Career Advice on How to Become A Butcher and Meat Cutter

General Career Information

Butchers and meat cutters usually don’t spend their days writing poetry. Your career planning or job search should not include butchery if you are a delicate and sensitive soul or a vegan.  No, as a butcher you are expected to butch and you are expected to like it.  Butchers and meat cutters take the left over body parts from once living critters. They cut those parts or grind those parts into smaller parts for the rest of us to eat.

As a butcher or meat cutter, you will be given slabs of meat with which you will be expected to process into chops, steaks and other types of cuts.  Butchers and meat cutters also spend a good chunk of their day grinding down pieces of meat into meat products, such as ground beef.

This work is not for the frail or the faint of heart as one is expected to take a dead animal carcass and hack it apart.  While this description may seem a little blunt this is, in fact, what occurs.  Those considering this career should understand what is involved. 

The processing of the meat is done with a variety of knives, saws, cleavers and even power cutting tools.  Once the meat has been cut, butchers and meat cutters will wrap and label the meat and hopefully, refrigerate it.  Butchers may work for themselves or in butcher shops.  Increasingly, however, butchers and meat cutters work in large corporate processing facilities or work for large supermarkets or mega-stores such as Wal-Mart.


Career Facts:

There’s no bones about it, the job of butcher or meat cutter will have bones, blood, and yes, guts.  Working as a butcher or meat cutter is for those who are able to handle working with large slabs of meat all day long and are comfortable handling large knives and other cutting instruments.  Not surprisingly, due to the nature of the work, injuries, including serious ones, do occur.  Anyone considering this line of work should realize that it could be dangerous and physically demanding.  After all, dead cows are rarely light.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Average:

Overall, the career outlook for butchers and meat cutters should be about average.  While the population of the United States is growing and the existing population is consuming every large numbers of calories and meat, there are factors that will keep job growth of butchers and meat cutters about average.  One major factor is the amount of cheaper meat being imported from other countries.
Job Outlook is Fair

A Day in The Life:

Butchers and meat cutters spend a good deal of their day working in cool rooms whose floors are often covered in animal blood.  Further, due to the nature of the work, they are much more likely to be injured than most other workers.  The nature of the work can be physically exhausting as well.  Some of the injuries experienced as less obvious than one might expect, such as repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Average Salary:

The average butcher or meat cutter can expect to earn approximately $27,000 per year, with the top ten percent of workers earning about $43,000 per year.  It should be noted that the bottom ten percent of earners, earn a mere $16,500 per year.  While butchers and meat cutters provide an essential service to the country, as most Americans do eat beef, chicken, pork and a variety of other animals, the pay for this job should give many pause.  The work conditions and risk of injury should be serious factors for anyone considering this as a potential career.



Career Training and Qualifications:

Butchers and meat cutters usually learn on the job.  Training may take between one and two years.

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