Butchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and Wholesale

Occupation:Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers in Retail and Wholesale
Category:Sales and Service

About the job

Nature of work:

Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers, retail and wholesale, prepare standard cuts of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish for sale in retail or wholesale food establishments. They are employed in supermarkets, grocery stores, butcher shops and fish stores or may be self-employed. Butchers who are supervisors or heads of departments are also included in this group.

Job duties:
Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Cut, trim, and otherwise prepare standard cuts of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish for sale at self-serve counters or according to customers' orders.
  • Grind meats and slice cooked meats using powered grinders and slicing machines.
  • Prepare special displays of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish.
  • Shape, lace and tie roasts and other meats, poultry or fish and may wrap prepared meats, poultry, fish and shellfish.
  • Manage inventory, keep records of sales and determine amount, product line and freshness of products according to company and customer requirements.
  • Ensure food storage conditions are adequate.
  • May supervise other butchers, or meat cutters or fishmongers.
Sample job titles:
  • apprentice butcher - retail or wholesale
  • butcher - butcher shop
  • butcher - wholesale
  • grocery store butcher
  • head butcher - retail or wholesale
  • retail butcher
  • retail meat cutter

To be a butcher you must have good physical health, physical stamina, and manual dexterity. You must be able to take direction and carry out instructions. You may be required to work shift work and establish good working relationships with a variety of co-workers and customers.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school may be required.
  • Completion of a college or other meat-and-fish-cutting training program, or a three-year meat cutting apprenticeship may be required.
  • On-the-job training in food stores is usually provided for retail butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers.
Other considerations:


Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. However, competition for positions may be low due to few qualified jobseekers. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers in Retail and Wholesale most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 62% of Butchers, Meat Cutters and Fishmongers in Retail and Wholesale who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $32,277. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Butchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and Wholesale360Moderate growth75Low
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $12.05
Maximum: $17.00
Minimum: $8,700
Median: $24,807
Maximum: $37,013
Occupations in Sales and Service102,605Decline slightly5,260Moderate
Minimum: $10.70
Median: $12.50
Maximum: $21.17
Minimum: $2,949
Median: $16,629
Maximum: $45,086
Butchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and WholesaleCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
Percent employed full-time79%59%
Percent self-employed1%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentButchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and WholesaleCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton13%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley25%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeButchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and WholesaleCompared to: All Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4137
GenderButchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and WholesaleCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
EducationButchers, Meat Cutters, and Fishmongers - Retail and WholesaleCompared to: All Sales and Service
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school25.0%$18,46118.8%$9,486
High school41.3%$18,28540.4%$12,982
Trades certificate20.0%$23,9718.0%$18,797
College certificate or diploma12.5%$20,70419.9%$19,514
University certificate or diplomaxx1.6%$18,279
Bachelor's degreex$13,92010.0%$20,807
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx0.5%$15,716
Master's degreexx0.8%$20,769
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%$17,368
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Pork Nova Scotia
60 Research Drive
Bible Hill, NS B6L 2R2
Tel: (902) 893-7455
Fax: (902) 893-7063

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Program Name:Meat cutting/meat cutter
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to receive, cut, and package animal meat products in commercial establishments and to function as licensed meat cutters/butchers. These programs include courses in product recognition for beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry, and fancy and smoked meats; retail and wholesale cutting and specialty cuts; packaging and counter display; shop safety; meat sanitation, storage and rotation; quality control; meat handling laws and regulations; and customer service.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.