How to Become a Meat Packer

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


The meat packing industry involves the slaughtering, processing, and packaging of a variety of meat from animals to distribute to many different retailers for human consumption. Meat packers are trained workers that perform a variety of meat packing tasks.

What does a meat packer do?

Meat packers perform a variety of tasks to prepare many different types of meat from cows, hogs, sheep, and other animals. They receive and store meat products, trim and prepare cuts of meat, fulfill customer orders, and operate many different processing machines. They pack meat into correctly labeled boxes and packages and prepare the meat for shipping and transportation. Often times, meat packers work on assembly lines where one worker is responsible for specific tasks. Meat packers use a variety of tools such as knives, meat saws, trimmers, band saws, and cleavers. They usually work in commercial meat processing plants and some work for private slaughterhouses.

What kind of training does a meat packer need?

There are no formal education requirements for meat packers, but most employers prefer applicants with at least a high school diploma. Some meat packers complete formal training at trade or vocational and technical schools. Most meat packers learn their skills through on the job training. New meat packers observe and work with experienced workers to learn the requirements of the job. New meat packers usually start out performing simple tasks and move on to more complicated duties as they gain the necessary skills and experience. They learn the proper and safe use of a variety of tools and equipment and the expectations and procedures of the employer. Most meat packing employers require meat packers to complete safety seminars and additional training regarding food safety. Meat packers complete additional training as needed throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a meat packer?

Employment of meat packers is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 4% through 2018. The growing population and increased demand for processed meat will create some job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for meat packers employed by processing plants. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace meat packers that leave the profession.

How much do meat packers make?

As of 2015, the average annual salary for meat packers is $40,000; average annual meat packer salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits.

A career as a meat packer is a great choice for people with a strong interest in preparing many different types of meat for consumption purposes. Meat packers must have a solid understanding of the policies and procedures regarding the packaging of meat. Mechanical ability, detail orientation, manual dexterity, and good eye-hand coordination are essential characteristics. Meat packers must be able to handle repetitive and often less desirable tasks. They also need good physical strength to lift and carry heavy pieces of meat.

Becoming a Meat Packer Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Meat Packer? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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