How to Become a Bank Teller With or Without a Degree

An image of a bank teller and customer for our FAQ on How to Become a Bank Teller With or Without a Degree
An image of a Bank Teller for our FAQ on How to Become a Bank Teller

Do you enjoy meeting with people? Want a career working in a bank where you can use your good customer service skills? With little education investment, you can find a job as a bank teller. But you need the right qualifications to land a job.

A bank teller is attentive, focused, and detailed. They enjoy interacting with people. They also have a lot of responsibility when it comes to handling money. But if you can deal with the pressure, you will find this job rewarding.

The best part? You don’t need a degree to become a bank teller. A degree will help you advance in your career, but it won’t prevent you from getting the job if you don’t have one.

Read on to find out how to become a bank teller and what you need to put on your bank teller resume to get you the job.

Bank Teller Job Description

A bank teller is the front line staff of a bank. They are the first people you see when you walk into a financial institution. The bank teller position involves many different tasks. Bank tellers deal with customers and handle the teller system. They process loan payments and make customer deposits. Teller duties also involve certain bank operations such as:

  • Meeting with and greeting customers
  • Monitoring the cash drawer
  • Recording cash deposits

If you want to become a bank teller, you should have good customer service skills, good basic computer skills, and training. To do the many responsibilities bank teller positions require, you undergo on-the-job training. Read on to find out how to become a bank teller and what kind of bank teller schooling will get you a job.

Bank Teller Education Requirements

Do bank tellers need a degree? The short answer is no. But a surprising number of tellers hold two- and four-year degrees. Those with degrees advance and move into leadership roles. They become head teller or take on a position in management. But most tellers get their start after they graduate from high school and receive on-the-job training.

Bank teller positions have three common requirements:

  • A high school diploma
  • Certification
  • To pass a background test

Earn a High School Diploma

To work as a full-time bank teller, your first step is to get a high-school diploma. A GED or equivalent will also do. The classes you take in high school can prepare you for your banking job. They can also give you something to show on your bank teller resume. And if you plan to go to college and major in banking or a related subject, these classes can also help.

In high school, certain classes prepare you with banking fundamentals. Look for classes that teach basic computer skills. Take classes that give you experience working with numbers. High school courses may include:

  • Accounting
  • Banking and finance
  • Computer science
  • Personal finance

A foreign language, such as Spanish, can also help you find bank teller jobs. Spanish is important if you want to work in an area where your customers speak the language.

Get a Certification

Once you’ve earned your high-school diploma, consider picking up a certificate. Bank teller certificates validate your skills in:

  • Banking operations
  • Customer service
  • Ethics

While certification is not required for most bank teller jobs, it can help you advance in your career. Most certificates ask that you complete coursework and pass an exam. Some need you to be on the job for at least six months before you’re eligible.

Most tellers find certification options at:

Pass a Background Test

Bank teller jobs want prospective tellers to pass a background test. The background test includes criminal and consumer background investigation. Employers look at your consumer history. They also search for criminal activity and unethical practices.

A previous bankruptcy can impact hiring. A bad credit score can also get you passed over for the job. But explaining the temporary setback helps. You can show an employer how you overcame financial strain and pressure. This can help them reevaluate your bank teller resume.

An image of a bank teller for our FAQ on How to Become a Bank Teller

Best Bank Teller Degree To Get

Do you need a college degree to be a bank teller? As mentioned above, you don’t need a bank teller degree to work in this occupation. But some bank tellers find that a degree helps them advance. It can also help you start at a higher-paying position.

Below we answer the question: What degree do you need to be a bank teller? Since bank teller education varies by person, it is important to understand which degrees can help advance your career. These degrees can increase your average bank teller salary from the start. Out of college, you can work as a bank teller, become a loan officer, or move into sales or finance. The point of the degree is that it gives you more than one career option.

Read about the education for bank teller jobs and which degree will help improve your bank teller employment.

Associate’s in Banking

Most bank teller jobs don’t ask for a degree. But if you want your bank teller resume to stand out, consider earning an associate’s degree in banking.

This degree program teaches you about different banking regulations and fundamentals. You learn about the banking industry. Your courses cover banking principles and basic accounting methods. You also graduate with a working knowledge of finance.

The two-year degree can help you get into a bachelor’s degree program if you choose. It can also help you qualify for an advanced job title, such as branch manager or head teller.

Bachelor’s in Accounting

Your formal education to be a bank teller doesn’t have to include a bachelor’s degree. But getting one can help you advance. One option is the BA or BS in Accounting.

An accounting degree program teaches you basic accounting principles the banking industry uses. You learn how to:

  • Maintain income statements
  • Read and understand balance sheets
  • Track assets

You also get some experience in auditing bank statements. An accounting degree can make your bank teller resume shine brighter than your competition.

Bachelor’s in Business Administration

A bachelor’s in business administration or BBA is a foundational degree. It gives you a basic understanding of business practices. Some BBA programs offer a banking concentration. Others offer banking courses.

You can learn about relevant topics that will improve your bank teller resume. From commercial bank management to financial management, you cover subjects that can launch a banking career.

