Steps to Becoming a Construction Estimator

Discover how to become a construction estimator. Learn about job duties, training requirements, salary, and job outlook to determine if a career as a construction estimator is a good fit for you. Schools offering Construction Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Construction estimators make determinations as to the time, money, and materials needed to complete construction projects. Many construction estimators work for construction firms, however, they could also work for contractors or engineering firms. Check out the table below for a quick glance at the requirements and responsibilities of this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Educational Field of Study Construction management, engineering, or a similar field
Key Responsibilities Analytical skills, time-management skills, detail orientated
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 11% (for all cost estimators)
Median Salary (2017)* $63,110 (for all cost estimators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Responsibilities of a Construction Estimator?

Construction estimators use data to determine budget and required resources for construction projects. Their estimates generally include the costs and timetable for completion of a project are are created after careful analysis of blueprints and other technical documents. To create the estimates, construction estimators routinely work with architects, contractors, engineers, and clients.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Construction estimators typically need a bachelor's degree in construction management, engineering, or a similar field. Some employers also prefer to hire construction estimators that have prior work experience in the construction field as well. Many construction estimators receive additional on-the-job training to learn about construction cost estimation techniques and the use of industry-specific software.

What Are the Skill Requirements?

Construction estimators must have strong analytical and mathematical skills. These skills help them assess projects, analyze data, and formulate accurate estimates. Detail-orientation and time management skills are also valuable as construction estimators have strict deadlines to abide by and must be mindful of minor changes that could impact various elements of construction projects. Strong communication skills would also be beneficial so construction estimators can effectively report information to project managers or clients, so they are able to make informed decisions.

Work as a construction estimator also requires some degree of knowledge about specialized software and databases, as well as industry-specific knowledge regarding a wide array of construction projects.

How Much Can I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual salary of $63,110 for all cost estimators as of May 2017; the median salary for those working in the building construction industry was $66,250. Most cost estimators worked full-time, with approximately 25% of those workers working more than 40 hours a week.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The BLS projects an employment growth of 11% for all cost estimators, not just construction estimators, between 2016-2026. Trends dictate that construction estimators will account for the vast majority of new cost estimators entering the field due to massive growth in the construction industry. Individuals with specialized knowledge in computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) will have the most favorable prospects for obtaining jobs in this growing industry.

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