Retail and Wholesale Butchers both have similar responsibilities. They are responsible for cutting grinding trimming shaping slicing weighing and wrapping all types of meat. The most common types of food that a butcher handles include chicken and other poultry fish red meat and pork. However this is no way an inclusive list. Additionally they prepare sausages and cured meats. In their jobs they use tools such as powered grinders band saws slicing machines and cleavers.
Some butchers serve in supervisory positions overseeing the work of other butchers. Retail butchers in supermarkets and butcher shops prepare and package items and in some cases cut and wrap items ordered by individual customers. Butchers employed in small grocery stores need interpersonal skills because they interact directly with customers but those working in animal slaughtering and meat processing and packing plants have little customer interaction.
However all butchers regardless of where they are employed must inspect items to insure their quality and must carefully follow health and sanitation guidelines. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most butchers acquire the necessary skills through on-the-job training. Basic techniques dont take long to learn but more skilled meat cutters require up to two years of training.
A few schools offer programs leading to a certificate in meat cutting. Students in these programs are taught how to cut display and package meat and they learn about laws and regulations regarding safety and quality control. Job prospects are brighter for work in processing plants than in retail stores. Butchers need good eye-hand coordination because they are susceptible to injuries from working with sharp tools. They must be willing to work in cool humid areas permeated by meat odors.
Butchers earn an average salary of approximately $30000. Those employed in processing plants earn approximately $27000 and those in retail and wholesale stores earn closer to $32000.