Cost Estimators: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Employers generally prefer candidates who have a bachelors degree.
Training Required
Most cost estimators receive on-the-job training, which may include instruction in cost estimation techniques and software, as well as industry-specific software, such as building information modeling (BIM) and computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 11% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Median pay: How much do Cost Estimators make?
$61,790 Annual Salary
$29.71 per hour

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

What do Cost Estimators do?

Cost estimators typically do the following:

  • Identify factors affecting costs, such as production time, materials, and labor
  • Read blueprints and technical documents in order to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, and contractors
  • Calculate, analyze, and adjust estimates
  • Recommend ways to reduce costs
  • Work with sales teams to prepare estimates and bids for clients
  • Maintain records of estimated and actual costs

Accurately estimating the costs of construction and manufacturing projects is vital to the survival of businesses. Cost estimators provide managers with the information they need in order to submit competitive contract bids or price products appropriately.

Estimators analyze production processes to determine how much time, money, and labor a project needs. Their estimates account for many factors, including allowances for wasted material, bad weather, shipping delays, and other variables that can increase costs and lower profits.

In building construction, cost estimators use software to simulate the construction process and evaluate the costs of design choices. They often consult databases and their own records to compare the costs of similar projects.

The following are examples of types of cost estimators:

Careers for Cost Estimators

  • Building construction estimators
  • Building estimators
  • Construction cost estimators
  • Construction estimators
  • Construction job cost estimators
  • Cost consultants
  • Cost engineers
  • Cost/investment recovery technicians
  • Crating and moving estimators
  • Design consultants
  • Electrical estimators
  • Estimator project managers
  • Estimators
  • Job estimators
  • Manufacturing cost estimators
  • Procurement technicians
  • Production cost estimators
  • Project control specialists
  • Project managers

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