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Cost Estimator

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What Does it Take to Be a Cost Estimator?

Position Description Prepare cost estimates for product manufacturing, construction projects, or services to aid management in bidding on or determining price of product or service. May specialize according to particular service performed or type of product manufactured.

Life As a Cost Estimator

  • Assess cost effectiveness of products, projects or services, tracking actual costs relative to bids as the project develops.
  • Confer with engineers, architects, owners, contractors, and subcontractors on changes and adjustments to cost estimates.
  • Prepare estimates for use in selecting vendors or subcontractors.
  • Prepare and maintain a directory of suppliers, contractors and subcontractors.
  • Conduct special studies to develop and establish standard hour and related cost data or to effect cost reduction.
  • Collect historical cost data to estimate costs for current or future products.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Cost Estimator?

When polled, Cost Estimators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Cost Estimator Jobs

  • Crating and Moving Estimator
  • Construction Job Cost Estimator
  • Acquisition Cost Estimator
  • Investment Recovery Technician
  • Job Cost Estimator

Is There Going to be Demand for Cost Estimators?

There were about 217,900 jobs for Cost Estimator in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 22,900 new jobs for Cost Estimator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 24,400 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Cost Estimators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Cost Estimator are Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Vermont, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Cost Estimator Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Cost Estimator ranges between $38,060 and $107,940.

Salary Ranges for Cost Estimators

Cost Estimators who work in District of Columbia, Hawaii, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

How much do Cost Estimators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $59,870
Alaska $83,450
Arizona $66,410
Arkansas $61,500
California $78,190
Colorado $73,110
Connecticut $74,910
Delaware $68,690
District of Columbia $93,880
Florida $62,370
Georgia $67,190
Hawaii $82,390
Idaho $60,400
Illinois $66,480
Indiana $65,790
Iowa $62,410
Kansas $66,500
Kentucky $65,460
Louisiana $67,650
Maine $61,960
Maryland $71,650
Massachusetts $77,670
Michigan $63,810
Minnesota $65,520
Mississippi $60,360
Missouri $67,620
Montana $58,960
Nebraska $59,160
Nevada $66,650
New Hampshire $67,610
New Jersey $75,340
New Mexico $59,580
New York $75,730
North Carolina $62,590
North Dakota $69,010
Ohio $64,700
Oklahoma $64,300
Oregon $71,490
Pennsylvania $67,330
Rhode Island $67,470
South Carolina $63,520
South Dakota $54,860
Tennessee $63,770
Texas $73,950
Utah $65,940
Vermont $65,790
Virginia $74,160
Washington $77,510
West Virginia $63,890
Wisconsin $57,990
Wyoming $76,670

What Tools & Technology do Cost Estimators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Cost Estimators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
  • Dassault Systemes CATIA
  • Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management
  • Oracle Hyperion
  • Sage 50 Accounting
  • Autodesk Revit
  • Trimble SketchUp Pro

Becoming a Cost Estimator

Are there Cost Estimators education requirements?

Cost Estimator Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Cost Estimator?

Cost Estimator Work Experience

Where Cost Estimators Work

Cost Estimator Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Cost Estimators employed by various industries.

Cost Estimator Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Cost Estimator may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Cost Estimator in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Mike Moore via public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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