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Meat Processing

The Meat Processing program is on hiatus and not enrolling students for the 2024-25 academic year.

A high demand for meat processors in this region has resulted in an innovative partnership between Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC) and Wall Meats to offer the Meat Processing program. Classroom instruction is on the WDT campus with hands-on meat processing and retail methods skills taught at the Wall Meats Processing Rapid City location. Meat Processing Associate of Applied Science degree and Diploma options are available. This program prepares students with the necessary skills to be successful in the consumable livestock and animal products industry. We aim to provide students a solid foundation in the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to be effective and highly successful meat processors.

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Degree Description

Associate of Applied Science, 63-Credit Hours, 18-Month Program

This 5-semester Associate of Applied Science program will prepare students who desire a career in the meat processing field. In this degree program, students will learn enhanced essential skills in proper meat processing, gain an understanding of the importance of food safety, and will be introduced to accounting, management and marketing skills. This program includes classroom theory and hands-on experience that allows students to practice what they learn in the classroom. Students will visit local meat processing facilities and complete two internships throughout the associate degree program.

Diploma, 35-Credit Hours, 11 Month Program

This 3-semester Diploma program will prepare students who desire a career in the meat processing field. Students will learn essential skills in proper meat processing, and understanding the importance of food safety. This program includes classroom theory and hands-on experience that allows students to practice what they learn in the classroom. Students will visit local meat processing facilities and complete a 240-hour internship.


Classes will take place on the Rapid City Western Dakota Tech campus, located at 800 Mickelson Dr. Meat Processing labs and retail training will take place at Wall Meat Processing in Rapid City located at 3850 Eglin St. Internship sites can be arranged with existing processing facilities throughout the region.

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Application Process

The Meat Processing program is on hiatus and not enrolling students for the 2024-25 academic year.

1. Complete Western Dakota Technical College Admissions Application
2. Complete the ACCUPLACER test ($15 fee)
3. Schedule your Admissions Advising Session
4. Provide an official copy of a High School transcript or GED scores. If you graduated from an international high school, you must submit your transcript to Educational Credential Evaluators to determine U.S. equivalence. Additionally, an official transcript must be submitted if you have attended other post-secondary institutions or universities.
5. Submit Immunization Records verifying two doses of MMR vaccinations
6. Once you receive your acceptance letter, schedule a time to register for classes

The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub-score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading.  To waive the ACCUPLACER with SAT scores a student will need a 500 on the MATH subsection of ACT and a composite of 970 to waive Writing and Reading. To place into MATH 114 a student will need a 520 on the MATH subsection.  

Please call 605-718-2565 to make an appointment.

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Career Description

Meat Processors perform a wide range of tasks including handling, harvesting, and processing livestock, operating processing and rendering equipment, custom butchery and development of consumables, dispatching products, and keeping records. Meat Processors handle all beef, poultry, swine, wild game, and fish products that are available at retail stores. Meat Processors work in a variety of settings, ranging from processing facilities, to grocery stores and markets. Meat Processors bridge the gap from farm-to-table for consumers. Meat Processors can work in a variety of settings as employees, and even start up or operate their own processing facilities or market spaces. Meat processors have ample opportunity to build a business by offering quality products to consumers regularly.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Meat Processors typically do the following: perform non-routine or precision functions involving the preparation of large portions of meat; cut standard or premium cuts of meat for retail; create variety cuts and value-added products; wrap and package products; and might conduct specialized slaughtering.

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General Education EMT

After Earning Your Degree

The demand for local meat products, and processors, has boomed in this region and growth in this industry is expected to continue to grow. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2020 data, Butchers and Meat Cutters in South Dakota earned a mean wage of $33,310. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation website states that, “The popularity of various meat products, such as sausages, cured meats, and specialty cuts, is expected to drive employment growth of butchers in retails stores, such as grocery and specialty food stores”. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2022, the average wage in South Dakota was $40,150.

Meet Your Faculty

Western Dakota Technical College has a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning more one-on-one learning. Individual attention from your professor can make your college experience more fulfilling.

  • Abbie Barber

Financial Aid

Continuing your education is crucial and Western Dakota Technical College wants to make sure that any student who wants to attend school, has the opportunity to do so. For this reason, WDTC is dedicated to administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program fair and consistently to anyone who needs it.

Build Dakota Scholarships

The Build Dakota Scholarship at Western Dakota Technical College will pay all your tuition and fees and prepare you for a career that is in-demand and growing in South Dakota. Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical careers with skilled professionals.

Student Housing

Finding affordable housing during school can be a challenge for students. Western Dakota Technical College currently does not have on-campus housing, but partners with a Rapid City VRBO to offer a limited number of apartments for full-time students in the fall and spring semesters.

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Child Care

Finding child care during school is a challenge for many students. Western Dakota Technical College currently does not offer on-campus child care, but here are some resources that may help you in your search.

Youth & Family Services is an organization dedicated to helping children in Western South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including child care at multiple locations.

The Y of Rapid City offers child care and other services.

Disclaimer: Western Dakota Technical College provides these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation, endorsement or adoption by Western Dakota Technical College of any site or any information contained therein. When you leave, you should be aware that our terms and policies no longer govern. Western Dakota Technical College makes no claim or representation regarding, and accepts no responsibility for, the quality, content, nature or reliability of third-party websites or vendors.

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