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Become An Estimator

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Working As An 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

  • $57,914

    Average Salary

What Does An Estimator Do

An Estimator manages project costs through collecting and studying information. They mainly work in the private sector on maintenance or construction tenders.

How To Become An 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.


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.


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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Estimator jobs

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Estimator Career Paths

Estimating Manager Senior Estimator Estimator Project Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Senior Project Manager
Construction Consultant
11 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Property Manager General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Estimating Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Assistant Project Manager
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Planner/Scheduler Maintenance Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Plant Manager Heavy Equipment Operator General Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Engineer Project Superintendent
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Operations Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Site Manager Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Estimator Project Manager Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
10 Yearsyrs
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Estimator Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • German

  • Mandarin

  • Chinese

  • Carrier

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • Cantonese

  • Russian

  • Japanese

  • Arabic

  • Filipino

  • Polish

  • Vietnamese

  • Turkish

  • Romanian

  • Shona

  • Gujarati

  • Hindi

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Estimator Education


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Real Estimator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Estimator Integral Contracting Inc. New York, NY Nov 21, 2016 $110,000
Estimator III HNTB Corporation Newark, NJ May 18, 2015 $110,000
Estimator WHC, LLC Houston, TX Jun 22, 2015 $110,000
Estimator III Weston Solutions, Inc. Columbia, MO Sep 27, 2016 $108,003
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $105,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Sep 27, 2016 $105,000
Estimator Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2015 $105,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Jan 03, 2016 $100,000
Estimator Crossland Mechanical Inc. New York, NY Sep 23, 2016 $100,000
Estimator J.T. Magen and Company, Inc. New York, NY Apr 15, 2016 $100,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Sep 07, 2015 $100,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Dec 09, 2016 $100,000
Estimator Crossland Mechanical Inc. New York, NY May 10, 2015 $100,000
BIM Estimator Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC San Diego, CA Feb 09, 2016 $74,200
Estimator Andres Construction Services LLC Dallas, TX Feb 22, 2016 $74,000
VDC Estimator Clayco, Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 28, 2016 $73,000
Estimator MPS South Plainfield, LLC New York, NY Jun 12, 2016 $71,457
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY May 16, 2016 $70,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Apr 19, 2016 $70,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Mar 16, 2016 $70,000
Estimator J.T. Magen & Company, Inc. New York, NY Feb 06, 2015 $70,000
Concrete Estimator The Lane Construction Company La Plata, MD Oct 18, 2016 $59,738 -
Estimator Rogers-O'Brien Construction Company, Ltd. Austin, TX Aug 26, 2016 $58,510 -
Estimator Zachry Construction Corporation San Antonio, TX Jun 08, 2016 $58,000
Estimator Zachry Construction Corporation San Antonio, TX Mar 08, 2016 $58,000
Estimator Cadence McShane Construction Company LLC Austin, TX Feb 22, 2015 $57,054 -
Estimator Beachside Roofing, LLC Kapolei, HI Jun 19, 2015 $56,000

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Top Skills for An Estimator


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Top Estimator Skills

  1. General Contractors
  2. Bid Proposals
  3. Scope
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Project Coordination of contracts with General Contractors until completion.
  • Prepared tile & granite estimates and bid proposals for commercial construction
  • Develop scope-of-work and assist in creation of construction proposal.
  • Reviewed all the estimates for new clients from the sales department.
  • Created a new upfront billing system to utilize with the insurance companies, with minimal direction from the owner in 2011.

Top Estimator Employers

Estimator Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Management Accountant by Matthew R (Full Version)

A day in the life of a Quantity Surveyor