Share this page

Select an icon:

Job Photographs

  • A woman is standing in a shop, next to a fridge with a glass door.  She is placing cans of drink in the fridge.

    Checkout operators sometimes do other jobs around the shop as well as using a cash till. Here, the operator is re-stocking the fridge.

  • A woman is crouching down next to a stack of shelves, in a shop.  She is placing loaves of bread on to the bottom shelf.

    Some times of the day are busier than others. When the store is quiet, the checkout operator can do other jobs.

  • A woman is standing in a shop.  She is putting money into a cash till.

    Checkout operators must be honest and reliable. They also need good number skills.

  • A woman is standing behind a small counter, in a shop.  She is taking payment from a man, who is standing in front of the counter.

    Checkout operators take payment in cash and by debit or credit card.

  • A woman and a man are standing at the checkout of a supermarket.  The woman is wearing a supermarket uniform.  She is packing the shopping into carrier bags.

    While one checkout operator scans the goods into the till, another packs bags for the customer.

  • Checkout Operator

Checkout Operator

Introduction

Checkout operators work in shops, stores and supermarkets. They scan items, operate tills, and handle credit and debit cards and cash for goods purchased by customers. They might also have to weigh and pack goods.

Also known as

  • Cashier - Shop
  • Shop Checkout Operator
  • Till Operator
  • Supermarket Checkout Operator

Work Activities

As a Checkout Operator, you will work in shops, stores, supermarkets or cash and carry warehouses. You often sit at cash tills where you check the items a customer is buying and then take payment from the customer.

You take each item the customer wants to buy and enters its price into the till either by using an electronic barcode scanner or pressing numbers on the till's keypad.

In supermarkets, you might need to weigh fresh fruit and vegetables and enter a code to identify the produce. In stores selling large items such as DIY or electrical goods, you might need to get up and use the barcode reader on large boxes on a trolley.

Once all the items have been entered, you press a button to get the total price and ask the customer for payment. You deal with cash as well as credit and debit cards and must be able to give change accurately.

You also deal with customer loyalty/discount cards and vouchers, and often have to offer the customer cash back. If a customer is paying by credit or debit card, you ask the customer to enter their personal identification number (PIN) on a keypad. If the store sells alcohol, you might need to ask some customers for proof of age.

In larger supermarkets, there are usually some self-service checkouts where customers scan their own items. Here, one Checkout Operator can oversee several checkouts at once, helping customers if they need assistance.

You might sometimes have to wrap goods and pack shopping bags. The work can be repetitive and requires sitting or standing in one place for a long time. There is a great deal of customer contact and the work can be demanding, particularly at busy times when long queues can build up at the checkout.

Supermarkets are trying to encourage shoppers to re-use carrier bags and so you do not always have plastic carrier bags out on display at the checkout. However, you still need to get plastic bags out for customers who have not brought their own bags.

Some Checkout Operators might sometimes help out in other parts of the store, for example, filling shelves or working on a customer service desk.

Checkout Operators usually work in clean, well-lit conditions. You might be required to wear a uniform.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Checkout Operator, you will need:

  • good powers of concentration
  • a neat appearance
  • a pleasant, helpful manner
  • to be patient, polite and calm with customers
  • basic number skills
  • to be able to work quickly and accurately under pressure
  • the ability to learn how to use computerised tills and pricing equipment
  • to be able to lift and pack some fairly heavy items

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £13,500 - £14,500
  • With experience: £15,000 - £16,500
  • Senior Checkout Operators earn £17,500 - £19,000

Some Checkout Operators are paid an hourly rate, usually ranging from the national minimum wage to around £11 an hour.

Hours of work

Checkout Operators usually work 39 hours a week, which can include early starts, evening and weekend work. Many part-time opportunities are available.

Where could I work?

Small shops, large stores, supermarkets and cash and carry warehouses all employ Checkout Operators.

Opportunities for Checkout Operators occur in stores in every town and city throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local newspapers, in stores, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You can enter this career by applying directly to individual shops and stores.

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships in retail could be available in your area. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

Training in stores is usually a combination of on-the-job and off-the-job training provided by the employer, or through work-based training schemes with a small amount of day-release at a learning centre.

If you would like some training, BTEC offer a level 2 and 3 qualifications in retail knowledge. This course has a number of units, which include understanding:

  • customer service in the retail sector
  • the retail selling process
  • retail consumer law
  • the handling of consumer payments in a retail business
  • customer service in the retail sector

Other courses could be available in your area.

In small shops, training will be given on-the-job, probably by the Owner or Manager.

Work Experience

Some entrants have developed relevant skills by working in retail and by handling cash.

Progression

Checkout Operators can progress to Team Leader and Supervisor posts, as well as customer service roles.

Qualifications

No minimum educational qualifications are usually required but basic English and maths are preferred. Applicants might need to take a maths and English test.

The following vocational qualifications could help you to stand out from the crowd:

  • City & Guilds entry level 3 - retail

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Some entrants have developed relevant skills by working in retail and by handling cash.

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships in Retail could be available in your area.

Statistics

  • 81% of checkout operators work part-time.
  • 2% have flexible hours.
  • 3% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

Jobsite UK

Retail, fashion and hospitality industries

Tel: 020 8340 3366

Email: help@jobsite.co.uk

Website: www.theappointment.co.uk

National Skills Academy for Food & Drink

Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry

Email: info@nsafd.co.uk

Website: www.improveltd.co.uk

Tasty Careers

Food and drink careers

Email: info@tastycareers.org.uk

Website: tastycareers.org.uk

A Career in Retail

Email: jmarshall@pts.com

Website: www.acareerinretail.co.uk

InRetail

Retail recruitment

Website: www.inretail.co.uk

People 1st

Address: 4th Floor, 93 Newman Street, London W1T 3EZ

Tel: 020 7462 5060

Email: info@people1st.co.uk

Website: www.nsaforretail.com

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language

English