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Become An Engineer/Estimator

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Working As An Engineer/Estimator

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Engineer/Estimator Do

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

Duties

Cost estimators typically do the following:

  • Identify factors affecting costs, such as production time, materials, and labor
  • Read blueprints and technical documents in order to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, and contractors
  • Calculate, analyze, and adjust estimates 
  • Recommend ways to reduce costs
  • Work with sales teams to prepare estimates and bids for clients
  • Maintain records of estimated and actual costs

Accurately estimating the costs of construction and manufacturing projects is vital to the survival of businesses. Cost estimators provide managers with the information they need in order to submit competitive contract bids or price products appropriately.

Estimators analyze production processes to determine how much time, money, and labor a project needs. Their estimates account for many factors, including allowances for wasted material, bad weather, shipping delays, and other variables that can increase costs and lower profitability.

In building construction, cost estimators use software to simulate the construction process and evaluate the effects of design choices. They often consult databases to compare the costs of similar projects.

The following are examples of types of cost estimators:

Construction cost estimators prepare estimates for a building project. They may calculate the total cost of building a bridge or commercial shopping center, or they may calculate the cost of just one component, such as the foundation. They identify costs of elements such as raw materials and labor, and they may set a timeline for how long they expect the project to take. Although many work directly for construction firms, some work for contractors and engineering firms.

Manufacturing cost estimators calculate the costs of developing, producing, or redesigning a company’s goods or services. For example, a cost estimator working for a home appliance manufacturer may determine a new dishwasher’s production costs, allowing managers to make production decisions.

Some manufacturing cost estimators work in software development. Many high-technology products require a considerable amount of computer programming, and calculating the costs of software development requires great expertise.

Other workers, such as operations research analysts and construction managers, may also estimate costs in the course of their usual duties.

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How To Become An Engineer/Estimator

A bachelor’s degree is generally required to become a cost estimator, although some highly experienced construction workers may qualify without a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Employers generally prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. A strong background in mathematics is essential.

Construction cost estimators typically need a bachelor’s degree in an industry-related field, such as construction management, building science, or engineering.

Those interested in estimating manufacturing costs typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, business, or finance.

Training

Some newly hired cost estimators may receive on-the-job training, depending on their experience. Training may include learning a company’s cost-estimating software and techniques.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some employers prefer that construction cost estimators, particularly those without a bachelor’s degree, have previous work experience in the construction industry. For example, experienced electricians and plumbers can become construction cost estimators if they have the necessary construction knowledge and math skills.

Candidates interested in becoming cost estimators can also gain experience through internships and cooperative education programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Voluntary certification can show competence and experience in the field. In some instances, employers may require professional certification before hiring.

The following organizations offer a variety of certifications:

  • American Society of Professional Estimators
  • Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International
  • International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association

Estimators must generally have at least 2 years of estimating experience and must pass a written exam to become certified.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Cost estimators consider and evaluate different construction and manufacturing methods and options to determine the most cost-effective solution that meets the required specifications.

Detail oriented. Cost estimators must pay attention to details, as minor changes can significantly affect the overall cost of a project or product.

Math skills. Cost estimators calculate labor, material, and equipment cost estimates for construction projects. They use software, such as spreadsheets and databases, and they need excellent math skills to accurately calculate these estimates.

Time-management skills. Cost estimators often work on fixed deadlines, so they must plan their work in advance and work efficiently and accurately.

Writing skills. Cost estimators write comprehensive reports, which often help managers make production decisions.

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Engineer/Estimator Jobs

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Engineer/Estimator Career Paths

Engineer/Estimator
Project Engineer Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Systems Engineer Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Estimator Estimator Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Estimator Superintendent Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
11 Yearsyrs
Estimator Consultant Senior Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Manager Business Development Manager
Proposal Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Sales Engineer Technical Sales Representative
Technical Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Management Consultant Project Consultant
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Operations Manager Operations Project Manager
Regional Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Engineer Owner Project Superintendent
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Engineer Quality Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Project Manager-Manufacturing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Superintendent Mechanical Superintendent
Area Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Manufacturing Supervisor Senior Buyer
Manager Of Purchasing & Materials
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator
Construction Consultant
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Engineer/Estimator?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as an Engineer/Estimator?

Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$52,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Kiewit
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does an Engineer/Estimator make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Engineer/Estimator in the United States is $77,543 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $52,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $114,000.

