Bank Teller: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for bank tellers. Get the facts about education requirements, work responsibilities, salary and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Bank Teller?

Bank tellers are the frontline, customer service arm of the banking industry. Tellers cash checks, take deposits and loan payments, process money orders and traveler's checks, and perform other routine customer transactions at banks and credit unions. This all requires acute attention to detail, as errors may mean incorrect payments or recording. If you become a bank teller, you'll likely work full-time in a single bank branch. You should enjoy working with people either in person or over the phone. You should also be ok with handling money, and be willing to learn how to use computer software or systems to help with your job.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about a job as a bank teller.

Education Required High school diploma
Training Required Short-term on-the-job training
Key Skills Math skills, computer skills, customer service
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) 8% decline*
Median Salary (2015) $26,410*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Bank Teller Do?

As a bank teller, you work the front counter and drive-thru window at financial institutions like banks and credit unions. You are assigned a cash drawer and maintain intakes of cash, checks and deposit slips. Throughout the day, you greet customers, process withdrawals, deposit money and checks, and take loan and utility payments, states the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

It's also your duty to verify check signatures and endorsements, open new checking and savings accounts, fill change orders, and create cashier's checks, money orders and traveler's checks. You may also provide information about the bank's products and services, and perform various clerical tasks such as filing, copying, faxing, preparing mail-outs and making phone calls.

What Skills and Education Will I Need?

Even though sensitive financial calculations are done with computers and calculators, you must still have strong math skills. Some vocational schools and community colleges offer bank teller certification programs. These programs usually last several weeks and cover topics such as balancing a cash drawer, spotting counterfeit items and identifying the parts of a check. Such programs usually provide resume assistance and may even place graduates in paid internships.

According to O*Net Online, 83% of bank tellers have only high school diplomas. Although most teller training is done on the job, some banks may have new employees take similar courses off-site or online as part of the training process.

How Much Will I Make?

In May 2015, the BLS reported the median hourly wage of bank tellers to be $13.10, with a median annual income of $26,410. The bottom 10% earned $9.77 per hour or less, and the top 10% made $17.73 or more. The highest paying states for bank tellers included Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. During this time, Texas, California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania employed the most tellers.

What Are the Opportunities For Advancement?

With hard work, you can be promoted to head teller. Head tellers supervise cash drawer balancing, handle employee scheduling, ship items to the Federal Reserve and coordinate all floor operations.

After working for six months, you may study to become a Certified Bank Teller (CBT) through the American Banking Association (ABA). According to the ABA, the rigorous CBT program provides standardized training recognizable by all banks. The ABA offers a number of banking certifications and professional development opportunities through their Institute of Certified Bankers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a high school diploma, you could consider a job as a customer service representative. This job, like bank telling, involves interacting with customers face to face or remotely every day, and representing your company. Another option is to become a bookkeeper or auditing clerk. These professionals often have some college under their belts, and work to produce and maintain an organization's financial records.

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