Checkout operator

Cashier, till assistant

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Checkout operators serve customers at tills in supermarkets and large retail stores.

Salary range: £11,500 to £17,000

How to become a checkout operator

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You can start by taking a college course like:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Retail
  • Level 2 Certificate in Retail Knowledge

This would teach you some of the skills needed for the job. Then you can try to find a trainee position.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You can apply directly to job vacancies.

There are no set entry requirements though some employers may ask for GCSE passes at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths and English.

Experience of handling cash and serving customers will be helpful.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • maths knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

  • be over 18 to sell alcohol and other restricted goods

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • working quickly so that customers in the queue don’t have to wait too long
  • scanning items for customers
  • weighing and pricing fruit and vegetables
  • using special tools to remove security tags
  • checking customers’ ages for restrictions on items like alcohol
  • packing and wrapping purchases
  • processing store loyalty cards, coupons and vouchers
  • taking payments and making sure the till balances at the end of the day
  • spending time away from the till, filling shelves, checking stock or working on a customer service desk

Working environment

You could work at a store.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.

Larger companies are likely to offer you more chance of promotion.

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