Butchers are skilled in the trade of handling and cutting foods such as pork, beef, veal, lamb, seafood and poultry, using technical preparation techniques in order to make the meat presentable and sanitary for sale. There are several colleges and universities around the country that offer relevant undergraduate training programs and courses for aspiring butchers.
10 Schools with Butcher Training Programs
These schools provide educational opportunities for students who are interested in becoming butchers:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Program Offered||Tuition (2018-2019)*|
|GateWay Community College||Phoenix, AZ||2-year, Public||Certificate||$2,070 in-state, $7,854 out-of-state|
|Vermont Technical College||Randolph Center, VT||4-year, Public||Certificate||$1,500**|
|Eastern Oklahoma State College||Wilburton, OK||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate||$4,572 in-state, $8,189 out-of-state|
|SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill||Cobleskill, NY||4-year, Public||Associate, Bachelor's||$8,654 in-state, $18,434 out-of-state|
|Bridgerland Applied Technology College||Logan, UT||2-year, Public||Certificate||$1,905**|
|University of Wisconsin-Extension||Madison, WI||4-year, Public||Course Series||$7,500**|
|Sterling College||Sterling, KS||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Course||$1,300**|
|South Seattle Community College-Georgetown||Auburn, WA||4-year, Public||Apprenticeship||N/A|
|University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Lincoln, NE||4-year, Public||Certificate||$9,242 in-state, $25,038 out-of-state|
|University of Kentucky||Lexington, KY||4-year, Public||Workshops||N/A|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School websites
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking at butcher training programs:
- It is important to look into the program's curriculum since some focus entirely on meat cutting training while others offer a wider array of coursework in the food industry. Prospective students must choose a program that fulfills their educational needs.
- There are different programs to prepare you for entry-level or apprentice-level work in preparation for career butchery.
- Butchering-related program lengths vary widely, from workshops that last for only a few days to four-year bachelor's degrees, so prospective students should consider the time commitment they are willing to make when choosing between programs.
- Because many programs include hands-on training with culinary supplies, it can be helpful to find out about the school's kitchen labs to make sure that students have the chance to work with the latest meat cutting technologies.
- Prospective students should makes sure that the program operates under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocol, which specifies the most up-to-date guidelines in food sanitation and safety.
Certificate programs for aspiring butchers are available in topics such as meat cutting, meat processing and meat culinology. They can range significantly in length, lasting from a few days to a full year. Students learn about food safety, sanitation, portion control, knife handling and meat wrapping. While some programs require no previous education, others require students to hold an associate's degree before they enroll.
There are some schools that offer standalone courses or workshops in meat cutting. Like certificate programs, these courses typically cover the basics of meat cutting. Some last for only a few days, while others consist of multiple courses and may result in a designation at the end if the student completes all of the courses in the series.
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. As a result, students gain both technical skills in meat cutting and fundamental business skills in customer service, professionalism and workplace practices. It is important to note that apprentices are paid for their work.
Undergraduate Degree Programs
Undergraduate degree programs for butchers are rare, but there are a few options available. At the associate's degree level, it is possible to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Meat Processing and Food Safety, or to earn a related degree in a subject such as beef and livestock studies. It is also possible to earn a Bachelor of Technology (BT) in Food Systems & Technology, which includes studies in processing alongside a broader array of food industry-related topics, such as food marketing, food science and sustainability. In all associate's and bachelor's degree programs, students must also fulfill general education requirements.
Aspiring butchers can gain industry knowledge and hands-on experience through postsecondary training programs in meat cutting and related subjects. Program length and curriculum should be considered when choosing between programs.