Five FAQs: Meat Processing Specialist

Five FAQs: Meat Processing Specialist

Tuition for new certificate currently covered by state grant

| By: Daley-Hinkens, Carmelyn M

The Meat Processing Specialist certificate is a new offering at Fox Valley Technical College that can be completed in one semester and fully prepares students for an in-demand career in the meat processing industry.

Through a limited-time grant, tuition for this certificate is covered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), meaning tuition will be paid through the grant as long as the student successfully completes each course and grant funds are available.

Here are five frequently asked questions about the career pathway. Chef Jeff Igel, Culinary Arts instructor provides the answers.

What is the Meat Processing Specialist certificate?

This eight-credit learning opportunity focuses on the fabrication process of poultry, seafood, pork, lamb, beef and a large variety of sausages, smoked products and charcuterie. This certificate is extremely hands-on, with half of the credits fulfilled by completing internships with butcher shops and fabricators.

Why did FVTC decide to add this option now?

There has been a growing need for skilled meat fabricators for some time and the pandemic really magnified the shortage as the meat supply chain experienced serious backlogs. In response to the need, the state of Wisconsin created an initiative to develop more meat fabricators within the state. Fox Valley Technical College is eager and prepared to help solve this demand. 

Who should consider exploring this field?

The ideal candidate for the Meat Processing Specialist certificate is someone that likes to work on his or her feet in a clean and sanitary environment using both hand tools and power equipment to process meat through the supply chain. Final preparations include presenting, packaging and direct customer interaction as these products make their way to the final consumer. 

What kinds of jobs are available with this certificate?

The Meat Processing industry includes jobs in many different areas including packing houses, meat processors, grocery stores and local butcher shops. There are opportunities to work on all ends of the spectrum, literally from farm to table. This is important because it allows each fabricator to pursue the area or areas that are the most interesting and enjoyable for him or her. 

What is the earning potential for this career area?

The meat processing industry, like many industries, has responded to the demand for skilled workers with impressive increases in compensation. An employee can expect reasonable market-driven entry-level wages to escalate quickly as their skill and speed increase. Meat processing careers tend to be long-term as people gain knowledge, experience, enjoyment and compensation that continually increases.  

Interested in learning more >> Meat Processing Specialist