How Do I Become a Meatcutter?

E. Reeder

To become a meatcutter, a profession that is always in demand, one can follow several steps because there are different ways to enter this profession. One way is to take courses or to earn a degree or certificate in meatcutting. Another avenue to becoming a meatcutter is to gain on-the-job experience through a paid position or apprenticeship.

To become a meatcutter, it helps to have some experience working with meat in either a grocery store or butcher's shop.
To become a meatcutter, it helps to have some experience working with meat in either a grocery store or butcher's shop.

Although there is no specific college degree required for this job, and most of the training is done on the job, earning a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate can make a person who is seeking a job as a meatcutter more likely to be employed. There are various academic areas that can be of use to people who are interested in meatcutting, such as foods and nutrition, home economics, animal anatomy, agricultural science, communications and computer science. Courses in general business and record-keeping can also be useful for this profession. Some meatcutters take meat preparation and fabrication courses in culinary schools, which can help them learn how to differentiate between the usable and non-usable parts of meat and how to prepare them, although this is not required to become a meatcutter.

A meatcutter's apprentice may learn how to make sausages.
A meatcutter's apprentice may learn how to make sausages.

Another educational avenue that might be useful to the potential meatcutter is earning an associate's degree. There are community colleges and vocational and technical programs that offer associate’s or two-year degrees and programs such as meatcutting or meat processing. Again, although it is not required, education in this area will make someone who is interested in this career more likely to be interviewed and employed in this profession and will expand his or her overall career opportunities. In a two-year degree program, people will take courses in food safety, sanitation, meat processing equipment and carcass evaluation. The degrees that people can earn will have various names, depending on the country or region in which they reside or the school that they attend.

Some people also choose to earn a certificate to gain knowledge and experience in meatcutting. Some community organizations, high schools and colleges give opportunities for people to earn certificates in meatcutting or meat merchandising. Through these programs, people gain hands-on training. They learn about various techniques related to the processing of various types of meat.

One most important things people can do to become a meatcutter is to obtain experience working in the meat section of a grocery store, at a butcher’s shop or at a plant that processes meat. It is through hands-on experience that most meatcutters gain the skill necessary to be successful in their profession. On average, a person can become a meatcutter and be highly skilled in this profession after he or she has completed an apprenticeship or approximately two years of on-the-job training. During on-the-job training, the meatcutter will learn techniques such as removing fat from meat, trimming and bone removal as well as the skills needed to handle a carcass. While they are in on-the-job training or an apprenticeship, meatcutters also receive training in food safety, food-borne pathogens, the cleaning and preservation of meat, controlling inventory, customer service and business operations.

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