Butchers cut and trim meat from larger, wholesale portions into steaks, chops, roasts, and other cuts. They then prepare meat for sale by performing various duties, such as weighing meat, wrapping it, and putting it out for display. In retail stores, they also wait on customers and prepare special cuts of meat upon request.
Butchers typically learn their skills on the job, and the length of training varies considerably. Training for simple cutting may take only a few weeks. However, more complicated cutting tasks generally require training that may last from several months to more than a year.
Employment of butchers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. The popularity of various meat products, such as sausages, cured meats, and specialty cuts, is expected to drive employment growth of butchers in retail stores, such as grocery and specialty food stores.
Most butchers work in grocery stores and specialty meat shops, and some work in animal slaughtering and processing plants. The work can be physically demanding and may include exposure to repetitive motions, dangerous equipment, and cold temperatures.