How Do I Become a Retail Clerk?

Many retailers offer opportunities for young professionals.
Grocery store clerks might be hired without previous experience.
A retail clerk may be tasked with keeping a shop tidy.
A retail clerk makes change for a customer. No formal education is required to become a clerk.
The duties of a retail clerk may include running a register and answering shoppers' questions.
Some retail positions require that sales clerks work overtime, particularly during large sales and the hectic Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
A retail clerk is often responsible for processing credit cards.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2015
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There is typically not much training needed to become a retail clerk, though it is often easier to find such a position if you have completed high school or an equivalent diploma. Little education is required beyond the completion of high school, and many people work as retail clerks while attending college classes. It can be easier to become a retail clerk if you have other professional experience in retail and customer service, though this is rarely a requirement.

A retail clerk, also known as a cashier, is an employee for a retail company who works primarily at a cash register and helps customers complete their transactions at a retail location. The responsibilities of a retail clerk usually involve customer service, restocking shelves, cash handling that can include some light math, and ensuring that proper checkout procedures established by the company are followed. You typically do not need extensive educational experience or training to become a retail clerk, though it is often expected that you have a high school diploma. While this is not essential in all cases, someone with a diploma or a general educational development (GED) certificate is likely to be hired over someone without a diploma.


College education is rarely a requirement for you to become a retail clerk. Though cashiers at some types of businesses were once considered highly trained positions, especially at grocery stores, computerized checkout procedures have removed the necessity for extensive training or memorization once needed by cashiers. You can typically locate a number of retail businesses that are looking for new employees to work as cashiers. Many companies hire extra cashiers during especially busy times, such as holidays or during the summer, and you may be able to most easily become a retail clerk if you apply at such a time.

Professional experience in retail or customer service can also make it easier for you to become a retail clerk. While such experience is not strictly necessary, and cashier positions are often used as entry-level positions, it can help you be hired over other candidates. Experience in retail can also help you receive a higher salary when you are hired, and many businesses use such experience to determine the amount a newly hired employee can be paid. Since you handle money as a cashier, you should expect a company to run a background check on you before you can become a retail clerk, and having a felony conviction in your past may reduce your chances of receiving such a position.



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