A bank teller works on the front line of the banking industry and assists customers with making transactions such as withdrawals and deposits. In most cases, no formal education is required to become a bank teller; all training is provided on-the-job by the employing financial institution.

Education Requirements

In almost all cases, bank tellers will be required to have either a high school diploma or GED before they will be considered for hire. While a college education is not necessary in many cases, students who successfully complete a two-year Associate’s or four-year Bachelor’s degree in finance, mathematics, or business will be more apt to find jobs in high-profile institutions where a higher salary can be anticipated. In some locations, these institutions may require students to be fluent in a second language—particularly Spanish. This way, they can assist all of their customers with quickness and ease.


Most of the training that individuals will receive in order to become bank tellers is provided on-the-job, even if the individual has an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Some of the things that candidates will be trained in include cash counting and the use of check processing machines. Since each bank also has its own security, audit and compliance procedures, potential employees will need to learn these as well. Some of the special services that bank tellers may be trained in involve issuing bank-certified checks, redeeming savings bonds and taking orders for coins. Some individuals may even be trained in sales so that they can help customers with investments, credit cards and loans.


While it is not a requirement for most bank teller jobs, there are some schools—particularly community colleges and vocational schools—that offer a short-term program that results in a certificate for potential bank tellers. These courses typically only take a few weeks to complete and cover such material as general bank operations, teller duties, ethics and regulations. Essentially, the curriculum that makes up the course is designed to sharpen the candidate’s mathematics and customer service skills. There are some schools that offer students the ability to earn this certificate online, such as Strayer University and Southern New Hampshire University.

Continuing Education

Students who successfully complete a certificate program are invited to sit for the national Certified Bank Teller exam, or CBT exam, once they have accrued six months’ worth of on the job experience. The exam itself is issued by the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB) and typically takes place once per year. To qualify, candidates must obtain a letter of recommendation from a senior manager of a bank and sign a Professional Code of Ethics statement prior to the beginning of the exam. In order to maintain this certification once it has been earned, students will need to take six hours of ICB-approved continuing education courses every three years.

Whether or not a student chooses to pursue a degree or even a bank teller certificate is often a personal choice, but it is worth noting that an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree brings with it more job opportunities, a better salary and more room for career advancement.