How to Become a Butcher
Butcher Job Duties
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Butcher
Butcher Salaries
Influential Professional Butchers
Leading Butcher Organizations
Top Cities for Butcher Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Butcher

Although there is no educational requirement to becoming a butcher, most employers prefer to hire someone with at least a high school degree or its equivalent. Most of the job skills for butchers are picked up through on the job training at work. Potential butchers may perform an apprenticeship under an experienced butcher to learn many of the cutting and eviscerating techniques. Alternatively, a butcher may take classes or extended training opportunities to learn various techniques.

Butchers usually start in trainee mode, performing simple techniques and gradually, as they are trained, working their way up to more complicated techniques with more responsibility. A butcher may train other butchers after he or she has enough experience.

What does a Butcher do?

Butchers and meat cutters cut up animals which have been slaughtered into different cuts of meat. This meat might be "case-ready" or "boxed" meat - meat that is precut and packaged. Other butchers may wait for a customer to request a particular cut of meat before cutting or grinding it. Specialty, or "boutique" butchers specialize in hard to find and exotic meats.

Butchers may also eviscerate meat, taking the innards out of the animal, and either disposing of them or selling them as separate food items. Some of the viscera, such as the liver, is commonly eaten and available at butcher shops.

Some common cuts of meat that butchers deal with are various types of chops and steaks, which they cut and display or package. Butchers grind meat to be sold as ground beef or ground turkey, for instance, and tie roasts. Meat is usually sold by weight, and prepackaged meat is preweighed and priced.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Butcher?

Butchers must be able to keep a work area clean and sanitary so that germs and disease are not spread. Manual dexterity and fine motor skills are important, as is physical strength and good hand-eye coordination. Many butchers interact with the public and need good people skills. In some jurisdictions, a health certificate is required in order to work as a butcher.

How much do Butchers make?

Although wages and salaries for butchers vary greatly by area and specialty, the median yearly earnings for all butchers as of May 2006 was $26,930. The middle fifty percent of all butchers in the United States earned between $20,630 and $35,240, with the highest earning ten percent of butchers making over $43,260 per year.

Butchers who own their own shops may make more money than others, and boutique butchers tend to make the most. Trainees, or butchers who are just starting out, make less than average.
Butcher Salary | More details for Butcher Jobs | Salary

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Upton Sinclair, although not a butcher himself, was a very important figure in the field of meat packing and butchery. Sinclair wrote The Jungle, an expose of the meat packing industry, in 1906. It talked about wage slavery and corruption present in that field, and opened many people's eyes to what was actually going on in slaughterhouses, meat packing plants, and butchers' shops. The danger - Sinclair talked about workers who were ground up when they fell into the grinding tanks - and child labor grabbed the attention of the public, and changed the face of the meat industry. Meat buying fell off so badly that the meat packing companies actually asked the Federal Government for additional regulation so that the public would once again feel safe buying meat in the United States. The Meat Inspection Act and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were both established because of this outcry.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a very important agency of the Federal Government that oversees all food regulation. This is particularly important for the meat industry, as so many diseases can be carried by meat. Because of this, it is essential that the meat industry be well-regulated by the government, with sanitary conditions a must. The FDA requires that certain sanitation conditions be met when the meat is slaughtered, packed, and sold.

What are the top cities for Butcher jobs?

Although most areas of the United States need butchers, whether it be a large city or small town, there are a few areas that are better for butcher jobs than others. Laurel, Maryland is the best city in the United States for butcher jobs, with Baton Rouge, Louisiana in second place. Washington, D.C. is a very close third place, with Clyde Park, Montana in fourth and Tampa, Florida in fifth place. Schnecksville, Pennsylvania comes in at sixth place for butcher jobs in the United States.

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