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Industrial Estimator: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an industrial estimator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, certification and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

Staying on budget and choosing between projects can be difficult for organizations, which is why some organizations hire industrial estimators to monitor costs and determine the best financial course of action. Industrial estimators, like all cost estimators, must have a strong command over mathematics and be detail-oriented.

Essential Information

Industrial estimators make sure that companies don't exceed their budget by providing an estimate of how much products, projects and other endeavors will cost them. They review business plans, visit construction sites and take various factors into consideration while mapping out what they feel is the best course of action the company should take. Most positions will require a bachelor's degree in a physical science, building or construction science, mathematics or accounting.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in a physical, building or construction science, mathematics, or accounting discipline
Additional Requirements Estimating experience
Optional Certifications Offered by the American Society of Professional Estimators, the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association and the Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 9%* (for all cost estimators)
Average Annual Salary (2015) $60,390* (for all cost estimators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Industrial estimators work to develop bids or help companies control costs by reviewing the budgets of projects. Estimators take the number of workers involved in a project, necessary supplies, time, cost of transportation and fluctuating market prices into account whenever they are projecting a budget. Industrial estimators also study current projects and products that a company has in play to see if they are making the company a profit or if the company needs to alter its business strategy. Industrial estimators work in industries such as architecture, transportation, aerospace, defense and manufacturing.

Job Duties

Industrial estimators look over plans and visit project sites to evaluate transportation options, drainage, the condition of the land and availability of water and electricity. The estimator forms an idea of what kind of materials the job will require and the amount of money workers will be paid; taxes, insurance and the price of fuel or energy will also need to be factored in. Estimators will evaluate subcontractor bids and judge risks relative to weather, market fluctuations and the labor force. They generate documents to reflect and record their data and conclusions, and may work with a purchasing department to obtain materials and track costs.

Job Requirements

Engineering or physical science degrees can prepare graduates for eventual industrial estimating jobs in the manufacturing sector, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A math degree could also fit with this career. Estimators who work in the construction sector are more likely to have degrees in construction science, accounting, or building science. Individuals without a bachelor's degree might be able to work their way into estimating by pairing experience with specific cost-estimating classes and an associate's degree. Experience is vital to estimating work, so a degree alone will probably not qualify an individual for an estimating job.

Professional organizations that offer certification to industrial estimators include the American Society of Professional Estimators, the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association and the Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International (AACE International). Estimators must have a minimum of 2 years' experience and pass a written examination.

Career Information

As reported by the BLS, cost estimators in general should see a 9% growth in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. Growth in this industry will be driven by the need of organizations to review the most accurate numbers in regards to the costs of products and manufacturing. Cost estimators earned a median annual salary of $60,390, according to May 2015 information provided by the BLS. Estimators employed in areas of oil and gas extraction, natural gas distribution, and telecommunications earned the highest salaries.

Industrial estimators need a broad understanding of the manufacturing and construction industries, project materials, accounting practices, and cost estimations. These professionals make sure that companies remain on budget, but they may also make projections to see if project spending is making or losing money, and if potential projects are worth the investment. Job growth in this industry between 2014 and 2024 is predicted to be faster than average, per the BLS, and those who hold bachelor's degrees and are certified within their industry may be more likely to find employment.

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