Butchers must have manual dexterity and enough physical strength to lift large packages of meat. They also need stamina to stand during most of their shift. Most butchers learn their skills the job, so there's no specific education requirement. Although the work is physically demanding, the pay is relatively modest -- less than $15 per hour on average as of 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average Pay and Range
The average hourly pay for butchers was $14.40 in 2013, or the equivalent of an annual full-time wage of $29,950, according to the BLS. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $8.83 per hour or less, and the top-paid 10 percent received $21.70 hourly or more. Most butchers work full-time, and some work on weekends or holidays.
Pay by Industry
Most butchers work for grocery stores, which paid them an average of $14.38 per hour in 2013, according to the BLS. Other major employers include specialty food stores, paying an average of $13.76 per hour, and animal slaughtering and processing, paying an average of $13.42 hourly. Butchers working for the federal government received an average hourly wage of $21.29 in 2013, higher than in any other industry.
The State Difference
California had 21,510 butchers in 2013, the most of any state, and they earned an average of $13.98 per hour, according to the BLS. The highest-paying state was Connecticut, where butchers averaged $20.37 hourly, followed by Hawaii, at $19.24 per hour. In Alaska, New York and Massachusetts, butchers also averaged more than $18.80 an hour.
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