How to Become a Bank Teller in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a bank teller. Learn about the job duties, education requirements, and salary information, to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Bank Teller Do?

As a bank teller, you will assist customers with their basic financial needs. It is your responsibility to deposit and withdraw money, cash checks, and process loan payments. You will check the validity of signatures and amounts on checks, as well as verify account solvency during withdrawals. You will need to record every transaction made during your shift, as well as count cash before the end of the day. Basic clerical tasks and ordering bank cards and checks for customers are also a common duty.

The following table provides a basic overview of this career:

Education Required High school diploma or GED
Training Required Teller certificate program (recommended)
Key Responsibilities Verify transaction information, file financial documents
Certification Voluntary certification: Certified Bank Teller (CBT)
Job Growth (2014-2024) -8%*
Average Salary (2015) $27,260*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Bank Teller?

A bank teller is an entry-level clerk who conducts routine cash transactions face-to-face with a bank's depositors and customers. The transactions you handle include deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, and check cashing.

Your specific duties include verifying signatures, dates, and numerical amounts on checks, as well as account solvency before processing withdrawals. Other duties generally include entering transaction information, filing checks and deposit slips, balancing cash deposits, and sorting disbursements.

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

A high school diploma or GED is typically enough education for you to become a teller. O*Net Online reported that as of 2015 around 83% of tellers had a diploma or the equivalent (www.onetonline.org). Math courses can develop your numeracy skills, which are relevant for tellers. Classes in accounting can also help you if your school offers them.

Step 2: Consider Formal Training

Completing a teller certificate program could potentially improve your job prospects. About 6% of tellers have at least some college education, according to O*Net. Program courses prepare for your duties by covering topics such as business math, banking fundamentals, money handling procedures and customer interaction.

Step 3: Obtain a Job

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that tellers would see an employment decline rate of 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted that factors for this limited growth include online and mobile banking, which limit the need for traditional tellers. The average annual salary for tellers was $27,260 in May 2015, according to the BLS.

Step 4: Consider Certification

Although certification is voluntary, by obtaining the Certified Bank Teller (CBT) credential from the American Bankers Association (ABA) you can demonstrate your competence to your current employer or future employers (www.aba.com). Consisting of 75 multiple-choice questions, the CBT exam tests your knowledge of banking fundamentals, teller duties, and customer service. To be eligible you need six months of experience and a letter of recommendation from a senior manager.

Step 5: Advance Your Career

You could try to advance by rising through the ranks with your present employer or by pursuing higher positions with other banks. With enough experience, you could become the head teller. Completing an in-house training program could open the way to a position as a loan processing clerk or bill and accounts collector. Finally, you could become a manager or supervisor of administrative support workers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Individuals looking for jobs similar to being a teller and require at least a post-secondary level of education or its equivalent may consider becoming receptionists, information clerks, or customer service representatives. Receptionists perform basic tasks at the front of an establishment, such as answering phones, responding to customer questions, filing papers, and more. Information clerks are similar to receptionists, responding to customer questions and providing information while collecting data and maintaining records. Customer service representatives, on the other hand, work at companies to field questions and complaints from customers and try to offer answers and solutions to whatever issues they may be having.

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