School of Skilled Trades

Professional Meat Cutting & Merchandising

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For careers that are a cut above…

You want to be a professional meat cutter.

You’ll work with beef, bison, pork, lamb, seafood, and poultry and learn how to produce cured, smoked, and processed meat and sausage. You’ll also learn about merchandising and purchasing meat products.

Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising is 15 weeks in the classroom, immediately followed by a 3-week (90 hours) industry placement. This program has an emphasis on sanitation, safety, and quality control. You will have the opportunity to train in the NAIT Retail Meat Store, and you will benefit from the work experience placement for on-the-job training.

Graduates of the Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising program find employment in the meat industry or meat processing plants, retail businesses such as supermarkets, speciality sausage shops, delicatessens, and independent meat markets. The principles of professionalism are key, along with respect, responsibility, and accountability in this field.

At NAIT, Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising classes begin early in the morning, which is reflective of typical work hours in industry. The NAIT Meat Lab environment can often be loud, and requires standing for long periods of time, while using saws, meat grinders and slicers, knives, and many other types of kitchen equipment. Individuals should also be comfortable interacting with the public regarding the customer service aspect of both the program and the industry. Activities in the program and the field involve proficiency in the following: use of basic math skills such as measurement calculation, clear and concise written and verbal communication, and an ability to adhere to public health and safety standards. Meat cutting and merchandising environments may involve lifting and moving objects up to 25 kg (55 lbs.). These skills are essential to be successful in the Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising program and to fulfill all the requirements of working in the meat cutting profession. (Please contact NAIT should you wish to discuss possible accommodations).

Quick Facts

Credential: Certificate

Certificates are credit programs that take 1 year or less and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.

Campus: Main

Any in-person components of your courses will be delivered at NAIT's Main Campus in Edmonton. View map

Delivery Options:

  • On-Campus Day - Your course activity is done in-person Monday - Friday in the daytime.

Length: 18 Weeks

With a typical full-time course load, this program will take 18 Weeks to complete.

Open Studies: Available

This program has courses that are available for Open Studies. Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program. It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in. View courses

International Students: Not Accepted

This program is not accepting international students for this intake.

Grad Employment Rate

Employment rates are reported by NAIT alumni, are for information purposes, and do not guarantee future employment opportunities. Please note that data for newer programs may not be included within this report.

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Median Starting Salary: $34,632

Salaries are reported by NAIT alumni, are for information purposes, and are not a guarantee of future income.

View Career Outcomes

Work Integrated Learning: Field Placement

This program has Work Integrated Learning (WIL). WIL is a form of experiential learning that integrates academic studies with relevant work-based learning. Experiences are directly tied to curriculum and part of an approved program of study.

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Hands-on, industry-relevant training 

The meat industry in Canada presents numerous challenging employment opportunities. The varied nature of this industry demands that personnel have a basic understanding of most meat-cutting concepts, including merchandising, cutting yields, purchasing, sausage-making and value-added meats.

The curriculum is designed so that you will develop a thorough appreciation for shop sanitation and personal hygiene standards. You will learn the practical aspects of proper care and safety procedures of tools and equipment. Instruction emphasizes a high standard of occupational competency and workmanship. The program's content includes concepts of total quality management that specifically includes quality awareness, customer focus, employee involvement and team work.

Emphasis is placed on practical cutting methods, selection of meats, preparation of specialty meats, storing and handling meats and general operation and maintenance of shop equipment.

Meatcutting students

Graduates of the Professional Meat Cutting and Merchandising program will learn to:

  • understand the fundamentals of meat theory including meat structure, nutrition, grading and inspection
  • order, judge and select meats
  • use safe and sanitary practices relating to meat storage and handling
  • prepare fresh meat, fish, poultry and value-added items
  • care for and safely operate hand tools and power meat-cutting equipment
  • provide quality customer service during the Retail Meat Store training component
  • engage in business fundamentals, including purchasing, receiving, marketing strategies, inventory control and product merchandising
  • apply business math techniques in profit principles, retail pricing and spreadsheet analysis
Meatcutting student

Enter the workforce with confidence

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Career Outcomes

Build your resume before you even graduate

Explore work experience opportunities that help grads get hired even sooner.

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Work Experience Placements

Courses and Advanced Credit

Current and recently admitted students can find information and updates about their program on their My Program page in the MyNAIT Portal. To monitor your course progress and the courses still needed to graduate, visit your Academic Progress Report.

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section, your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 5 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of B- in the course(s) or program

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR)

Read more about advanced credit or contact us about applying for credit for this program.


Expand each course below to see details about credits, requisites, scheduling, and more.

Tuition & Fees

Scholarships & Awards

The following scholarships and/or bursaries are available to you as a student in this program. To access your opportunities, visit the Student Portal.

Admission Requirements

Want to learn more about this program?

Thank you for your interest! We want to get you in contact with the right person to answer your questions. If you are a current or recently admitted student you can find program and course information as well as contact details for your program on the My Program page on the MyNAIT Portal.

General inquiries

Please contact the Student Service Centre for general inquiries such as:

  • Student application support
  • Program entrance requirements, tuition & fees, and how to apply
  • Program admissions process
  • Enrolment support
  • Student funding options
  • Fee and refund inquiries
  • General program and course withdrawal procedures
  • Navigating and MyNAITPortal

Contact Student Service Centre

Program-specific questions

Please fill out the form below if you have any program-specific questions relating to:

  • Program details
  • Work-integrated learning and cooperative education
  • Advance credit and Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)
  • Program and course withdrawal

The personal information on this form is being collected under the authority of the Post-secondary Learning Act and section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The information will be protected by the provisions of FOIP, and will be used for the purpose of registration and administration of the event. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection, use, security or disclosure of the personal information, please contact General Council at 780.471.7664 or

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