Cost estimators essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $58,460
- 2011, number of jobs: 187,730
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 36 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Cost estimators; what they do:
You wouldn’t commit to a job without knowing how much it pays, would you? For the same reasons, businesses won’t commit to big projects without knowing how much it will cost; this is where a cost estimator comes in. Cost estimators collect and analyze data necessary for accurately estimated time, money, resources, manufacturing, and labor needed for a project’s completion.
Cost estimator careers include traveling to sites for data collection, working directly with various industry experts, such as general contractors, engineers, architects, or owners and reading blueprints and technical documents.
Cost estimator careers involve using computer software when preparing estimates. Cost estimators also evaluate a product’s cost efficiency and offer solutions for making the product more cost effective.
The two most common types of cost estimator careers include construction cost estimators, who work with construction companies on projects, and manufacturing cost estimators, who estimate costs of designing, making, and redesigning products and services.
Cost estimators job titles:
- Estimator Project Manager
- Cost Analyst
- Construction Cost Estimator
- Manufacturing Cost Estimator
- Building Cost Estimator
- Design Consultant
- Operations Manager
Cost Estimators Education, Certification and License Requirements
Individuals interested in a cost estimator career typically need a bachelor’s degree in an industry-related field. Common bachelor degrees for cost estimators include mathematics, building science, construction management, engineering, physical sciences, statistics, finance, business, economics, or accounting.
Cost estimators need work experience in the field they plan to perform cost estimating. Cost estimators usually begin their career by shadowing a more experienced cost estimator for a few months to a few years, depending on the complexity of the type of estimating being trained for and the company’s specifications. Every company has unique preferences a cost estimator must learn and meet.
Cost estimators programs cover subjects such as:
- Building science
- Construction management
- Physical sciences
Although not all companies require a certified cost estimator, certifications are available and recommended. Cost estimator certifications are available through The American Society of Professional Estimators, the Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International, and the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis. Cost estimator certification requires a minimum of two years work experience and passing a written exam. Some cost estimator certifications also require having an article published.
Cost Estimators Job Outlook
Forecast: 36 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for cost estimator jobs, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Businesses require accurate estimates of their major projects, increasing the demand for cost estimators. The largest employer of cost estimators, the construction industry, will continue employing cost estimators for new buildings, as well as repair for existing roads, buildings, bridges, and subways.
Cost Estimators Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $58,460
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $76,360
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $44,370
- Specialty trade contractors
- Construction of buildings
- Heavy and civil engineering construction
- Repair and maintenance