Real Engineer/Estimator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Estimation Engineer (In-House Job Title: Lead Estimator) Chiyoda International Corporation Houston, TX Nov 16, 2015 $241,500
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company New York, NY May 01, 2015 $137,848
Estimator Engineer Honeywell International Inc. San Bruno, CA Dec 15, 2016 $110,000
Estimating Engineer Skanska USA Building, Inc. Tampa, FL Dec 13, 2014 $95,746
Estimating Engineer Plant/Allison Corporation San Francisco, CA Oct 30, 2014 $95,000
Engineering R&D Estimator Altair Productdesign, Inc. Troy, MI Jun 05, 2016 $91,811
Estimating Engineer The Turner Corporation Philadelphia, PA May 17, 2012 $88,642
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company Somerset, NJ Mar 30, 2013 $86,896
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. Windsor, CT Aug 15, 2015 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. Windsor, CT May 25, 2011 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. Windsor, CT Apr 10, 2011 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. New York, NY Dec 20, 2012 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corporation Windsor, CT Oct 08, 2009 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corporation New York, NY Apr 01, 2010 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company New York, NY Sep 28, 2011 $81,000
Estimating Engineer PMA Consultants LLC New York, NY Sep 17, 2015 $77,126
Estimating Engineer PMA Consultants LLC New York, NY Mar 21, 2016 $77,126
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company Somerset, NJ Mar 30, 2010 $76,800
Engineer/Estimator Honeywell International Inc. Morristown, NJ Sep 23, 2015 $75,000
Engineering R&D Estimator Altair Productdesign, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 01, 2015 $74,694
Estimating Engineer (Senior Engineer) PMA Consultants, LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $74,360
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company New York, NY Sep 22, 2010 $73,968
Seismic Engineering Estimator Gripple, Inc. Aurora, IL Sep 15, 2015 $69,534 -
$80,000
Estimator Engineer R&L Brosamer, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Oct 01, 2012 $69,000
Estimator Engineer Honeywell International Inc. La Palma, CA Oct 01, 2012 $67,701
Estimation Engineer Energy International Corporation Canton, MI Sep 30, 2015 $66,248
Estimating Engineer Skanska Building USA Dania Beach, FL Jun 13, 2008 $65,686
Estimating Engineer Gulf Interstate Engineering Company Houston, TX Jan 09, 2016 $65,219
Estimator Engineer R&L Brosamer, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Nov 09, 2012 $65,000
Estimating Engineer Ohmstede Ltd. Beaumont, TX Sep 02, 2015 $65,000

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Top Skills for An Engineer/Estimator

  1. Shop Drawings
  2. Project Management
  3. Contract Documents
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Review and approve Shop Drawings of equipment to be installed to assure the equipment meets or exceeds the specifications.7.
  • Project management and coordinate logistics with teammates to determine methods and directions.
  • Worked on estimating teams to provide competitive cost estimates from contract documents for large construction projects.
  • Produce AutoCad drawings for shop fabrication and contract documentation.
  • Performed quantity take-offs, solicited sub-contractors and formulated a cost estimate for tunneling and boring projects.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Engineers/Estimator

  1. Alaska
  2. Texas
  3. New York
  4. Nevada
  5. Louisiana
  6. Washington
  7. Connecticut
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Virginia
  10. New Jersey
  • (63 jobs)
  • (2,077 jobs)
  • (1,142 jobs)
  • (188 jobs)
  • (206 jobs)
  • (837 jobs)
  • (345 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (1,263 jobs)
  • (521 jobs)

Engineer/Estimator Demographics

Gender

Male

73.9%

Female

14.2%

Unknown

11.9%
Ethnicity

White

58.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

8.2%

Unknown

6.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.1%

Portuguese

9.1%

German

6.8%

Chinese

4.5%

Persian

4.5%

Carrier

4.5%

Russian

4.5%

Arabic

4.5%

Bulgarian

2.3%

Hungarian

2.3%

Filipino

2.3%

Romanian

2.3%

Hebrew

2.3%

Japanese

2.3%

French

2.3%

Malayalam

2.3%

Dari

2.3%

Hindi

2.3%

Tamil

2.3%

Italian

2.3%
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Engineer/Estimator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

7.9%

Pennsylvania State University

6.9%

Ferris State University

6.9%

Purdue University

6.9%

San Jose State University

5.9%

Kansas State University

5.9%

University of Florida

5.0%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

5.0%

Michigan State University

5.0%

Macomb Community College

5.0%

Texas A&M University

4.0%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

4.0%

Michigan Technological University

4.0%

Oregon State University

4.0%

North Dakota State University -

4.0%

Wichita State University

4.0%

University of Houston

4.0%

Lamar University

4.0%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.0%

Northeastern University

4.0%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

23.6%

Mechanical Engineering

14.4%

Business

13.0%

Construction Management

10.0%

Electrical Engineering

6.5%

Drafting And Design

4.8%

Engineering

4.0%

Industrial Engineering

2.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.3%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

Management

2.1%

General Studies

1.9%

Education

1.5%

Architecture

1.5%

Construction Engineering

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.3%

Project Management

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.9%

Masters

18.5%

Other

14.9%

Associate

9.9%

Certificate

3.6%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

1.1%

License

0.3%
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