Checkout operator

Alternative titles for this job include Cashier, till assistant

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

Average salary (a year)

£11,500 Starter


£17,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become a checkout operator

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


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

More information


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, 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 aged 18 or over 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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Retail Assistant

  • Wage : £160.00 Weekly
  • Location: Mansfield NG18 4HF

Apprentice Retail Sales Assistant

  • Wage : £168.00 Weekly
  • Location: Preston PR1 2AU

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a checkout operator?

Search for training courses near you.

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Exam results helpline

Received your exam results? Speak to a careers adviser for advice on the options available to you.

Call 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.

Follow us on Twitter for more support.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No