Butchers prepare and sell meat and poultry, and make meat products like sausages, burgers and pies.

Average annual salary (starting - experienced): £14,500 - £30,000

Typical hours (a week): 43 - 45

How to become a butcher

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate For Proficiency in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills
  • Level 2 Diploma in Butchery

College (Entry requirements)

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course


You could get into this job through a butcher intermediate apprenticeship. Once working, you could move onto the butcher advanced apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship (Entry requirements)

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship


You can start as a trainee or assistant butcher and learn on the job. Knowledge of the meat trade or experience in food retailing may help you find a trainee job.

More info

Career tips Any experience you have working with the public, food or handling cash would be useful for this career.

What it takes

Skills & Knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held devic

Restriction & Requirements

Some employers will want you to have a Level 2 Award in Food Safety for Retail or Catering. This can be taken as a 1-day course and is widely available through colleges and private training providers.

What you'll do

Day to day

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • buying, ordering, storing and controlling stock
  • receiving deliveries and checking their content and hygiene
  • moving meat stock to cold storage areas
  • creating product displays
  • cutting, boning and trimming meat
  • serving customers
  • advising customers on how to prepare and cook meat
  • driving to markets, wholesalers, and customers' premises

Working environment

You could work in a factory or at a store. Your working environment may be cool and physically demanding. You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career path and progression

Career path & progression

With experience, you could work in larger and higher quality independent butchers’ shops, retail chains and supermarkets, or set up your own shop. You may progress to supervisory or management roles in a supermarket or chain of shops. You could also work at the Food Standards Agency, checking quality and standards in abattoirs and meat plants. You could move into catering, meat manufacturing and wholesaling.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
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