Cost Estimator |
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Cost Estimator

Career Overview

Cost estimators play an integral role in the planning of a new project; particularly for firms who are bidding on developing or building the new project in the works.�� Two thirds of all cost estimators work in the construction field, for contractors, developers or architectural firms.��

In preparing a construction bid, the cost estimator visits the site and develops a report on the infrastructure issues: essentially the availability of water, power and sewer service.�� The next step is developing a formal estimate of the labor and materials that will be required for the job.�� This step is called the quantity survey, or "takeoff," and includes filling out numerous forms with dimensions, estimated volume of raw materials, and other details.�� If a contractor is using subcontractors, the cost estimator will review their bids as well.�� The final document includes taxes, insurance, overhead and markup.


Most employers in the construction field who use cost estimators today prefer professionals who hold a bachelor's degree in project management, construction science or construction management - all of which cover cost estimation in detail.�� In manufacturing, a degree in engineering, accounting, business or operations research is preferred.


There were approximately 221,000 cost estimators working in the U.S. in 2006, according to the Department of Labor.�� Their estimate is that 62% of these professionals worked in construction and another 15% were employed in industrial settings.

Job Outlook

Job opportunities in this profession are expected to grow about 19% over the next several years, significantly faster than the projected rate of overall job growth.���� Job opportunities should be excellent.

Salary Range

10th Percentile����$33,150

Median Salary����$56,510

90th Percentile����$94,470

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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