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Career profile Meat Cutter

Also known as Beef Trimmer, Breast Trimmer, Chicken Cutter, Deboner, Fish Processor, Meat Cutter, Meat Trimmer, Seafood Processor, Trimmer, Wing Scorer

Meat Cutter

Also known as Beef Trimmer, Breast Trimmer, Chicken Cutter

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$22,100 - $40,050 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Food Production
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Use knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, or other equipment to perform meat cutting and trimming.
  • Weigh meats and tag containers for weight and contents.
  • Process primal parts into cuts that are ready for retail use.
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What does a Meat Cutter do?

Meat Cutters use hands or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.

What kind of tasks does a Meat Cutter perform regularly?

Meat Cutters are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Use knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, or other equipment to perform meat cutting and trimming.
  • Weigh meats and tag containers for weight and contents.
  • Inspect meat products for defects, bruises or blemishes and remove them along with any excess fat.
  • Cut and trim meat to prepare for packing.
  • Separate meats and byproducts into specified containers and seal containers.

The above responsibilities are specific to Meat Cutters. More generally, Meat Cutters are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

What is a Meat Cutter salary?

The median salary for a Meat Cutter is $30,190, and the average salary is $30,800. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Meat Cutter salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Meat Cutters earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Meat Cutters earn less than $22,100 per year, 25% earn less than $26,070, 75% earn less than $35,760, and 90% earn less than $40,050.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Meat Cutters is expected to change by 3.3%, and there should be roughly 18,400 open positions for Meat Cutters every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$22,100 - $40,050
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Meat Cutters?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Meat Cutter are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Meat Cutters typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Meat Cutter tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Meat Cutters moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Meat Cutters moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Meat Cutters somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Meat Cutters must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and achievement/effort.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Meat Cutters, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

What education and training do Meat Cutters need?

Working as a Meat Cutter may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Meat Cutters need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Educational degrees among Meat Cutters

  • 29.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 43.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 17.8% completed some college coursework
  • 4.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Meat Cutters

Meat Cutters may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, food production, or public safety and security knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Meat Cutters might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Meat Cutters

Meat Cutters must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Meat Cutters need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, control precision, and near vision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Meat Cutters, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Selective Attention
The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Critical Skills needed by Meat Cutters

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Meat Cutters frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Meat Cutters, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.