Before a construction or manufacturing project is undertaken the company financing it will need an estimate of how much it will cost and how long it will take to complete. With a good idea of the money and time needed the company can get competitive bids from contractors interested in the job. It is the responsibility of a cost estimator to calculate the potential expense of a project breaking it down into factors such as the materials cost of labor and machinery and technology that will be necessary.
According to the website Ehow.com education for cost estimators depends on the specific industry in which they work. Those estimating costs for manufacturing projects have bachelor's degrees in engineering science statistics or accounting. Those estimating costs for construction projects have bachelor's degrees in construction management and often have worked in the construction industry in some capacity. Regardless of the industry however cost estimators must have strong mathematical skills and the ability to communicate both verbally and in writing with their employer and with contractors interested in bidding on the project.
Cost estimators must be familiar with the latest computer programs which ensure accurate calculations. Most cost estimators work in offices but they usually visit construction sites or manufacturing plants where projects will take place. Although they generally work a 40-hour week they may work overtime when deadlines must be met. Employment prospects for cost estimators are affected by the state of the economy which determines how many projects will be undertaken.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics salaries for cost estimators depend on education and experience as well as on the type and size of the company for whom the estimate is being made. On average cost estimators have annual earnings of approximately $56500.