Cashier Work Description

Cashiers take cash and credit card payments from customers.
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Cashier was the nation's second largest occupation in 2012, according to "U.S. News & World Report." This career also ranks 36th on the list of best jobs in the United States. But cashier work can be boring, and you'll be spending hours serving customers in a grocery, department or other retail store. If you enjoy using your customer service and math skills, and have patience and stamina, though, this may be the career for you.

Customer Service Duties

    You spend most of your time as a cashier greeting and waiting on customers. In a department store, you may help people select clothes or shoes, and then process their cash, check or credit card transactions. If you work for a grocery store, you may also process coupons and bag groceries. Additional duties may include exchanging or replacing merchandise for customers and assisting them with price checks. You may also answer customers' questions and inform them of store policies and procedures.

Administrative Duties

    Cashier administrative duties are usually performed at the beginning and end of shifts. For example, you may start your day by counting the cash in your cash register drawer. And before you leave, you reconcile sales receipts with the total amount of money you collected. Reconciliation ensures that your draws are not significantly short or long, which means collecting more money than you should have -- unintentionally, no doubt. Additionally, you may return merchandise to shelves during slow periods and clean your counters.

Work Life

    You spend many hours on your feet as a cashier. Your weekly shifts may include a combination of days, evenings and weekends. The job may get stressful during busy periods, such as during the holiday season. And you may face dangerous situations at times, as robbers frequently target cashiers. About 25 percent of all cashiers work in grocery stores, according to the BLS.

Education and Training

    A high school education is sufficient for cashier work. A high school diploma or GED can increase your chances of being promoted, versus not having one. Most training occurs on the job. But some more exclusive retailers may hold more formal training, including classroom instruction and practical experience during non-peak hours.

Average Salary Ranges

    The average annual salary for a cashier is $20,230 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. If you are among the top 10 percent in earnings, you would make over $26,920 per year. As for industries, rail transportation paid the highest salaries, with $42,130 per year. Grocery and department stores paid $21,200 and $19,220 per year, respectively. The top-paying states for cashiers were Washington, Alaska and California -- $25,350, $24,400 and $23,450 per year, respectively.

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