Cost Estimator Career

cost-estimator-500Cost estimators are like modern day fortune tellers. It is their responsibility to examine the details of a project and provide estimates for how much it will cost to produce a product or provide a service. They delve into supply chains, labor markets, construction costs, and other variables to provide a valuable asset to a business.

To succeed as a cost estimator, you’ll need a careful eye for detail and the creativity to look for ways to cut costs that others might not see. You’ll need both the analytical ability to see and eliminate waste and the interpersonal skills to explain your findings to project managers.

Cost Estimator Career Snapshot

Most cost estimators work regular forty hour work weeks in an office setting. Your work environment will vary based on the projects and companies you are working for; cost estimators for construction or manufacturing may spend time at factories and construction sites in order to gain a better understanding of their projects.

Further details on a career as a cost estimator are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for cost estimators per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 18% have a Master’s degree.

Cost Estimator Education

In order to get an entry level job in the cost estimator field, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to finance, economics, or business. In order to advance, you should consider getting a master’s degree or higher. It is possible for some trained professionals, such as plumbers or electricians, to become cost estimators for projects related to their field of knowledge.

Cost Estimator Job Duties

Cost estimators will spend a good deal of time analyzing statistics and creating reports based on their analysis. They should be familiar with statistical software, because they’ll spend a good deal of time testing inputs and outputs to see where they can find places to cut costs. They should also be prepared to explain their findings to a broad range of people who have different levels of comfort with mathematics and statistics.

Cost Estimator Salaries

The median pay for a cost estimator was $60,390 annually or $29.03 per hour in May 2015 according to the Top earners can expect to earn $100,570 or more annually, while the bottom 10% will make $34,720 or less.

Cost Estimator Job Outlook

There were 213,500 cost estimators in the United States in 2014, and the field is expected to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024. This is a higher than average rate of growth. The increased growth in this field is due to growth in the construction industry.

Cost Estimator Skills & Traits

Cost Estimator Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Cost Estimators:Typical Work Activities:
• Mathematics
• Critical thinking
• Reading comprehension
• Active listening
• Judgement and decision making
• Inductive reasoning
• Mathematical reasoning
• Number facility
• Oral comprehension
• Oral expression
• Desktop/laptop computers
• Accounting software
• Analytical or scientific software
• Financial analysis software
• Interacting with computers
• Getting information
• Analyzing data or information
• Processing information

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