BUTCHERS and MEATCUTTERS are employed at different stages in the process of preparing meat for sale to wholesalers or consumers. Butchers are usually employed at the retail level, while meatcutters generally work in meatpacking processing plants. In grocery stores, butchers cut meat into steaks and chops, shape and tie roasts, and grind beef for sale as chopped meat. Meatcutters slaughter cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep and make wholesale cuts. Meatcutters process parts into cuts ready for retail use. They produce hamburger meat and meat trimmings which are used to prepare sausages, and luncheon meats. They usually work on assembly lines, with each individual responsible for only a few of the many cuts needed to process a carcass.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $30,500 average per year ($14.75 per hour)
- A large occupation (377,500 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow slowly (0.4% per year)
Most BUTCHERS/MEATCUTTERS acquire their skills on the job through formal or informal training programs. Training for a highly skilled butcher at the retail level takes about three years. Most employers require applicants to have at least a high school education to enter into a three-year, union-managed apprenticeship program. Employers legally may not hire apprentices under the age of 18 years because of the power equipment and tools used in the industry. Butchers/meatcutters need no special licensing. However, in some states, a health certificate is required for employment.