Many businesses in the United States require cashiers and sales clerks to provide a variety of duties. From gas stations to supermarkets, law offices to movie theaters, restaurants to hair salons, cashiers are always in demand and are employed by nearly ever service imaginable. In 2006, about 3.5 million jobs in the United States were reserved for sales clerks, some of which required no previous work experience and little training, and others that necessitated a higher degree of education and more aggressive training.
The duties of a sales clerk vary widely and depend mostly on the industry. However, a cashier in any field can expect some basic responsibilities: cashiers most often complete transactions for customers and handle their money, make change, and render receipts. Oftentimes a cashier will be responsible for counting and documenting the money received during the day in their register or till. Sales clerks in some businesses have additional responsibilities, such as helping the company with merchandising, sales, promotions, and shelf stocking. Some cashiers must help customers locate merchandise. Scanners and computers are standard in larger businesses, but smaller businesses might manually enter this data into registers or onto an adding machine. Casinos employ sales clerks to exchange coins and pay customers their earnings.
A cashier’s working conditions varies from company to company. The majority of cashier's work in indoor establishments, although cashiers are also employed outdoors at open markets and festivals. Workdays might be slow and repetitious or relatively demanding, depending on the volume of customers. Although the occupation is not often thought of as dangerous, it tends to be more hazardous than many other jobs due to robberies. Sales clerks in some areas have to deal with cigarette smoke, loud noises, machinery and other occupational hazards. Precautions are nearly always in place to reduce the danger of the job.
In most cases, only a high school diploma is required to work as a sales clerk. To advance into store management positions, an associates or bachelor's degree may be required. Many of the skills required to be a sales clerk are learned on the job, through staff training. No special licenses are required to act as a sales clerk. Customer service experience and simple math skills are usually advantageous to success.
Many cashiers are employed at minimum wage—Federally mandated at $7.25 per hour as of 2009, and many states have a higher minimum wage. An experienced cashier can make more than $15 per hour in some areas of the country. Company benefits are sometimes offered for sales clerks, including discounts on merchandise, free meals, and educational reimbursement. Even retirement packages can be offered to cashiers, particularly full-time or experienced ones.
Because cashiers are necessary for many businesses, they are always in demand; however, employment for cashiers is expected to decline between 2006 and 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also states that job prospects remain good for the time being due to high turnover and constant need. Young, untrained workers can begin their employment with a cashier position; high school and college students may use it to pay for necessities; and workers employed in other fields sometimes work as sales clerks part-time. The versatility of the career is matched by its variability due to seasonal employment, the performance of the economy, and the rate of turnover.