Meat Cutter and Butcher Schools

Learn how to find schools with education and training programs for aspiring meat cutters and butchers. Learn about certificate, degree and apprenticeship programs. Schools offering Culinary Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do I Find Meat Cutter and Butcher Schools?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most butchers and meat cutters develop their skills through on-the-job training. This type of training can last from a few days to several months or even 1-2 years (www.bls.gov). However, there are traditional schools that offer degree and certificate programs in food processing.

The National Center for Education Statistics maintains an online database of postsecondary education institutions. Through a search, you can find schools that offer suitable programs in meat cutting or meat merchandising, food science and technology, culinary arts or food preparation. Most programs are offered through an institution's department or school of culinary arts, agriculture or animal science (www.nces.ed.gov). Some general food preparation programs may include meat cutting or butcher courses as electives rather than standard requirements.

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a professional organization of chefs and cooks. The ACF Education Foundation Accrediting Commission is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. The ACF maintains a list of accredited institutions that offer certificate and degree programs in the culinary arts. Courses dealing with meat cutting, handling, preparation and butchering are offered in many of these programs (www.acfchefs.org).

Due to the nature of the occupation of meat cutting and the necessity for hands-on training in a practical setting, completely online programs are non-existent. Some schools offer hybrid programs that allow you to complete a few courses online. However, these programs are quite rare.

What Certificates Are Available?

Programs leading to a certificate in meat merchandising or meat cutting might take six months to one year to complete. Courses may explore wholesale and retail cutting methods, meat display techniques, butchering tools, food safety and inventory management. Certificate programs usually require completion of a field experience or apprenticeship.

Can I Earn A Degree?

You may pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Meat Processing and Food Safety or Meat Technology. A 2-year program might consist of 64-71 credits. You could study topics like animal science, meat science, live animal evaluation, carcass evaluation, poultry and livestock processing. Programs generally include an internship which might entail full-time summer employment at a school-approved meat processing facility.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Available?

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a list of individual state apprenticeship websites (www.doleta.gov). Through this site, you can learn about the availability and requirements of meat cutter or butcher apprenticeship programs in your state. For instance, according to the California Employment Development Department, apprenticeship programs entail 4,000 hours of practical training and 144 hours per year of classroom instruction for two years (www.calmis.ca.gov). You can also find information about ACF-sponsored apprenticeship programs at the official ACF website.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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