OFO No: 681103

Other names for butcher:

  • Blockman


Youtube clip – All about a career as a Butcher

For training options in South Africa – scroll down

What is a Butcher?

A Butcher is a professional who cuts and prepares meat for sale. 

They range from supermarket Butchers who work with already-slaughtered (killed) animals to traditional Butchers who travel to farms to kill the animals humanely themselves.  

Butchery is a skilled trade. It needs a lot of training and these skills are often passed down from one family member to another. Once the carcass (dead animal) is back in the butchery, the Butcher then cuts it up, trims off the fat and prepares it for packaging for the shelves.  

A Butcher may be employed by supermarkets, grocery stores, butcher shops, fish markets or can be self-employed. Some butchers may also specialise in charcuterie (making various cured meats).

What does a Butcher do?

  • receives carcasses (humanely slaughtered animals)
  • in some cases, slaughters the animals humanely
  • stores meat in refrigerators
  • cuts, trims and prepares meats for sale purposes
  • weighs, packs and prices
  • displays meat attractively in counters
  • advises shoppers on various cuts of meat and cooking methods
  • maintains sterile, hygienic work areas
  • maintains all equipment is in good working order
  • sharpesn knives, saws etc
  • forecasts shoppers needs – (seasonal shopping eg Christmas)
  • minces, pickles, curries, cures, smokes etc meats where required
  • makes sure safety procedures are adhered to at all times

Are you … ?

  • interested in working with raw meat?
  • able to kill an animal humanely?
  • a person with good listening skills?
  • a person with good eye-hand coordination?
  • neat?
  • organised?
  • friendly and helpful?
  • healthy?
  • safety conscious?
  • team-player?
  • hygenic?
  • a good manager of people?
  • able to stand for long periods at a time?
  • a person with a positive personality?

How do I become a Butcher? 

Most Butchers start as a learner and study for diplomas and/or certificates while on the job.

  • SA BUTCHERY TRAINING SCHOOL:  (countrywide) 



6 week butchery training course



Other routes you can follow:


  • Apprenticeship
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Meat Processing Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Fresh Meat Processing Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • National Certificate: Butchers: N1
  • National Certificate: Poultry Meat Examiner: N2
  • Workplace experience
  • Trade Test


  • Artisan Internship
  • Trade Test


  • RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) for Artisans: CLICK HERE
  • If you have already been working a long time as a Butcher without qualifications, you may be able to get your qualification through RPL
  • Trade Test


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 

OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Baker … or … Maitre d’

Is becoming a Butcher the right career choice for me?