Becoming a Bank Teller: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
What are the pros and cons of a bank teller career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a bank teller is right for you.
View available schools

A Career as a Bank Teller: Pros and Cons

As a bank teller, you assist customers with their banking needs, which could include making withdrawals and deposits, accepting payments for financial transactions, exchanging money for other currencies and ordering checks and bank cards. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of becoming a bank teller to see if it's the right job for you.

Pros of Being a Bank Teller
Postsecondary education not usually required*
Flexible scheduling possible, since many positions are part-time (27% of tellers work part-time, more than average for similar professions)*
Job prospects should be excellent*
Advancement within bank is possible with experience*

Cons of Being a Bank Teller
Low annual median salary of $26,000*
Tasks can be repetitive*
May need to deal with frustrated or upset bank customers**
Work often involves sitting or standing for long periods of time**

Sources: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Bank tellers help customers complete monetary transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals. As a bank teller, you'll accept payment from customers and prepare specific types of financial transactions, such as money orders or traveler's checks. You might exchange money for other currencies and help customers order things like checks, bank cards and other items related to a bank account. You need to keep records of all your transactions, and you're responsible for counting the cash in your drawer at the start and end of your workday.

You'll be a general source of information regarding other products offered by the bank and will direct customers to bankers so they can open accounts or make specialized investments. The job comes with a degree of responsibility, since you have access to customers' financial information. You will usually sit at a computer and interact with a customer from behind a desk. Many tellers work full-time, and some work on Saturdays. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 27% of tellers work part-time; this is more than average for other similar administrative jobs.

Career Paths and Specializations

With experience, a bank teller could be promoted to head teller, a position that involves managing other tellers and handling more difficult customer questions. The head teller may also be responsible for entering the bank's vault as needed. A background working as a bank teller can also be good preparation for other supervisory positions within a bank or for work as a loan officer.

Salary Info and Outlook

According the BLS, bank tellers earned a mean annual wage of $27,000 in May 2014. The middle 50% of tellers earned $11-$14 per hour. Top-paying industries for bank tellers include the state government, with a mean wage of about $42,000 per year. Top-paying states include Alaska, Connecticut and the District of Columbia.

According to BLS statistics, employment is not expected to grow significantly, with only one percent growth from 2012-2022. This is due to the slowed growth of brick and mortar banks, and the prevalence of online banking, where customers can complete many of the transactions that a teller would do otherwise. At the same time, job prospects are expected to be excellent since the profession has a high rate of turnover.

What Are the Requirements?

While some bank tellers might have a college degree or some postsecondary training, most positions require only a high school diploma or a GED. Training for a new bank teller generally takes about a month and includes orientation regarding computer systems and company regulations.

General Skills

All bank tellers should have basic math skills and enjoy working with customers. You should be able to handle customers' questions and requests with professionalism, especially since you will often be the first person with whom they interact with after entering the bank. As a bank teller, you need to have a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail in your work to avoid making any costly miscalculations in a customer's account.

What Employers Are Looking for

Many bank teller positions are part-time, though they may have the option to work more hours as needed. Bank tellers need to be able to sit and stand for long periods of time, and employers may specify that they need to be able to lift a certain amount of weight. Since tellers also need to be trustworthy, many employers require some combination of a drug test, background check or good previous employment history. The following is a sample of some of the jobs available for bank tellers on Careerbuilder.com in April 2012:

  • A Michigan bank was looking for a part-time banking customer service representative with one year of customer service experience. Applicants should be able to lift 25 pounds and stand for long periods of time. The posting specifies that representatives can earn bonuses based on sales and product referrals.
  • A bank in Washington state advertised for a bank teller to work part-time (usually about 20 hours per week, though more hours are possible.) Candidates should have a valid driver's license and at least six months of work experience handling cash transactions. Employment is dependent on passing a drug test.
  • A cash handling company in Memphis sought a cash management services teller with a steady employment history and the ability to pass a background check. Applicants should be at least 18 years old, and duties include preparing ATM deliveries and deposit verifications. The posting notes that the job involves working in a vault with little exposure to natural light. Starting pay is listed at $10 per hour.
  • A bank is looking for both full- and part-time bank tellers for various New Jersey locations. Positions may require working on Saturdays, and duties include opening and closing the branch and stocking the branch ATM. Applicants need to have a high school diploma or GED and should have six months to two years of previous experience as a teller or working in a position that involves handling money.

How to Stand Out

Develop Related Skills

All bank tellers should have strong computer skills. While you will likely receive computer training once hired, you could impress future employers by having taken a computer class or two. You can also improve your chances for a job by building up your customer service experience and demonstrating that you can handle money, perhaps as a cashier at a part-time job while you're in school.

Continuing Education

You may be able to take individual courses or certification programs in becoming a bank teller at a local community college. Topics covered include identifying counterfeit money, handling emergency situations and interacting well with customers. These programs might not substitute for any on-the-job training you would receive as a new bank employee, but they can better prepare you and will show your employer that you're ready to take on the job.

Alternative Career Paths

Cashier

Maybe becoming a bank teller doesn't feel like the right career choice for you. If you like the idea of handling money and interacting with customers, consider becoming a cashier. Cashiers greet customers, answer questions about merchandise and ring up purchases. The BLS predicted employment growth to be slow from 2010-2020, at seven percent, and noted that cashiers make a mean annual wage of about $20,000.

Customer Service Representative

As a customer service representative, you could work for a variety of organizations, either through a call center or at an in-person location. You would help solve customer problems and serve as a source of information for their questions regarding products and services. According to the BLS, employment growth is predicted to be 15% from 2010-2020, about as fast as average for all jobs, and customer service representatives make an annual average salary of about $33,000.

Loan Officer

If you know you'd like to work in a financial institution, consider becoming a loan officer. You'll help individuals and businesses apply for loans by sorting their financial information and evaluating their application. There are many different types of loan officers, but all positions require at least a high school diploma and some might require a postsecondary degree. The BLS notes that employment of loan officers should grow about as fast as average for all occupations from 2010-2020, at 14%. They made an average of $68,000 per year in May 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Finance - Financial Analysis
      • MS in Finance
      • MS in Finance - Financial Planning
      • MBA: Finance
      • Master - Accounting
      • Master : Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Finance - Investments
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
      • BS in Finance
      • BS in Finance - General Finance
      • BSBA in Financial Analysis
      • Bachelor: Managerial Accountancy
    Associate's
      • Associate: Accounting
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Accounting
      • BA: Business Administration - Management
      • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
      • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
    Associate's
      • AA: Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
    Master's
      • MBA: Finance
      • MBA: Accounting
      • MBA
      • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
      • MBA: Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    7. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • MBA - Accounting
      • Master of Accountancy
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Dual MBA-MHA
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
      • Master of Science in Taxation
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
      • Master of Business Administration: Risk Management & Insurance
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Human Resources
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Management and Public Safety Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Accounting
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
      • MBA - Finance and Accounting
      • MS in Financial Crime and Compliance Management
      • MBA - General
      • MBA - Insurance and Risk Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
      • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
      • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MS in Finance - Financial Analysis
  • BS in Finance - Investments
  • Associate: Accounting
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Accounting
  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • AA: Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA: Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master of Finance
  • BS - Accounting
  • Graduate Specialization - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

The University of Scranton

  • Master of Science in Finance
  • MBA - Accounting
  • Master of Accountancy

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
  • Master of Science in Taxation

What is your highest level of education?