Pennsylvania residents seeking a career in meat cutting have several options to choose from. Graduating from community college with a general food-science degree is one option; another is to take a hands-on course at a vocational school. Others prefer on-the-job training in lieu of classes.
Decide whether to apply to a college, vocational school, or to opt for on-the-job training. The best route to becoming a meat cutter will depend on an individual's career goals and financial means. The most common method of acquiring the necessary training for this field is through on-the-job training.
Earn a GED or high school diploma as the first step to becoming a meat cutter in Pennsylvania. Most employers require that a meat cutter be a high school graduate. Although some employers do not require a diploma, the odds of getting a meat-cutting job are better if the applicant holds a high school diploma or GED.
Land a job in a grocery store or butcher shop in Pennsylvania. Apply for positions in the delicatessen or meat department of the store. Work for an employer who will provide on the job training for those interested in furthering their careers. It takes an apprentice approximately two years to move from an entry-level job to an advanced meat-cutting position.
Attend a college that offers an associate degree in meat processing, meat technology, or a related field. For example, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Though this curriculum does not offer a vocational-oriented, hands-on course in meat cutting, the degree may benefit those who want to land a job in the field.
Attend a vocational meat-cutting school. Steel Center Area Vo-Tech School in Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania offers a hands-on meat-cutting technology program. Students study for two years to learn the butcher's trade.
Obtain a food employee certification if supervisory status is a goal. In Pennsylvania, a meat cutter does not need any specific licenses or certification, but at least one supervisory employee at any business that sells food must have a such certification, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. A training course followed by a score of 75% in an exam is required for certification. The testing fee is $20.