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.
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.
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
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.
- Most Reported
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.
|California||Indiana||New Hampshire||South Carolina|
|Iowa||Missouri||Pennsylvania|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|
|Diverse Consulting Enterprises, Inc. Cost Estimator||Texas||$139,644|
|CyberCoders Cost Estimator||New York||$128,182|
|JLM Staffing Solutions Cost Estimator||California||$122,283|
|Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Cost Estimator||California||$119,471|
|Inlabora Cost Estimator||California||$112,682|
|United States Department Of Defense Cost Estimator||Virginia||$111,765|
|ATHENA Consulting Cost Estimator||Virginia||$110,000|
|Aerotek Cost Estimator||California||$108,804|
|National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Cost Estimator||Virginia||$107,837|
|Career Builder Construction Jobs Cost Estimator||California||$105,399|
|PLANT/ALLISON CORPORATION Cost Estimator||California||$103,390|
|Hire Resolve Cost Estimator||New York||$103,126|
|Venteon Cost Estimator||Michigan||$91,428|
|W International Cost Estimator||Michigan||$86,621|
|Volt Cost Estimator||California||$85,758|
|Career Name||Average Salary|