Career, Salary and Education Information
What They Do: Butchers cut, trim, and package meat for retail sale.
Work Environment: Most butchers work in grocery stores and specialty meat shops, and some work in animal slaughtering and processing plants. The work can be physically demanding and may include exposure to repetitive motions, dangerous equipment, and cold temperatures.
How to Become One: Butchers learn their skills on the job. No formal education is required.
Salary: The median annual wage for butchers is $36,050.
Job Outlook: Employment of butchers is projected to decline 5 percent over the next ten years.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of butchers with similar occupations.
Following is everything you need to know about a career as a butcher with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:
Top 3 Butcher Jobs
- Oliver's Market
- Cotati, CA
MEAT BUTCHER $20.00 - 25.00/HR SHIFTS: All Shifts - (Complete Open Availability) - Weekends Required Position Overview: The Meat Butcher is responsible for properly cutting and merchandising all meat ...
Butcher/Meat Cutter - Day
- Advance Services, Inc.
- Homedale, ID
Butcher /Meat Cutter Hiring Immediately! Do you have experience working in a meat locker? We are hiring an experienced Butcher to lead a family-owned operation in Homedale, ID! Work Monday - Friday to ...
General Manager for a Chef Joey Maggiore Restaurant - The Sicilian Butcher!
- Sicilian Butcher | Peoria
- Peoria, AZ
Job Overview The Restaurant General Manager must be professional, dependable, enthusiastic, and friendly. The General Manager must work well under pressure, have previous restaurant management ...
Top 1 Meatcutter Jobs
- Defense Commissary Agency
- El Paso, TX
Help Duties Serves as the Meatcutter Leader in a Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) location. The primary purpose of this position is to serve as a Meatcutter Leader in the department and, additionally ...
What Butchers Do[About this section] [To Top]
Butchers cut, trim, and package meat for retail sale.
Duties of Butchers
Butchers typically do the following:
- Sharpen and adjust knives and cutting equipment
- Receive, inspect, and store meat upon delivery
- Cut, debone, or grind pieces of meat
- Weigh, wrap, and display meat or meat products
- Cut or prepare meats to specification or customers' orders
- Store meats in refrigerators or freezers at the required temperature
- Clean equipment and work areas to maintain health and sanitation standards
Butchers cut and trim meat from larger, wholesale portions into steaks, chops, roasts, and other cuts. They then prepare meat for sale by performing various duties, such as weighing meat, wrapping it, and putting it out for display. In retail stores, they also wait on customers and prepare special cuts of meat upon request.
Butchers in meat-processing plants are also known as meatcutters. They may have a more limited range of duties than those working in a grocery store or specialty meat shop. Because they typically work on an assembly line, those in processing plants usually perform one specific function—a single type of cut—during their shift.
Butchers use knives, grinders, or meat saws. They follow sanitation standards while working and when cleaning equipment, countertops, and working areas in order to prevent meat contamination.
Butchers who run their own retail store also track inventory, order supplies, and perform other recordkeeping duties.
Work Environment for Butchers[About this section] [To Top]
Butchers hold about 145,000 jobs. The largest employers of butchers are as follows:
|Food and beverage stores||81%|
|Animal slaughtering and processing||6%|
|General merchandise stores||6%|
The work can be physically demanding, particularly for butchers who make repetitive cuts in processing plants. Butchers typically stand while cutting meat and often lift and move heavy carcasses or boxes of meat supplies.
Because meat must be kept at cool temperatures, butchers commonly work in cold rooms—typically around 40 degrees Fahrenheit—for extended periods.
Butchers must keep their hands and working areas clean to prevent contamination, and those working in retail settings must remain presentable for customers.
Injuries and Illnesses for Butchers
Butchers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. These workers use tools that can be dangerous, such as sharp knives and meat saws, and work in areas with slippery floors and surfaces. To reduce the risk of cuts and falls, workers wear protective clothing, such as cut-resistant gloves, heavy aprons, and nonslip footwear.
Butcher Work Schedules
Most butchers work full time. Butchers who work in grocery or retail stores may work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Workers in animal slaughtering and processing facilities may work shifts that start in the early morning or in the afternoon or evening.
How to Become a Butcher[About this section] [To Top]
Get the education you need: Find schools for Butchers near you!
Most butchers learn their skills through on-the-job training lasting more than a year. No formal education is required.
Education for Butchers
There are no formal education requirements for becoming a butcher.
Butchers typically learn their skills on the job, and the length of training varies considerably. Training for simple cutting may take only a few weeks. However, more complicated cutting tasks generally require training that may last from several months to more than a year.
Training for entry-level workers often begins by having the worker learn less difficult tasks, such as making simple cuts, removing bones, or dividing wholesale cuts into retail portions. Under the guidance of more experienced workers, trainees learn the proper use and care of tools and equipment. For example, they learn how to sharpen their knives and clean working areas and equipment.
Trainees also may learn how to shape, roll, and tie roasts; prepare sausage; and cure meat. Employees also receive training in food safety to minimize the risk of foodborne pathogens in meats.
Butchers who follow religious dietary guidelines for food preparation may be required to undergo more specialized training and certification before becoming endorsed by a religious organization to prepare meat.
Important Qualities for Butchers
Customer-service skills. Butchers who work in retail stores should be courteous, be able to answer customers' questions, and fill orders to customers' satisfaction.
Dexterity. Butchers use sharp knives and meatcutting equipment as part of their duties. They must have good hand control in order to make proper cuts of meat that are the right size.
Physical stamina. Butchers spend hours on their feet while cutting, packaging, or storing meat.
Physical strength. Butchers should be strong enough to lift and carry heavy boxes of meat, which may weigh more than 50 pounds.
Butcher Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]
The median annual wage for butchers is $36,050. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,770.
The median annual wages for butchers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|General merchandise stores||$37,920|
|Animal slaughtering and processing||$36,770|
|Food and beverage stores||$34,410|
Most butchers work full time. Some work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Job Outlook for Butchers[About this section] [To Top]
Employment of butchers is projected to decline 5 percent over the next ten years.
Despite declining employment, about 15,400 openings for butchers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Employment of Butchers
Long-term food consumption patterns have trended toward restaurant spending and away from grocery stores. This trend is expected to continue over the decade, leading to projected employment declines for occupations heavily employed in grocery stores—including butchers.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2020||Projected Employment, 2030||Change, 2020-30|
|Butchers and meat cutters||145,000||137,200||-5||-7,800|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.