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How to become a Butcher

A Butcher’s main job is to cut and prepare meat and smallgoods for sale. They need to have excellent knowledge of an animal’s anatomy to ensure there is minimal wastage and be able to operate cutting and processing machines.

If you have a passion for food, are prepared to work on your feet, and enjoy making customers happy, this could be a rewarding career for you.


About you:


  • Physically resilient and fit
  • Strong stomach
  • Great communication skills
  • Good with your hands
  • Careful and precise
  • Good knife skills and safety
  • Impeccable hygiene
  • Can work in teams and independently


The job:


  • Cutting meat from bones and trimming fat
  • Cutting and mincing meat to shape
  • Preparing crumbed, marinated, smoked and seasoned meat
  • Selecting meat to prepare smallgoods
  • Making seasonings, sauces and pickles
  • Operating machinery such as grinders and sausage fillers
  • Advising customers on preparation and cooking techniques
  • Maintaining excellent hygiene standards


Lifestyle Impact: Moderate


  • Part Time opportunities: Low – only around 18% of Butchers work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 46 hours a week, which is slightly above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Butchers’ salary (average) $70,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Stable (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will most likely have to work on weekends and start early in the morning. It is also a physically demanding job where you will be on your feet for long hours and performing manual work.


Butchers are most in demand in these locations:


This is a medium sized occupation, with around 16,300 people working as Butchers in Australia in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). There is slightly above average demand in Queensland and South Australia. Most butchers work in the Retail Trade, Manufacturing, and Wholesale Trade industries.

Butchers can work in a variety of environments, including in retail stores, in wholesale, as part of a restaurant or hotel, or in a supermarket.


How to become a Butcher in Australia


You will need to complete an apprenticeship to become a qualified Butcher in Australia.


Step 1 – Complete at least Year 10 with a focus on English and Maths.


Step 2 – Consider completing a pre-apprenticeship while still at school.


Step 3 – Start your apprenticeship. You will most likely be undertaking a course such as Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher). An average butcher apprenticeship takes 4 years.


Step 4 – Find work as a qualified butcher.


Find out more here –




Similar Careers to Butcher



Food Technologist

Food Process Worker







Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Butchers do?


Butchers cut and prepare different meats for sale to customers. They might also advise customers on cooking and preparation techniques.


Which industries employ Butchers?


Butchers are mostly employed in the Retail Trade, Manufacturing, and Wholesale Trade industries.


What options are there for career progression?


You can start out as an apprentice before becoming a full-time butcher. You might even like to consider starting up your own business.


Do I need to go to university to become a Butchers?


No. However, most butchers complete an apprenticeship before they are able to start working.


Where do Butchers work?


Butchers are needed all across Australia, with higher than average demand in Queensland and South Australia.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Butcher?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Butcher is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Find work experience in a butcher’s store or other food-related setting to see if you enjoy the work.
  2. See if you can talk to a Butcher to see what a day in their life is like.
  3. Consider completing a pre-apprenticeship while still at school. This can help you build valuable skills and boost your employment prospects.

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