This post presents detailed information on the cost estimator career, including how to become one, the various opportunities available, and the benefits of being a cost estimator.
How to Become a Cost Estimator
It merely takes three easy steps to become a cost estimator. What you must do to be effective at the work is to practice dedication, as being a trustworthy estimator requires years of expertise.
In detail, the following are the steps you must take to become a cost estimator:
- Complete a Bachelor’s Degree in a Relevant Discipline.
Cost estimator jobs often require at least a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management or a related discipline, such as engineering, finance, or business.
These degrees typically involve courses that are very relevant and useful for the job’s obligations.
However, a Bachelor’s degree is not required for some cost estimator professions, although those positions are normally reserved for those with substantial building expertise.
2. Gain Appropriate Work Experience
Candidates with work experience in any industry-related discipline, in addition to a Bachelor’s degree, are significantly more valued by employers.
As previously said, some cost estimators obtain their titles despite not having a Bachelor’s degree due to their vast job experience.
If you’ve been working for a construction firm for a while, say as a surveyor, you can move to become a cost estimator without a degree if your employer sees you as a good fit.
However, if you are just starting out in your career or are fresh out of school with no experience, investing some time and resources in obtaining a Bachelor’s degree can be more rewarding in the long run because you will have more opportunities to advance into positions such as project management as part of your job growth.
3. Acquire some Industry-specific Knowledge.
The majority of industry-specific abilities would be learned on the job. Computer-aided design (CAD), building information modeling, and familiarity with the company’s specialized software and databases are examples of these talents.
If you can learn some of these abilities ahead of time, you will have a good notion of how to complete the task smoothly. This will offer you a significant advantage.
What Cost Estimators Do
The job of the cost estimator entails determining the cost of labor, materials, machines, and overhead for a project before it starts. See detail cost estimator job description.
Cost Estimator Career Opportunities
Here are major career opportunities available to someone with a cost estimator background:
- Estimator Project Manager
An estimator project manager is a person who oversees the planning, estimating, and management of construction projects.
Estimator project manager is a role that is part of the project’s engineering group.
2. Construction Manager
A construction manager has overall responsibility for managing construction projects, including performance, cost and time targets.
He or she will also manage all resources concerning to the project such as equipment, people and finance.
3. Senior Construction Manager
A senior construction manager will be normally at the top of a construction company or a project, they will try to work out problems with the clients and make sure everything is being done as it should be.
Senior construction managers need to have a good understanding of technical issues and have excellent communication skills.
4. Construction Project Engineer
Project engineers should have a degree in engineering and know about technical issues or the construction of buildings.
A professional EIT will be very beneficial for you when applying for projects.
5. Project Manager-Construction (PMC)
A project manager – construction (PMC) is responsible for managing all aspects of a construction project from start to finish; ensuring that all resources are allocated to carry out the tasks as per the schedule, budget and design.
The project manager is working under a project engineer or supervisor.
6. Construction Superintendent
A construction superintendent is responsible for supervising a project or a project team and ensuring the right materials are used and kept on site during construction.
They must also make sure that everything is in place for other workers to work safely and effectively.
Superintendents need to have a good understanding of technical issues, such as building structure, materials, communication, etc.
7. Vice President Of Construction
A Vice President of Construction has overall responsibility for managing construction projects from the engineering level down through the design phase and construction itself.
The Vice President of Construction is normally the top position in a large construction company.
8. Senior Finance Analyst
As the name suggests, a senior finance analyst will deal with finances of a project when it is complete.
He or she will also ensure that all records are kept as per law and other rules and regulations.
9. Cost Accounting Manager
A cost accounting manager is responsible for planning compensation, training, and development of cost estimators and supporting staff.
They also ensure that all costs are calculated correctly and conducted according to the company’s policies.
Cost accounting managers need an engineering or business degree along with experience in cost accounting or senior financial management positions.
10. Senior Mechanical Engineer
A senior mechanical engineer is responsible for planning, designing, and supervising the installation of mechanical systems like heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Senior mechanical engineers should have a degree in mechanical engineering and knowledge about industry standards.
A professional EIT will help you to advance in your career.
Challenges faced by Cost Estimators on the Job
Some of the challenges faced by cost estimators on the job are:
- Quantifying Cost Impacts
Quantifying cost impacts for a multitude of activities associated with construction projects is a complex and challenging task.
The complexity of the project and the levels of detail required for the quantification all influence how cost estimation is calculated.
2. Resource Constraints
Another challenge faced by cost estimators is the lack of enough time, money, and adequate personnel.
Cost estimators often have to take shortcuts when it comes to performing analyses that may lead to mistakes and misinterpretations that can be very costly in the long run, especially if it is a large-scale job.
3. Quality of Available Data
The quality of data needed for cost analysis has an impact on the level of accuracy estimation can achieve.
If the available data is of very low quality, it is hard to know if there are any significant gaps in the data and hence the accuracy of the cost estimation.
Major Benefits of a Cost Estimator Career
Here are some of the major benefits of a Cost estimator Career:
- Good Income
Professionals in this line of work can earn considerable income. The average median salary for a Cost estimator is $67,996 (glassdoor.com) and $76502 (indeed.com).
2. Steady Growth
The demand for skilled cost estimators is increasing as the pace of construction increases, due to the growing population and new construction projects occurring mostly in metropolitan areas.
The need for these professionals will be steady and ongoing, keeping them in high demand throughout their careers.
3. Great Career Advancement Prospects
Cost estimators are versatile professionals with strong potential for growth.
Those who demonstrate a high level of expertise will have plentiful opportunities to move into roles such as project manager or senior estimator, which offer very good compensation and benefits.
4. Fulfillment and Satisfaction
Those who enjoy problem solving and working with complex data sets will take great satisfaction from a cost estimator career.
As complexity increases, so does job fulfillment and the satisfaction experienced by those involved in the process.
5. Job Security
Construction is a profession that is relatively safe financially, as long as one has job security.
The demand for construction has not declined since the recession, and there’s no reason to think that it will in the future.
This provides ample protection against cut backs and layoffs, which are common in other professions.
6. Enjoyments of Travel and Leisure
Those with a cost estimator career are able to take full advantage of all the pleasures offered by travel.
They can work in the field during the construction season, or choose to stay at home and relax by traveling.
Those who reside in metropolitan areas that offer a lot of construction opportunities are also able to live very comfortable lives.
7. Good Working Conditions
Cost estimators get benefits that most professionals do not receive. These benefits include better pay, health insurance, retirement planning and paid time off (PTO).
The cost estimator career has a large impact on the financial, operational, and strategic decisions made during a project.
It is imperative for a project to be estimated accurately because this is how to stay within budget and on schedule.
It is viable for cost estimators to gain information from several resources such as stakeholders, clients, and team members.
With the knowledge gained from these sources a cost estimator can create a detailed estimate that will assist in making better business decisions.