California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Cashiers in San Diego County

May also be called: Admissions Gate Attendants; Central Aisle Cashiers; Checkers; Clerks; Customer Assistants; Customer Service Representatives (CSR); Sales Associates; Toll Collectors

What Would I Do?

In our everyday life, we frequently receive service and assistance from Cashiers when we shop for groceries and daily essentials. Supermarkets, department stores, gasoline stations, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other businesses employ Cashiers to enter the sale of their goods and services. Although specific job duties vary by employer, Cashiers usually are assigned to a register and are given a drawer containing a specific amount of money at the beginning of their shifts, known as their “till.” They must keep track of their till to make sure that it contains the correct amount of money and sufficient change. Some Cashiers also process returns and exchanges. They must determine whether the product is eligible for a refund or exchange, where and when it was purchased, and the type of payment used.

In a store with bar code scanners, a Cashier passes a product's Universal Product Code (UPC) over the scanning device, which transmits the code number to a computer that identifies the item and its price. In establishments without newer technology, Cashiers manually enter codes into registers and then descriptions of the items and their prices appear on the screen.

After calculating charges for all items and subtracting the value of any coupons or discounts, Cashiers total the customer's bill and accept payment. Forms of payment include cash; personal checks; and gift, credit, and debit cards. Cashiers must know the store's policies and procedures for each type of accepted payment. For checks and credit and debit card charges, they may request identification from the customer or call in for an authorization. They must verify the age of customers purchasing alcohol or tobacco. When the sale is complete, Cashiers issue a receipt to the customer and return the appropriate change. They may also wrap or bag the purchase.

When Cashiers near the end of their shifts, they must again count their drawers' contents and compare the totals with sales data to make sure the sums match. An occasional shortage of small amounts may be overlooked, but repeated shortages can be grounds for dismissal. In addition to adding up the contents of their drawers, Cashiers usually also separate and total return slips, coupons, checks, and any other noncash items.

Depending on the type of business, Cashiers may have other duties as well. In many supermarkets, for example, Cashiers weigh produce and bulk food, assist with stocking shelves and reshelf unwanted items. Cashiers at convenience stores may need to know how to generate money orders and sell lottery tickets. Cashiers who work at movie theaters and ticket agencies operate ticket-dispensing machines and answer customers' questions. In restaurant settings, Cashiers may also serve as hosts, welcoming and seating customers, giving them their menus, and ringing up food checks.

Tools and Technology

Cashiers use a variety of tools in the course of their work, including bar code scanners, calculators, cash registers, food scales, computers, electronic funds transfer (EFT) equipment, laser printers, magnetic card readers, cardboard balers, trash compactors, surveillance cameras, lottery ticket machines, and money order machines. Some may also use bookkeeping, database, and point of sale (POS) software.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Greet customers entering establishments.Service Orientation
Receive payment by cash, check, credit cards, vouchers, or automatic debits.Mathematical Reasoning
Issue receipts, refunds, credits, or change due to customers.Customer and Personal Service
Establish or identify prices of goods, services or admission, and tabulate bills using calculators, cash registers, or optical price scanners.Deductive Reasoning
Stock shelves, and mark prices on shelves and items.Information Ordering
Answer customers' questions, and provide information on procedures or policies.Oral Expression
Resolve customer complaints.Problem Sensitivity
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Cashiers’ work places are generally clean, well-lighted, and temperature-controlled. The work of a Cashier can be stressful as they must focus on processing many customers’ purchases as quickly as possible. Sometimes, Cashiers have to deal with demanding, impatient, or even angry customers. Physically, Cashiers are on their feet all day, and they often have to bend, stoop, and reach for merchandise. Some Cashiers may also be required to lift and move up to 50 pounds. Additionally, since Cashiers are responsible for large sums of money in their registers, they may not leave their station unattended without a supervisor’s approval.

Due to the varied business needs of establishments that employ Cashiers, they may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. More than half of Cashiers work part-time or fewer than thirty hours a week, although some are employed full-time. In stores that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Cashiers may work weekends, split shifts, and odd hours.

Most Cashiers are not unionized; however, some Cashiers may belong to union locals of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and UNITE HERE.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Cashiers should enjoy working with numbers and have tolerance for repetitious work in fast-paced environments. Friendly, pleasant, and courteous manners are vital. Tact and patience are also necessary in providing service to all customers, especially those who may be rude or angry. Depending on the establishment, some Cashiers may need to work effectively in teams. Cashiers are expected to dress neatly and some may be issued uniforms.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2015 for Cashiers in California was $21,365 annually, or $10.27 hourly. The median wage for Cashiers in San Diego County was $21,365 annually, or $10.27 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$19,395$21,365$26,447
San Diego County$19,374$21,365$25,556
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Benefits vary by employer, but are generally available only to full-time employees. These benefits usually include medical insurance, vacation, sick leave, and sometimes include other health insurance, such as dental and vision coverage, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

This occupation experiences high turnover as many Cashiers enter this work while they are in college or until they reach some other goal. Most job openings will be created by the need to replace Cashiers who retire or leave the field for other reasons. Opportunities may be greater for Cashiers with more education or experience. Demand for this job may increase seasonally during certain holiday shopping periods when retail stores and restaurants have increased business. However, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Cashiers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Cashiers are expected to increase by 9.7 percent, or 34,800 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

In San Diego County, the number of Cashiers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Cashiers are expected to increase by 12.3 percent, or 3,930 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Cashiers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
357,800392,60034,8009.7154,700
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
32,02035,9503,93012.313,840
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 3,480 new job openings per year is expected for Cashiers, plus an additional 15,470 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 18,950 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 392 new job openings per year is expected for Cashiers, plus an additional 1,384 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,776 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Cashiers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
3,48015,47018,950
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
3921,3841,776
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Most employers require at least a high school diploma or equivalent and for new hires to be at least 16 years old. Employers look for candidates with good customer service and verbal communication skills. Generally, employers train new Cashiers on the job to operate registers, barcode scanners, computers, and other equipment. In larger franchises or chains, formal orientation classes may be provided to give new employees more in-depth training on company history, store policies, and procedures. Some employers may require drug testing of new hires prior to employment. Random drug and alcohol testing may also be required.

Experience

Cashier jobs usually are entry-level positions requiring little or no previous work experience, although experience in retail, Cashiering, and cash handling will be helpful.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation should include courses in basic mathematics, bookkeeping, typing, and English.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Cashiers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Grocery Stores 28.2%
Gasoline Stations 10.2%
Other General Merchandise Stores 9.4%
Department Stores 7.2%
Full-Service Restaurants 6.8%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at colleges and universities. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Cashiers.

  • Department Stores
  • Drug Stores
  • Gasoline Stations
  • Grocery Stores
  • Movie Theatres

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Working as a Cashier is an excellent way to learn about a business. Opportunities for advancement depend on a Cashier’s level of performance and competence, and the size and type of employing company. Since most stores promote their own workers rather than hire external candidates to fill advanced jobs, chances are good for hard-working Cashiers to become head cashiers, cashier trainers, or customer service desk clerks. With more experience and further education or training, some may be able to advance to managerial positions.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Cashiers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Billing and Posting ClerksProfile
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast FoodProfile
Counter and Rental ClerksProfile
Parts SalespersonsProfile
Postal Service ClerksProfile
Receptionists and Information ClerksGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification41-2011
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Cashiers41-2011.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)CER
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Retailing and Retail Operations 521803
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Retail Store Operations and Management050650