Bachelor’s in Finance

Since the job duties of a bank teller involve handling money, a degree in finance is popular for banking professionals. A finance degree program exposes you to relevant banking topics. You learn about:

  • Fiscal responsibilities
  • Monetary policies
  • Tax laws

Your bank teller resume will stand out with a finance degree, especially if you’re looking to advance in your career.

Skills a Bank Teller Should Have

To be a bank teller you need more than bank teller schooling. Certain skills can help you succeed on the job.

According to bank professionals, there are skills and abilities a person should have to be a good fit for the bank teller job title. These skills are not taught in a classroom. But they can develop through your courses and training.

Here are four qualities to include on your bank teller resume.

Be detail-oriented

Most bank tellers have the ability to spot errors and check for accuracy. When handling a customer’s money, attention to detail is important. If you want to become a bank teller you should be detail-oriented.

Have good customer-service skills

Your bank teller resume should include strong customer service skills. You should be friendly, helpful, and patient. After all, you are the person customers interact with the most.
You should also have good listening and communication skills. These are important when you address problems your customers have. They are also important as you explain banking services to customers.

Have good organizational skills

Organizational skills are important for a bank teller job. Your spend most of your time handling money and checking for accuracy. You should be able to pay attention to details. To do so, organization is key.

Have strong math skills

Bank tellers handle money, often large amounts. To conduct transactions accurately, you must have a good grasp on numbers. Good math skills help.

An image of a bank teller for our FAQ on How to Become a Bank Teller

How Long Does It Take to Become a Bank Teller?

With no formal education required to become a bank teller, it doesn’t take long to qualify for the job. But you need proper training.

Bank teller training lasts about a month. Newly-hired tellers work alongside an experienced teller. They shadow a mentor for around 30 days. During the training time, they learn:

  • How to balance cash drawers
  • How to use banking computer software
  • How to verify signatures

Most bank teller training takes place during the 30-day probationary period. It is during this time that you can decide if the job is a good fit.

How Much Money Does a Bank Teller Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bank tellers earn an average wage of $32,620/year. The lowest 10% of earners make $24,660/year. The highest 10% make more than $41,220/year.

But your pay can fluctuate. Two things that make your pay increase or decrease include:

  • Industry type
  • Where you live

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the top-paying industry for bank teller jobs as management of companies and enterprises. In this industry, bank tellers earn an average wage of $34,120/year.

Top Paying States for Bank Teller Jobs

In certain states, bank tellers earn the highest wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports five top-paying states for this occupation. This means that if you live in these states and work as a bank teller, you’re earning the best wages for this job.

  • District of Columbia: $38,060/year
  • Rhode Island: $37,940/year
  • Washington: $36,740/year
  • Massachusetts: $36,420/year
  • Hawaii: $36,380/year

Top Paying Cities for Bank Teller Jobs

Now that you know how to become a bank teller, you should know the cities that pay their bank tellers the highest wages.

Top paying metro areas include:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California: $41,600/year
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida: $38,770/year
  • Redding, California: $38,530/year
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, California: $38,380/year
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington: $38,320/year
  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California: $38,240/year
  • Longview, Washington: $38,210/year

Top Paying Non-metro Areas for Bank Teller Jobs

You don’t have to live in a metro area to earn good wages as a bank teller. There are some top-paying regions outside of cities where the average bank teller salary is high. Here you can also enjoy lower costs of living, which will stretch your bottom line.

Top-paying non-metropolitan areas for bank tellers include:

  • Alaska non-metro area: $37,390/year
  • Connecticut non-metro area: $35,800/year
  • Hawaii/Kauai non-metro area: $35,650/year
  • Coastal Oregon non-metro area: $35,550/year
  • Southeast Minnesota non-metro area: $34,980/year
An image of a bank teller for our FAQ on How to Become a Bank Teller

What Is the Job Outlook for Bank Teller Jobs?

Now that you know how to become a bank teller, you should find out what kind of job prospects there are. The BLS reports an expected decline of 17% for bank teller jobs through 2030.

Due to the expected decline, you can undergo training and get a degree to stay competitive. You can do this by earning a degree or a certification.

Since banking has evolved over the years, automated systems emerge. But with automation comes a decline in human-to-human services. As a result, banks need fewer tellers to meet in-person needs. But there are things you can do for the best job prospects.

Get more training

Ask to learn a new skill while in your current position. You can make yourself valuable to your employer if you take on more responsibilities.

Go back to school and earn a degree

You can earn a business or finance degree and advance from a bank teller to a management position.

Stay on top of new technology

As new technology emerges in the banking industry, you should stay on top of it. Teach others how to use this technology and you can become a valuable asset to your bank. When the time comes to advance, you’ll be the one who moves up first.

Work Environment for a Bank Teller

Bank tellers work in banks or financial institutions. Some work in non-traditional banking settings like bank branches in grocery or retail stores. You also find bank tellers in large banking buildings and in small, regional banks.

Bank tellers work in towns and cities. But no matter where bank tellers work, they can expect a similar work environment.

Most bank tellers share work space with their coworkers. Some have a desk, while others stand for hours at a counter. They work traditional hours, from 8 to 5, and have holidays and weekends off. A teller’s schedule coincides with bank hours. If the bank is open on Saturdays, you will find a bank teller on site.

BDP Staff
September 2022

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This concludes our article on do you need a degree to be a bank teller.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris