Bank Teller Job Description, Education and Salary Outlook

Bank Tellers are responsible for the accurate and efficient processing of financial transactions for banking customers.

By Tess C Taylor
Posted 2012

In the world of finance and accounting, bank tellers serve banking customers in drive through service windows and inside service desks at banks, credit unions, loan and finance companies, for the benefit of customers. Tellers accurately and securely process routine banking transactions such as check cashing, deposits, withdrawals, accepting payments, printing checks and bank forms, and many other general bank customer service duties. Tellers are the “face” of the institution for which they work, so they are professionals who greet and assist customers with a high level of professional courtesy at all times. Tellers most often have excellent mathematical skills and enjoy working with the public.

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  • Tellers can obtain work with a high school diploma and a background check for most entry-level jobs.
  • Work is most often conducted in comfortable, indoor settings with secure work stations and peer support.
  • Candidates for teller jobs must have superior listening ability, and written and verbal communication skills.
  • Teller work involves being able to quickly and accurately look up customer accounts and verify financial information.

Work Environment for Tellers

Most tellers work in comfortable indoor settings inside banks, financial firms, credit unions and branch offices. They generally work from 20 to 40 hours per week, during normal business hours and some limited weekend hours. Work stations are generally elevated service desks where tellers stand or sit for long periods of time, greeting customers and handling a wide variety of banking services as requested. This may require looking up customer information in a secure computerized system, verifying identity information, and then processing the transactions accurately and quickly. More experienced tellers may also work in a special drive-through window that allows them to wait on more than one customer at a time, handling multiple transactions.

Education, Training and Licensing

Banks and other financial institutions prefer that potential bank tellers have at least a high school diploma and a year of customer service experience. Tellers must also be able to pass a criminal background check and a credit check. High school students interested in this type of work should concentrate on classes in mathematics, business, computer technology and communications. In addition, taking an internship at a financial institution can help prepare students for the work and customer service skills needed to perform teller jobs.

It is preferred that tellers obtain higher education through a college or university that offers studies in business administration, finance, and accounting. Associate’s degrees are acceptable, however bachelor’s degrees will aid tellers in being able to advance in their careers into other roles that require a higher level of responsibility. Tellers can obtain this education while performing internships or while employed.

There are no special licenses or certificates required to become a bank teller, though financial institutions often require tellers to complete on-the-job training and classes to learn the proper procedures needed to handle complex financial transactions. Bank tellers most often work under the supervision of more seasoned bank personnel and get regular performance reviews for several years as they learn all the skills needed to perform work.

Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook and Earnings

Tellers held 514,520 total jobs in the U.S., according to the most recent wages and employment statistics published in May 2014 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS expects employment in this field to grow at less than 1 % from 2012 to 2022, which is below average range for all occupations. This slow growth results from a high number of tellers already employed by banks and other financial institutions and the advent of more automated banking systems since many banking processes were moved online. Consumers are now more likely to want to handle their own financial transactions then to deal with a live person at banking offices. However, there will still be a need for personal service for customers who need special attention at banks and financial firms.

BLS reports indicate that the average annual wage for tellers in May of 2014 was $25,760. While the lowest 10% of bank tellers earned an annual income at or below $20,070 (most likely for entry level and part time tellers), the top 10% earned $35,950 or more per year.

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