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Cost Estimators

Cost Estimators
Quick Facts : Cost Estimators*
2010 Median Pay$57,860
Entry Level EducationBachelor's degree
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 2012185,400
Job Outlook36% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change67,500

Cost estimators collect and analyze data to figure the approximate time, money, resources, and labor that would be needed for product manufacturing, construction projects, or services. Cost estimators use sophisticated computer software, including database, simulation, and complex mathematical programs. Many specialize in a particular industry or product type.

What Cost Estimators Do

  • Consult with industry experts to discuss estimates and resolve issues
  • Read blueprints and technical documents to prepare estimates
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, owners, and contractors on estimates
  • Recommend ways to make a product more cost effective or profitable
  • Develop project plans for the duration of the project

Work Environment

Although cost estimators generally work in central offices, they often visit factory floors or construction sites. Cost estimators typically work under pressure and experience stress because of the need to meet deadlines. As a result, overtime is common.
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Job Outlook

Employment of cost estimators is expected to grow 36 percent from 2010 to 2020. Demand for cost estimators is expected to remain strong as companies look for more accurate cost projections and products and services that are more cost-effective.
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The average salary of cost estimators was $57,860 in May 2010.
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Cost Estimators*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Cost Estimators


Finance Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Cost Estimators*
Percent Change in Employment

Cost Estimators


Finance Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Cost Estimators

A bachelor's degree and related work experience are increasingly important for becoming a cost estimator. However, some highly experienced construction workers with analytical abilities may qualify without a bachelor's degree. A strong background in mathematics is essential.
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