How to Become a Cashier

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


There are millions of businesses around the United States and the world that sell products and services to the public. In all of these businesses, cashiers are essential personnel that register the sale of merchandise and collect a variety of forms of payment.

What does a cashier do?

Cashiers are trained workers who operate cash registers for a variety of businesses such as department stores, grocery stores, gasoline service stations, restaurants, movie theaters, and many others. They total bills, receive payment, give out change and receipts, fill out forms, handle returns and exchanges, and place items in bags. Cashiers are typically assigned a register and given a drawer with a certain amount of money. They must count the drawer to ensure that it contains the right amount of money. Cashiers must also verify the age of customers wishing to purchase tobacco or alcohol. Most cashiers use computers and scanners, but some enter product information and price manually. They also perform other duties such as answering customer questions, helping customers locate an item, returning unwanted items, weighing food, stocking shelves, and performing cleaning duties. Some cashiers sell money orders, lottery tickets, and stamps and others operate ticket-dispensing machines.

What kind of training does a cashier need?

Most employers prefer cashiers with at least a high school diploma. Cashiers learn their skills through on the job training. Experienced workers or managers usually train new cashiers by explaining the operation, equipment, procedures, and policies of the employer. New cashiers first observe experienced workers and are then assigned a register and supervised by an experience employee. Some large businesses provide classroom instruction on topics such as description of the company, policies and procedures, security, and operating equipment. Employers often provide additional training when new procedures or equipment is introduced.

What are the prospects for a career as a cashier?

Employment of cashiers is projected to decline slowly, decreasing 3% through 2016. The growth of purchasing products online and increased use of self-service checkout systems contribute to job decline.

Job prospects are expected to be good because there is a high need to replace a large number of cashiers that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons. The role is also often a great entry role for many industries, as it allows one to understand how a particular industry generates revenues. 

How much do cashiers make?

As of this year, cashiers with less than one year experience earn average annual salaries between $11,792 and $35,608. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $12,480 and $26,015.

For anyone considering whether and how to become a cashier, this is often an entry-level position or one that can be a great springboard into other related careers. Cashiers must have excellent customer service skills and able to complete repetitious tasks in an accurate manner. Good manual dexterity, basic mathematics skills, and a neat appearance are essential characteristics. Cashiers must also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they deal with a variety of customers and other workers. 

Becoming a Cashier Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Cashier? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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  • Hello,

    I have an adult son who is moderately intellectually disabled and hard of hearing. He works as a courtesy clerk but would love to learn to become a cashier.

    I haven’t been successful finding anywhere to take him for training. He has his high school degree and completed some junior college classes.

    Any help or advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank so much,


  • Hello Anne,

    A high school diploma should be sufficient in order to become a cashier and most employers will provide the necessary on-the-job training. Consider reaching out directly to potential employers in your area. One way for your son to get in is to start in another role and eventually work his way towards the role he wants. Many retail operations allow for this kind of mobility across roles. He just needs to get into the right organization.

    Best wishes,

    College Mouse Team