Butcher School, Training Program and Course Info

Butchers work in grocery stores or specialty shops cutting large portions of meat down to smaller sizes in the form of steak, ground meat, sausage or additional chopped or cut meat. They use tools such as grinders, cleavers, knives and slicing machines. Get info about important factors to consider when choosing a butcher school, and learn more about the training programs here.

How to Choose a Butcher School

Butchers are skilled in the trade of handling and cutting foods such as pork, beef, veal, lamb, seafood and poultry. They use customary preparation techniques in order to make the meat presentable and sanitary for sale. Butchers typically work in refrigerated environments that are fast-paced; the work may also include heavy lifting. A number of schools offer training programs in meat cutting and meat processing, especially technical and vocational schools.

Summary of Considerations

  • Level of award
  • Curriculum

Level of Award

Certificates in meat cutting are suitable for individuals who desire an entry-level position as an associate meat cutter or butcher's assistant. An apprentice meat cutting program is suitable for those who aspire to have a career as a butcher. Both types of programs are hands-on.


Individuals should seek out schools that operate under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocol; this ensures that the program is aligned with current guidelines in food sanitation and safety. Additionally, schools that introduce students to the latest electronic and hand-held tools can provide more comprehensive experience.

Overview of Butcher Training Programs

Certificate in Meat Cutting

Certificate programs range from one month for a basic program to 12 months for a more advanced program. Students learn about food safety, sanitation, portion control and knife handling. Additional topics may include:

  • Slaughter
  • Cutting and wrapping
  • Meat storage

Apprenticeship in Meat Cutting

An apprenticeship program typically lasts two years and is suitable for individuals who want a career as a butcher. In addition to the topics covered in a certificate program, an apprenticeship includes on-the-job training in maintaining merchandise and managing inventory. Other topics include:

  • Filling orders
  • Customer service
  • Workplace guidelines
  • Dealing with complaints

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