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A butcher works in either a food processing plant or a retail business and cuts meat into resale portions for customers. Butchers earned an annual average salary of $30,000 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While pay is modest, this career does offer several advantages.
Butchers have a unique expertise that is often called on by local culinary programs and media for stories. In an October 2012 article for the website "The Art of Manliness," butcher shop owner Danny Catullo explains that he teaches culinary classes at the local college, where he can show off his talents. Television stations periodically call on such skilled professionals when they want an expert opinion to support a news feature.
Though not inherent, butchers do often enter the profession to carry on the family business. Many grow up helping out and spending time in butcher shops owned by their grandparents or parents. Shops are often passed down through generations and remain family-owned businesses. In small communities, people become familiar with the local butcher shop and the owners are an integral part of the community.
As a butcher, you can either work for an employer in a processing plant or retail shop. However, many elect to start their own businesses. A butcher's shop is a niche retail shop that specializes in preparing cuts of meat for customers who come in solely for meat products. Other butchers actually turn their talents into a restaurant that specializes in prime meats, including steaks, prime rib, pork and fish.
Butchers, especially those that own their own shops, take great pride in not only the products, but the intangible benefits they provide. Catullo notes that one of his favorite parts of the job is hearing a customer tell him about how great a holiday meal was because of the quality of the meat. The level of professional satisfaction can be quite high.