharmacy in Baton Rouge, La., says the work is more detail-oriented than she anticipated. "I learned to be really tedious in my working, especially handling money with the customers," Burden says. "You also have to have a constant smile on your face, especially with unruly customers." On-the-job training includes instruction in operating equipment and company policies and procedures. For some, a cashier position can serve as a stepping stone to higher positions within a company, such as customer service representative and sales manager.
Physical stamina as well as customer service and math skills are essential to the daily tasks of a cashier. Burden says the best candidates for jobs demonstrate that they are responsible and personable. "You have to be patient with people and be careful [with] how you count your money," she says, adding that you must also project "a good personality regardless of how you're feeling." Displaying knowledge of a company and its products can also help you land a job.
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Last updated by Evan Taylor.