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By Nsim Team
If you want to become a cost estimator, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a cost estimator:
Becoming a cost estimator is a great career choice for those that are looking to work with numbers in a fast-paced job that offers plenty of room for growth and demands accuracy and accountability.
Those who become cost estimators have a natural aptitude in mathematics and are able to think analytically. These are skills that are crucial, as cost estimators must be able to effectively balance the need to keep costs low with the need to ensure the project or product is one of high quality. You will also most likely need a bachelor’s degree if you hope to become a cost estimator.
If you want to become a cost estimator you must be able to work under pressure; mistakes in the work of cost estimators can cause their company to lose a bid for a job, or lose money in a project that could have otherwise been profitable.
Who is a Cost Estimator?
Cost estimators are responsible for predicting the expense of future projects or products. They are typically employed in the construction or manufacturing fields, although may work in others. In addition to total expenses, cost estimators must also take into account the duration, scope and potential profitability of a new project or product.
Cost estimators must have a thorough understanding of their employer’s industry, which includes the various rates for goods and services. Cost estimators that work in construction, for example, must know how long a certain type of building will take to complete, the cost of building material, the cost of wiring a building electrically, water accessibility, surface topography, getting plumbing services, drainage, insurance, building equipment, taxes, administrative costs, and the amount it will cost to hire construction workers. This information allows them to properly estimate the cost of building a building.
Education Needed to Become a Cost Estimator
The education needed to become a cost estimator can vary, depending on the professional experience of the candidate, the discretion of the employer and the field the employer operates within.
Generally, cost estimators are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in an area such as economics, mathematics, building science, statistics, construction management, production management, accounting, finance or engineering. Regardless of the field they pursue, it is crucial for cost estimators to pursue coursework that provides them with a strong foundation in mathematics.
Cost estimators that work in construction are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in an industry-related field, such as construction management, building science, or engineering.
Aspiring cost estimators that are interested in estimating manufacturing costs typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics or management.
Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Cost Estimator
In order to become an effective cost estimator, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, as well as help you overcome the challenges of this career.
• Able to perform accurate, detail oriented work
• Able to work well under pressure
• Natural aptitude for mathematics
• Initiative and accountability
• Should enjoy negotiating contract and coordinating projects
• Should enjoy checking details and coordinating projects
• Must have detailed knowledge of industry processes, materials, and costs
• Able to write detailed reports
• Able to effectively evaluate specifications, to reduce costs without sacrificing quality
• Able to use spreadsheets and other business software, such as bid information modeling (BIM) software
Who Hires Cost Estimators?
Cost estimators are hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:
• Residential, commercial or industrial construction companies
• Electrical, mechanical or other trade contractors or subcontractors
• Engineering or architectural consulting firms
• Real estate developers
• Large utility companies
• Colleges and universities
• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments
• Property insurance companies
• Manufacturing companies