Cost Estimator Salary

By Henry R. Steele - April 15, 2018
Reading Time: 7 minutes

The following article discusses the career path of Cost Estimator. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Cost Estimators.

Job Duties

Cost estimators are needed for any type of project or product, from huge hotels to tiny microchips. They estimate how much it will cost to manufacture a product, using technical and analytical skills, to help the company set its pricing structure so that they can make a profit. Typically, a cost estimator will have to analyze the time, material, and labor requirements required to manufacture a product based on its specifications. Often, this involves visiting where the product is manufactured.

Their estimations will determine whether a project will go ahead or not, and at what price. They must present their findings to production managers who may then make their decision. They also have to work with engineers, construction managers, contractors, architects, and designers to help calculate the different costs involved.

A cost estimator can be found in any industry. However, they are most common in manufacturing. Here, they take on a professional position during regular business hours. They work under a great deal of pressure and are expected to have a very keen eye for detail. Often, they have to perform estimations for different types of projects at the same time.

Other duties of the cost estimator are:

  • To make cost estimations for different products and projects based on their plans and through discussions with engineers and clients
  • To analyze the currently used materials, personnel, and processes and determine whether costs can be reduced anywhere
  • To adjust cost estimations during progression of the project and to discuss this with clients, contractors, and engineers
  • To research the factors such as materials, machinery, and personnel and determine whether they are really needed

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 217,900 cost estimators in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals are:

  • Specialty trade contractors 37%
  • Construction of buildings 18%
  • Manufacturing 12%
  • Automotive repair and maintenance 7%
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction 5%

How to Become

While there is no requirement for a cost estimator to hold a college degree, mainly because experience is so important, those who hold a bachelor’s degree are in higher demand. Areas such as economics, business, finance, and accounting are preferred. Previous experience is the most important thing, however.

Once in position, cost estimators are trained on the job. They will be instructed in estimating costs using proprietary software, including software specific to their industry. CAD (computer aided design) and BIM (building information modeling) are particularly popular.

Work experience is vital, particularly if they do not have a bachelor’s degree. The experience should be within a related industry.

Education Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is often expected of a cost estimator, although experience in the industry weighs more heavily. Typically, the degree should be related to the industry, such as engineering or construction management, although finance and businesses is also beneficial.

Traits & Qualities

The most effective cost estimators have the following traits to some degree or other:

– Excellent analytical skills
– Strong communication skills
– Highly detail oriented
– Great mathematical skills
– Strong time management skills
– Computer literacy

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Cost Estimator was $62,988. This number is estimated from over 235,936 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $32.81 and monthly of $5,249.

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$17,000

$138,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Cost Estimator salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, New Mexico had the largest quoted salary of $91,512 while New Hampshire had the smallest quoted salary of $28,800.

Alabama Illinois Mississippi Rhode Island
California Indiana New Hampshire South Carolina
Colorado Kentucky New Jersey Texas
DC Louisiana New Mexico Virginia
Florida Massachusetts New York Wisconsin
Georgia Michigan Ohio
Iowa Missouri Pennsylvania
Alabama$60,082 Rank: 11th

The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like KMI INTERNATIONAL and ATHENA Consulting.

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$18,000

$126,000

Salary Distribution
California$74,881 Rank: 4th

The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Volt, CyberCoders, Professional Search Group (PSG), and NSC Technologies, LLC.

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$20,000

$163,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$58,177 Rank: 12th

The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like LANDMARK BUILDERS.

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$17,000

$123,000

Salary Distribution
DC$68,905 Rank: 6th

The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Central Intelligence Agency.

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$16,000

$158,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$51,603 Rank: 21st

The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like American Products, Inc. (API), Precision CNC Machining Company, TransWorld Network, Corp., and JMD Global Developers, LLC.

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$17,000

$103,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$57,477 Rank: 14th

The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like ALLIED.

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$23,000

$107,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$37,459 Rank: 25th

The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like AppleOne and Aerotek.

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$8.75

$34.40

Salary Distribution
Illinois$56,033 Rank: 15th

The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Sterling Engineering, Inc. and The Sedona Group.

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$20,000

$108,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$50,137 Rank: 23rd

The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like AppleTree Staffing.

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$21,000

$91,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$52,293 Rank: 18th

The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Talis Group Inc..

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$22,000

$95,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$52,210 Rank: 19th

The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Tetra Tech.

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$24,000

$91,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$72,798 Rank: 5th

The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders and US Engineering Technical Services.

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$20,000

$157,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$63,241 Rank: 9th

The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Venteon, W International, CyberCoders, and Aerotek.

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$22,000

$125,000

Salary Distribution
Missouri$52,984 Rank: 17th

The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like C.L. Smith Industrial Co.

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$14,000

$116,000

Salary Distribution
Mississippi$66,621 Rank: 7th

The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Global Employment Solutions.

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$27,000

$122,000

Salary Distribution
New Hampshire$28,800 Rank: 26th

The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Leddy Group.

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$7.50

$22.50

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$57,950 Rank: 13th

The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like JCMS, Inc..

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$23,000

$109,000

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$91,512 Rank: 1st

The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders.

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$35,000

$174,000

Salary Distribution
New York$77,142 Rank: 2nd

The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Hays, Department of Transportation, KMI INTERNATIONAL, and Lehigh Technical Service.

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$20,000

$169,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$60,436 Rank: 10th

The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, CompassTech International, Compass Tech International, and Randstad.

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$21,000

$118,000

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$51,946 Rank: 20th

The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Augustine Die & Mold, Inc., Hi-Tek Professionals, Inc., and Personnel People.

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$17,000

$104,000

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$46,065 Rank: 24th

The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Teknicote.

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$16,000

$92,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$50,949 Rank: 22nd

The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Recruiting Solutions.

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$24,000

$88,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$65,475 Rank: 8th

The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Hire Resolve, Travis County, and Rigid Global Buildings, LLC.

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$17,000

$144,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$75,183 Rank: 3rd

The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Elite Staffing, Inc, Ardent Company, LLC, and United States Department Of Defense.

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$22,000

$158,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$53,085 Rank: 16th

The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Vulcan GMS and Pro Staff.

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$22,000

$96,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Cost Estimator. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer Name Location Average Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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