Cashiers are responsible for processing customers’ payments and providing customer assistance. Cashier positions are usually entry level and require little formal education or training. Many cashiers hold part-time jobs, though full-time employment may also be available. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.55 million cashiers were employed in the United States in 2008, but employment growth is expected to be slow due to changes in retail shopping habits.
At most establishments, cashiers are given a specific cash register at the start of their shift. They are also assigned a cash drawer, and are responsible for ensuring that the proper amount of money is in their drawer at the end of their shift. Cashiers ring up a customer’s purchase, making adjustments for any coupons or discounts that they may present. They accept the customer’s payment, which may be in the form of cash, checks, credit, debit or gift cards. Once the transaction is complete, cashiers provide the customer with a receipt and any change that he is due. In some stores, they are also permitted to process returns and exchanges. Cashiers may also be responsible for wrapping or bagging purchases. They may have additional responsibilities at certain establishments, such as restocking shelves and issuing money orders. Cashiers are also responsible for providing service to customers who have questions or require additional assistance.
There are no formal education requirements for cashiers. For full-time positions, employers often prefer candidates with high school diplomas, but high school students and others without degrees may find part-time employment. Most entry-level cashiers are trained on the job by experienced cashiers. Those who have experience may receive training for equipment specific to the establishment or new technology that has been introduced. Cashiers must be able to do basic arithmetic and be comfortable working with computers since most cash registers are computerized. They must also be able to interact with customers in a friendly, professional manner since customer service is an important part of their job.
Cashiers work in a variety of places including supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, movie theaters and drug stores. They are often required to stand for most of their shift and must remain at their register unless given permission to leave because they are responsible for the money in their drawer. Work as a cashier can often be tedious, as you must perform the same tasks over and over. In some cases, it can be dangerous as well, because establishments that have large sums of money can be targets for robbery. A cashier’s schedule usually depends on the type of establishment, but most are expected to work nights, weekends and holidays.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wages of cashiers were $8.49 as of May 2008. The highest 10 percent were paid more than $12.02 an hour, while the lowest 10 percent were paid less than $6.88. The middle 50 percent earned between $7.50 and $9.72 an hour.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for cashier will increase by 4 percent through 2018, which is a slower rate than the average for all occupations. The popularity of online sales has led to a decrease in in-store sales, which limits the demand for cashiers. In addition, self-serve checkout stations will decrease employment for cashiers as well. However, because of employee turnover, there will continue to be cashier jobs available, BLS notes. Because opportunities for cashiers are largely tied to the economy, it can be difficult to find work in times of economic downturns.