Meat processing is an essential part of the food processing industry that provides a variety of meat for public consumption. Butchers are trained professionals that prepare many different cuts of meat and other related products to be distributed to companies that sell it to the public.
What does a butcher do?
Butchers convert slaughtered animals in many different pieces of meat suitable for sale to retailers and wholesalers. They separate meat into many different cuts depending on the needs of their employers. They typically work in grocery stores or wholesale establishments that sell meat to restaurants and other retailers. They cut meat into chops and different types of steaks, grind meat, and shape and tie roasts. They use a variety of tools such as knives, power cutters, slicers, cleavers, and band saws. Butchers also weigh, wrap, and label meet and arrange them in cooled display cases. Some prepare special cuts to fill customer orders.
What kind of training does a butcher need?
Butchers typically need at least a high school diploma. They usually learn their skills through on the job training programs. They learn simple cutting operations and how to eviscerate slaughtered animals. They learn the correct use and care of tools and equipment and how to prepare many different types of meat. They also learn record keeping, inventory control, and meat buying procedures. Training for retail butchers typically takes 1 to 2 years to complete. New butchers start by doing less difficult tasks such as removing bones and making easy cuts and then move on to more advanced duties. Since there is an increased concern of food-borne pathogens in meats, butchers must periodically participate in extensive training in food safety and attend safety seminars.
What are the prospects for a career as a butcher?
Employment of butchers is projected to have little or no change in employment for all professions, increasing 2% through 2016. The increased demand for meat and the growth of food processing plants will drive some job growth.
Job prospects should be good especially for butchers that are highly skilled with extensive experience. Job openings will also stem from the need to replace butchers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do butchers make?
As of this year, butchers with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $23,331 and $41,116. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $30,502 and $40,893.
For anyone considering whether and how to become a butcher, this is potentially a great career choice for people who are interested in preparing a wide variety of meat for public consumption. Butchers must have good eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, color discrimination, and depth perception. They must also have good physical strength to lift and carry heavy sections of meat. Butchers must have a neat appearance, pleasant personality, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they work with a variety of customers.
Take the Next Step
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