Meat Processing

Length of Program:  15 WeeksProgram Intakes: Fall, Winter & Spring IntakesJanuary 2020

COVID-19 Updates: FULL DETAILS

Meat Processing Certificate

Applications Open: Oct 1, Feb 1, June 1

Length of Program: 15 Weeks

Program Status: Waitlist

Olds College is the National Meat Training Centre for Canada and three times a year our program takes in a wide range of students from all over North America. We teach techniques for professional meat cutting, trimming, boning, breaking, wrapping, sausage-making and curing with professional sanitation and food safety applications, including HACCP. We are Alberta’s training site for humane handling and stunning – and the only program in North America that teaches slaughter skills and techniques such as skinning, eviscerating and carcass preparation.

The Olds College Meat Processing certificate is unique in North America as it packs the whole process stream, from slaughter to retail, into 15 weeks.

We boast an extensive multi-purpose facility that is fully equipped to teach you value added skill sets and knowledge for the meat industry. Our facilities are expanded to cater to large and small industry – from sausage making and dried, cured hams to the installation of an industrial canner. At our popular retail counter, you will learn applied retail merchandising and customer service skills in explaining the attributes and benefits of various products and cuts

PLEASE NOTE: The Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 intakes are currently full and waitlisted.  Applications are still being accepted and are processed in the order they are received.  Applications are not carried forward to future intakes and waitlisted students must apply for any future intakes they wish to be considered for.  Application for Winter 2023 will open on the first Wednesday of February 2022 at 9:00am. Due to the popularity of this program and the limited capacity, applicants should apply early in the application to better their chances of securing a seat in the program. The building in which the Meat Processing Certificate is housed will be undergoing renovations throughout 2021-2022. Due to the renovations, the Winter 2022 intake has been cancelled. 

What will you learn?

All students will complete four core courses: Meat Cutting; Value Added Processing; Food Safety and Sanitation; and Meat Industry Communication. Students then select one of the two options to specialize in.

Livestock Slaughter - Through guided instruction and on site applications, students will perform humane slaughter of selected livestock species to meet industry and regulatory inspection requirements.

Full Service & Retail Meat Cutting - Students will gain practical skills in meat merchandising and marketing through the management of a service case and advanced merchandising techniques. Students will learn a variety of skills needed to succeed in the industry, including:

  • creating written food safety and operational documentation to meet industry standards

  • performing techniques for effective sanitation of meat processing equipment and facilities

  • applying food safety principles to comply with regulatory requirements.

  • performing meat cutting to packing house and case ready operations requirements.

  • performing value-added processed meats production to meet Canadian meat industry requirements

  • performing retail meat operations to meet the retail meat industry requirements

  • performing abattoir operations to meet industry requirements

  • applying meat science principles to meet the needs of consumers and meat industry

  • interacting professionally with clients and colleagues within the Canadian meat industry

  • demonstrating basic computer skills applicable to the Canadian meat industry

View Program Outline

Program Details

Credential: Certificate

Length of Program: 15 Weeks

Method of Delivery: Olds Campus

Program Intakes: 

  • Fall 2022 Intake – September program start (September 2022)

  • Winter 2022 Intake – January program start *Intake cancelled due to construction*

  • Spring 2022 Intake – May program start *APPLICATIONS OPEN, Spring 2022 Intake Full & Waitlist Started*

Program Dates: Please visit our Dates & Schedules page to confirm start and end dates of your desired program and confirm campus closures.

Applications Open:

  • October 1 for the Fall Intake

  • February 1 for the Winter Intake *Winter 2022 cancelled due to construction*

  • June 1 for the Spring Intake

Selection Process for Admission: First Qualified, First Accepted

Tuition, Mandatory Fees, Books, and Supplies: Please refer to the current Fee Schedule for details

  • Tuition: $2,510 / Fees: $1,300 / Books & Supplies: $1,100

* Please note that international students pay 3.5 times the domestic tuition amount. These fees are provided as estimates only for the purposes of budgeting. All students should refer to the Fee Schedule for the most accurate information and all fees are subject to change.*

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants should be 18 years of age of older and in good physical condition

  • Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement

International Applicants

Olds College welcomes applications from international applicants and those who have completed their high school education outside of Canada. Please note, it is still necessary to meet all of the noted admission requirements, including English Language Proficiency. Further information can be found on our website under International Students.

Career Opportunities

Olds College has a solid reputation working with employers in the industry! This directly translates into jobs for our graduates. Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Professional retail or industry meat cutter
  • Butcher
  • Value added meat processor
  • Processing Plant
  • Sausage maker
  • Slaughter man
  • Own and operate a business

Visit ALIS to find Occupational Profiles with current wages, industry trends and more!

ALIS Occupational Profiles

Admitted Student Information

Program Dates

Find out when your term start and end dates are, so that you know when you are expected to be in attendance. For more information, please review the Program Dates & Fee Schedule.

Class Registration

You will be registered into your classes automatically. This will happen approximately 1 month prior to the start-date for your program. You will be notified once you have been timetabled into your courses. You will be able to see your class schedule in your My Olds College account. If you need to make any changes to your class registration, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Technology Recommendation

It is required that you come to Olds College with the following technology:

  • A Chromebook or laptop (Mac or PC)

As part of your student accounts, all students have access to Office 365 for the duration of their time with Olds College. To access this you just need to follow these steps:

  • Go to portal.office.com
  • Enter your Olds College email address and password
  • Once logged in there is a button on the right that says "Install Office Apps"

This will give you access to the full Office suite on your computer, for both Windows and Mac based platforms.

Materials & Supplies:

Required items to purchase before your program start:

  • Steel-toed rubber boots that will remain in the meat lab
  • Closed toed shoes (sneakers, running shoes) that will remain in the meat lab

Required items to be ordered once you are at Olds College:

  • Coveralls
  • Various knives
  • Hard hat

These supplies are specially ordered in and will be available within the second week or so of the program. If you have worked in the meat processing industry before and have some of the above mentioned supplies, please bring them along but do not purchase them as we are able to purchase supplies at a reduced cost.

Information on other required textbooks and any further supplies will be provided as you attend each class. All books and supplies will be available during the first few weeks of classes in the College Campus Store.

Other Important Information:

  • Time Requirements:The Meat Processing Certificate program is an intense program for scheduling, where students need to be available (on campus) for classes and laboratory participation Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 (approximately). As part of the program you will participate in set-up and clean-up requirements assigned outside of the class time.  More information will be provided the first day of classes.

Ready to apply?

Visit our Admissions page for more info or go to Apply Alberta to submit an online application!

  • "The Meat Processing program gave me the broad skills needed to open my own butcher shop. I was able to make virtually any type of product needed. The cutting-edge food safety components helped us differentiate ourselves in industry and keep us on top. We are grateful to the resources Olds College shared with us, and continue to use them to advance our business.”
    • Greg Pahl, Production Manager/Owner, Medicine Hat Meat Traders Ltd.