A cost estimator (cost consultant) is an important aspect of the construction and product manufacturing industries. Essentially, a cost estimator’s role is to analyze the entire project and determine a viable budget that the manufacturers or construction team can stick to.
Additionally, the cost estimator is often called upon to make cost-saving recommendations that will help the project get completed for less money.
For example, a cost estimator could be utilized to help a manufacturer launch a new line of children’s products such as a washable play yard, by helping them determine the most cost-effective way to complete the production process. In order to do this, the cost estimator will review blueprints and create a detailed analysis of all of the parts and equipment that will be needed to bring each product to life.How to Get It Done
1. Pick a Target Industry
Although cost estimators do similar work in each industry, there are enough variances that it is important to select between manufacturing, construction and consulting. After all, this will help you ensure that you sign up for the proper courses while you are in school.2. Acquire the Necessary Education
A manufacturing cost consultant will need a post-secondary education in science, engineering and planning. It is also common for estimators who enter the manufacturing field to work on a production floor for at least a few years before they attain the level of the cost estimator.
Every industry requires a high level of accuracy, attention to detail and a wide array of knowledge relating to the specific industry and company. If you are interested in working for the construction industry or as a consultant, you will most likely need a degree in architecture, construction, engineering or building science.3. Get a Summer Job Within the Industry
As previously mentioned, manufacturing cost estimators typically spend time working on the production floor. Students attending school to become a construction cost estimator should look for work at a construction site. If this is not possible, you might be able to receive permission from a construction company to observe one of their sites during your summer break.4. Focus on Math and Business Software
Aside from the specific information that you need to learn for your industry of choice, you will also need to ensure that you are proficient with computers, business related software and math calculations.5. Utilize Your School’s Career Services Department
Most people who attend school with the intention of becoming a cost estimator will begin applying for work during their last semester. Your school’s career services department should be able to help steer you in the right direction, and it is also a good idea to contact any companies that you have worked or observed at during summer break to see if they have any permanent openings.After you have gained experience as a cost estimator, you will have the opportunity to achieve certification through the Society of Cost Estimation and Analysis by passing an exam and writing a published article about cost estimating.
Becoming certified can lead to more lucrative job opportunities such as becoming a building consultant for the government, a project or engineering manager or even starting your own cost estimation business. Therefore, taking the necessary steps to start a career as a cost estimator is definitely a good idea for someone who is interested in this line of work.