Becoming a Meat Inspector

Find out how to become a meat inspector. Research the job description and education requirements, and find out how to start a career as a meat inspector.

How to become a meat inspector
  1. Earn your high school diploma. …
  2. Earn a bachelor’s degree. …
  3. Consider a Food Safety and Inspection Service Program. …
  4. Meet the additional government requirements. …
  5. Earn job experience. …
  6. Search for open positions. …
  7. Complete your application packet. …
  8. Prepare for interviews.


What does a meat inspector do?

Meat inspectors examine all meat products such as pork, beef, poultry and seafood to ensure theyre prepared properly and are safe for consumption before theyre packaged and shipped to suppliers. Some common job responsibilities of a meat inspector include:

What is a meat inspector?

A meat inspector is a person who ensures that raw meat designation for consumption is safe from contamination and its creation process follows quality assurance regulations. Within some organizations, meat inspectors may have the title of food inspector, when the company doesnt segregate meat into its own evaluation category. Meat inspector positions may be part of an organizations quality control or quality assurance departments.

How to become a meat inspector

Use these steps to learn how to become a meat inspector:

1. Earn your high school diploma

To start a career as a meat inspector, earn a high school diploma or the educational equivalent, such as a GED. Consider taking math and science classes if possible—such as biology, chemistry and physical science—to prepare for your position and for a post-secondary degree.

2. Earn a bachelors degree

Earn a bachelors degree to help you secure a position as a meat inspector. Consider areas of study such as food science, meat science or microbiology. Many colleges and universities throughout the country offer degree programs in these areas. Most bachelors degree programs take about four years to complete. Some may require you to complete an internship or practicum program before graduation. Some courses you may take to prepare you for a career in meat inspection can include:

3. Consider a Food Safety and Inspection Service Program

For those who hope to earn a meat inspection position with the federal government, consider applying to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Volunteer Student Program. The program provides a minimum of six weeks mentorship with consumer safety officers, inspectors and other related instructors with the goal of teaching techniques and skills used to ensure the safety and proper labeling of products for consumption.

The program offers paid internships for U.S. citizens enrolled in high school or college courses, and unpaid externships for current college students. To qualify for the food inspector internship, students must have at least 12 semester hours in courses such as animal science, nutrition or food science. Some teaching points may include:

4. Meet the additional government requirements

Those who intend to become USDA meat inspectors must meet additional requirements for employment that those in non-federal positions may not. To qualify for a USDA position, you must be a U.S. citizen, pass a background check and a physical exam. You must also be able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds. In some cases, the USDA may ask candidates to take and pass a vision test, hearing test and color plate test, which measures the range of colors that you can distinguish.

5. Earn job experience

In place of or in addition to an internship or volunteer program, consider earning job experience in related areas before applying for positions as a meat inspector. Related jobs may include slaughterhouse employees, veterinary technicians or butchers. Work experience as a chef or cook may be relevant if youre responsible for ensuring storage and food safety standards. Additionally, working as a laboratory or quality control technician in the pet food, pharmaceutical or food and beverage industries may apply as experience for a meat inspector position.

6. Search for open positions

Use your available resources to search for open meat inspector positions. Consider networking with your college professors, former classmates, mentors or coworkers to learn of open positions in the field. You may also consider speaking with a representative from your schools career services department to help you learn about job search resources. You can access most open positions with the USDA and other federal organizations online on their websites.

7. Complete your application packet

After youve found a position or positions for which you want to apply, complete the required application packet as designated by each institution. Some organizations may ask you to complete the application requirements online, while others may ask for a mailed paper copy. Some items you may add to your packet include:

8. Prepare for interviews

After you apply to positions, prepare yourself for potential interviews. Some positions may include a multi-step interview process with a preliminary phone interview, an in-person or virtual interview and a final interview. Research the organizations for which you applied and make notes about why you want to work for that company, what questions you have about the position or organization and your desired benefits and salary. This may help you work through the stages of the interview process. Also consider printing additional paper copies of your resume or other documents to take with you for distribution at in-person interviews.

9. Consider joining a professional organization

Consider joining a professional organization for meat inspectors or quality assurance professionals to network, learn about job opportunities or stay connected to the larger industry community. Some options may include:

Skills of a meat inspector

Meat inspectors typically have interpersonal, technological and physical skills to help best perform in their positions. Some skills of a meat inspector may include:

Work environment of a meat inspector

Meat inspectors may work for private food or meat processing companies or for state and federal government organizations, such as the USDA. Government employees may have three options for employment, which include:

No matter the organization, many meat inspectors work in industrial settings like slaughterhouses and processing plants. They wear safety equipment such as hooded jumpsuits, gloves, shoe covers, masks and googles because of their contact with food waste or potentially hazardous products. Meat inspectors may work in extreme weather conditions, spend a majority of their day standing or walking and may travel among facilities to conduct inspections.

Salary of a meat inspector

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


How do I become a meat inspector in Canada?

Provincial government inspectors undergo a two year on-the-job training program. Completion of high school is required and higher education in agriculture, biology, chemistry, food processing technology or a related discipline is definitely an asset. Completion of in-house training courses is normally required.

What are the duties of a meat inspector?

Meat Inspector
  • Inspect and grade various types and cuts of meat.
  • Inspect live animals for signs of disease.
  • Ensure that unfit meat is destroyed properly.
  • Conduct post-mortem examinations on diseased animals.
  • Examine samples for bacterial or nondesirable excess material.
  • Prepare reports from test results.

What is the salary of food inspector in India?

Average starting Salary for Food Inspector in India is around ₹1.5 Lakhs per year (₹12.5k per month). 1 year of minimum experience is required to be a Food Inspector. What is the highest salary for a Food Inspector in India? Highest salary that a Food Inspector can earn is ₹10.4 Lakhs per year (₹86.7k per month).

How do you become USDA?

You can find USDA jobs and apply online at by clicking on the “Apply Online” link shown on each job listing. You will need to upload your resume or create one through USAJobs. You must complete an online assessment questionnaire as well.

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