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Become A Cost Engineer

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Working As A Cost Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $77,924

    Average Salary

What Does A Cost Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Cost Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Cost Engineer jobs

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Cost Engineer Career Paths

Cost Engineer
Senior Scheduler Project Controls Engineer Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Controls Engineer Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Senior Manager Global Director
Director Global Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Planner/Scheduler Planner/Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Planner/Scheduler Master Scheduler Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
Project Controls Specialist Project Manager Program Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Project Controls Specialist Project Scheduler Project Manager
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Senior Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Maintenance Technician Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Managing Director Director Of Quality
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Projects Controller Controls Manager Controller
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Controls Manager Operations Manager Operations Director
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Director Of Construction General Contractor
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Controls Engineer Controls Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Projects Controller Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Scheduler Master Scheduler Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Controls Manager Controller General Manager
Vice President & General Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Senior Project Manager Vice President, Technology
Vice President Of Global Operations
15 Yearsyrs
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Cost Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

70.3%

Female

26.4%

Unknown

3.3%
Ethnicity

White

73.7%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Asian

10.6%

Unknown

3.2%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.2%

Mandarin

7.7%

Portuguese

6.2%

French

6.2%

Arabic

6.2%

Chinese

4.6%

German

4.6%

Korean

4.6%

Swedish

1.5%

Hawaiian

1.5%

Turkish

1.5%

Japanese

1.5%

Kannada

1.5%

Russian

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Polish

1.5%

Thai

1.5%
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Cost Engineer Education

Schools

Texas A&M University

7.5%

Pennsylvania State University

6.7%

Purdue University

6.0%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

5.2%

Auburn University

5.2%

Lamar University

5.2%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.2%

University of Phoenix

5.2%

Clemson University

5.2%

Colorado State University

5.2%

University of Toledo

4.5%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

4.5%

Eastern Michigan University

4.5%

University of Houston

4.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.5%

Iowa State University

4.5%

Northeastern University

4.5%

Mississippi State University

4.5%

University of Alabama

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.7%
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Majors

Business

25.4%

Civil Engineering

10.4%

Mechanical Engineering

10.1%

Construction Management

8.5%

Industrial Engineering

6.1%

Accounting

5.4%

Finance

5.1%

Project Management

4.0%

Engineering

3.6%

Management

2.8%

Electrical Engineering

2.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.5%

Drafting And Design

1.9%

Economics

1.9%

Operations Management

1.8%

Education

1.5%

Construction Engineering

1.3%

Computer Science

1.2%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.2%

Masters

27.9%

Other

14.5%

Associate

4.5%

Certificate

4.2%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.1%
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Real Cost Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cost Engineer Cockram Construction Inc. Cambridge, MI Jan 02, 2016 $216,735
Cost Engineer Estimator NES Global, LLC Houston, TX Sep 30, 2013 $215,000
Cost Engineer Estimator NES Global, LLC Spring, TX Jun 19, 2014 $215,000
Principal Cost Engineer Rio Tinto Services Inc. South Jordan, UT Dec 05, 2014 $139,725 -
$159,725
Cost Engineer (Quantity Surveying) Turner & Townsend Inc. Houston, TX Jul 21, 2014 $130,000
Lead Cost Engineer SK E&C USA, Inc. Houston, TX Mar 04, 2015 $126,000
Project Cost Engineer Taurus Project Controls Consulting, Inc. Andover, MA Jul 25, 2016 $120,000
Cost Engineer (Aerospace) Price Systems, LLC Mount Laurel, NJ Jul 11, 2016 $110,000
Cost Engineer Intertek Industry Services Anchorage, AK Aug 28, 2013 $108,900
Cost Engineer Moody International Americas, Inc. Anchorage, AK Sep 04, 2013 $108,900
Drilling and Completions Cost Engineer Talisman Energy USA Inc. The Woodlands, TX Jan 15, 2015 $107,920 -
$142,720
Cost Engineer Cockram Construction Inc. Lexington, MA Jan 06, 2016 $106,124
Cost Engineer Cockram Construction Inc. Oceanside, CA Mar 21, 2016 $106,124
Cost Engineer Kyyba Inc. Farmington Hills, MI Aug 03, 2016 $91,811
Project Cost Engineer Currie & Brown, Inc. South San Francisco, CA Jan 12, 2016 $91,790 -
$150,000
Cost Engineer Citgo Petroleum Lemont, IL Jan 16, 2015 $91,270
Cost Engineer Skanska USA Civil Northeast, Inc. NY Oct 01, 2014 $91,000
Cost and Schedule Engineer Exxonmobil Research and Engineering Company Fairfax, VA Sep 01, 2013 $90,923 -
$109,500
Cost Engineer Citgo Petroleum Corporation Lemont, IL Sep 18, 2014 $90,800
Schedule/Cost Engineer JCMS, Inc. Mercerville, NJ Sep 11, 2015 $89,648
Schedule/Cost Engineer JCMS, Inc. New York, NY Oct 16, 2014 $89,559
Cost Out Engineer Electrolux Home Products, Inc. Anderson, SC Oct 01, 2015 $76,680
Cost Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Portland, TX Aug 02, 2016 $75,540 -
$78,000
Project Cost Engineer Cintra Us Services LLC Austin, TX Nov 01, 2014 $75,000
Project Cost Engineer Cintra Us Services LLC Austin, TX Aug 26, 2015 $75,000
Project Cost Engineer Cintra Us Services LLC Austin, TX Feb 18, 2015 $75,000
Vehicle Cost Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Aug 20, 2016 $73,588
Cost Engineer Technology Resource Group, LLC Auburn Hills, MI Dec 09, 2016 $72,800
Project & Cost Engineer Turner Construction Company Boston, MA May 09, 2016 $71,386 -
$82,342

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Top Skills for A Cost Engineer

ContractTermsFinancialAnalysisProjectCostCostEstimatesProposalsCostControlProjectManagementProjectScopeCostReductionCostAnalysisWBSProjectControlsFacilityPrimaveraCostSavingsConstructionProjectsProjectScheduleSafetyPurchaseOrdersProjectBudget

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Top Cost Engineer Skills

  1. Contract Terms
  2. Financial Analysis
  3. Project Cost
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Review subcontractor's contract terms and conditions, ensuring that they comply with project's prime contract.
  • Developed and maintained status reports including: labor productivity, financial analysis, Cost Performance Reports and earned value management reports.
  • Monitored estimated and actual project costs by conducting variance analysis in multiple excel spreadsheets.
  • Apply extensive knowledge of estimating processes to develop detailed cost estimates from engineering drawings.
  • Review supplier proposals and negotiate contracts with suppliers

Top Cost Engineer Employers

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