Detailed Guide forButchers and Meat Cutters in California
May also be called: Meat Butchers; and Meat Counter Workers
What Would I Do?
Butchers and Meat Cutters (typically called Meat Cutters in the retail industry) skillfully cut and prepare large, wholesale pieces of meat, fish, or poultry for retail sale. Butchers and Meat Cutters slice cuts of meat into steaks and chops; they shape and tie roasts, as well as grind beef and other meats. They may weigh, wrap, label, and display the meat, fish, or poultry for retail sale. Additionally, they may prepare special cuts to fulfill a shopper’s custom order.
TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY
Butchers and Meat Cutters work with potentially dangerous cutting tools. They use knives and power equipment such as saws, slicers, grinders, and cubers. They may also use scales, wrappers, compactors, and hand trucks.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Cut, trim, bone, tie, and grind meats, such as beef, pork, poultry, and fish, to prepare meat in cooking form.||Near Vision|
|Shape, lace, and tie roasts, using boning knife, skewer, and twine.||Arm-Hand Steadiness|
|Cure, smoke, tenderize, and preserve meat.||Production and Processing|
|Wrap, weigh, label, and price cuts of meat.||Food Production|
|Prepare special cuts of meat ordered by customers.||Customer and Personal Service|
|Negotiate with representatives from supply companies to determine order details.||Persuasion|
|Receive, inspect, and store meat upon delivery, to ensure meat quality.||Problem Sensitivity|
|Record quantity of meat received and issued to cooks and/or keep records of meat sales.||Written Comprehension|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Near Vision||The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).|
|Arm-Hand Steadiness||The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.|
|Production and Processing||Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.|
|Food Production||Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.|
|Customer and Personal Service||Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Persuasion||Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.|
|Problem Sensitivity||The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.|
|Written Comprehension||The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.|
Most Meat Cutters work in retail establishments—from small, family-owned butcher shops to large supermarket chains. Some work in establishments that provide meat to restaurants. Butchers typically work in slaughtering and meat processing plants. Butchers and Meat Cutters usually work a 40-hour week. Those in retail may work nights, weekends, and holidays. Grocery stores typically offer premium pay to those who work weekends and holidays.
The job requires physical strength to lift and carry large cuts of meat. Workers need good eyesight and the ability to move about with ease and speed. They need to be able to stand for long periods, bend, twist, squat, and walk frequently.
Butchers and Meat Cutters often work in large, refrigerated rooms. They work with potentially dangerous cutting tools, so following safety guidelines is very important. They may be exposed to strong cleaning chemicals and the air may smell unpleasant. Although they work in clean conditions, their clothing is often soiled with animal blood. Additionally, Meat Cutters in retail establishments may encounter stress when interacting with customers.
Butchers and Meat Cutters wear protective safety equipment and sanitary clothing, such as hats, hairnets, and gloves.
Butchers and Meat Cutters may belong to a union such as the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Butcher and Meat Cutter may appeal to those who like working with tools and machinery. Those who enjoy activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions may like this type of work. Meat Cutters should not mind working with animal carcasses. Those working in retail should enjoy interacting with customers.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2015 for Butchers and Meat Cutters in California was $27,308 annually, or $13.13 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Benefits generally include medical, dental, and life insurance, as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.
What is the Job Outlook?
Even though meatpacking plants are prepackaging more and more meat for retail sale, demand for Butchers and Meat Cutters is expected to increase. However, most openings will be created by the need to replace those who retire, promote to lead or management positions, or leave the job for other reasons.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Butchers and Meat Cutters is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Butchers and Meat Cutters are expected to increase by 13.9 percent, or 3,000 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
Butchers and Meat Cutters
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 310 new job openings per year is expected for Butchers and Meat Cutters, plus an additional 530 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 840 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
Butchers and Meat Cutters
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
Formal education is not required to become a Butcher or Meat Cutter; however, most employers prefer that candidates have a high school diploma or the equivalent. California requires those who operate power-driven, meat-processing machines to be at least 18 years old.
Experience varies by employer. Some grocery chains prefer to promote and train their employees from within their organization.
Early Career Planning
Those interested in becoming a Butcher or Meat Cutter should take classes such as basic math and English. Shop classes help develop skill in the use of hand and power tools.
Some Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) offer introductory meat processing courses. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.
Some Butchers and Meat Cutters learn the trade through formal apprenticeship programs offered through local unions. Apprenticeship programs consist of on-the-job training plus related classroom instruction. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and physically able to perform the work. For more information on apprenticeship programs currently available, visit the State of California's Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards Web site.
Some employers prefer that job applicants have a food safety certificate. California accepts certification from organizations accredited by the American National Standards Institute, Conference for Food Protection. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
The largest industries employing Butchers and Meat Cutters are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Grocery Stores ||78.7%|
|Specialty Food Stores ||7.9%|
|Other General Merchandise Stores ||6.1%|
|Grocery Product Merchant Wholesalers ||2.3%|
|Animal Slaughtering and Processing ||1.7%|
Finding a Job
Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job listings may also provide job leads. Those who belong to a union may also find work through their local union hall. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Butchers and Meat Cutters.
- Grocery Stores
- Meat Cutters
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
Butchers and Meat Cutters may promote to lead or management positions. Some may become federal, state, or local government food inspectors.
Below is a list of occupations related to Butchers and Meat Cutters with links to more information.
|Chefs and Head Cooks||Guide|
|Cooks, Fast Food||Profile|
|Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers||Profile|
|Slaughterers and Meat Packers||Profile|
These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.