The banking industry has changed dramatically over the past few decades, in that many transactions that used to be completed face to face now take place either online, over the phone, or at an ATM machine. But despite technological advances, bank tellers are still the backbone of the personal banking industry.

Bank tellers exist for one purpose: to help customers manage their financial accounts and transactions. In many ways, it is purely a customer service position, requiring a high level of professionalism and competence. If you are considering a job as a bank teller, here’s what you need to know:

You should have at least a high school diploma. As with most fields, education is a plus. While most banks only require a high school diploma or GED, the best candidates may also have an accounting degree or education of some kind, whether from trade school, an associate’s program, or a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

You will need to pass a background check. To ensure customer safety and the integrity of the bank, most banks require job applicants to undergo a background check. The background check will dive into your credit history and whether you have a misdemeanor or felony on record. If you do have a criminal history, most banks will not hire you, especially if your history includes theft or fraud.

On-the-job training is common. The typical workday for a bank teller includes cashing checks, making deposits, and performing other transactions like loan payments and withdrawals. During your first few weeks at the bank, you will likely work with a more experienced teller or supervisor to learn how to accomplish these tasks. Because bank tellers are usually the first stop for customers, you will need to learn how to effectively and professionally handle a variety of customer service situations, from answering questions to managing complaints.

Earnings vary widely by bank and experience. On average, most bank tellers make about $23,000 a year. Entry-level tellers may earn about $19,000 a year, while more experienced tellers can earn up to $31,000 yearly. Many bank tellers work part time, which cuts earnings in half and reduces the ability to receive benefits.

Job prospects are favorable. Because many banks are opening more branches in order to be available and convenient for customers, there will continue to be a need for bank tellers. Employment growth of bank tellers is expected to grow at a rate of about 6 percent a year, which is slightly slower than average.

Becoming a bank teller can also be a great stepping stone to a solid financial career. It will give you the experience and contacts you need for reaching the next level. To advance your career, you will need to fine-tune your communication skills and ability to work with customers, and don’t miss out on any opportunity to network with others in the field.

Communication and professionalism are essential. Because bank tellers work with people in a variety of situations and circumstances, to be a good bank teller you must have excellent communication skills, with the goal of working with customers to find the best solution for their financial needs. Because much of this communication may be done over the phone, you should consider going over your phone “presence” and customer service skills. You may also want to brush up on your basic math skills, as you may need to quickly calculate interest rates. Good note-taking and clerical skills are also helpful.