A bank teller is often the first person a customer sees when she enters a bank. The bank teller is responsible for greeting the customer, answering questions and completing her transaction competently. The teller's duties include cashing checks, accepting deposits, selling savings bonds and selling traveler’s checks. In some banks, the teller may accept payments for utility bills and process paperwork for certificates of deposit. Bank managers look for key attributes when hiring a teller that signal the candidate is appropriate for the position.
Bank tellers rarely need more than a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for a job. Some bank tellers may have a college degree in finance, particularly if they are interested in advancement, but this is a typical requirement to obtain a bank teller position. Bank tellers may want to take courses offered by the American Institute of Banking or the Institute of Financial Education to prepare for better jobs such as new accounts clerk or head teller. Correspondence courses are also available. Some banks reimburse tuition for these courses upon successful completion. Although employed tellers usually take these types of courses, some courses are available for ambitious job seekers who want to gain the competitive edge.
Skills and Qualities
The bank manager or hiring department looks for excellent communication skills, strong math skills and a pleasant disposition. A teller makes many transactions every day -- and must settle her cash drawer to the penny at the close of shift each day. Tellers must also possess a friendly and approachable personality since they deal with the public for most of the day.
Banks may require that a teller have previous cash-handling experience. Some banks prefer that tellers have some computer training since they work on computer terminals. Some banks may also require a potential teller to pass a background check.
Bank tellers typically complete a month of on-the-job training under the supervision of the head teller. In larger banks, the teller may complete a week or more of formal classroom training to learn the basics of cash handling. Many banks then start the new teller with simple transactions, such as accepting deposits, before progressing to tasks that are more complicated. Sometimes, banks consider the training period as a temporary or probationary period during which they evaluate the new teller and then decide the future of her employment.
2016 Salary Information for Tellers
Tellers earned a median annual salary of $27,260 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, tellers earned a 25th percentile salary of $23,230, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $31,500, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 502,700 people were employed in the U.S. as tellers.
Liz Jones is a freelance writer with extensive experience in a variety of areas, including digital imaging and the food industry. Jones has been writing professionally for three years. She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Astro Physics.