Electrical Estimator: Job Description, Outlook, Salary and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an electrical estimator. Get an overview of the requirements as well as details about training programs, job duties and available certifications to determine if this is the career for you.

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Electrical estimators have the responsibility of evaluating the cost of electrical installations, typically for industrial projects. Coursework in cost estimation or a prior experience as an electrician can increase chances of employment. Certification in cost estimation is available.

Essential Information

Electrical estimators are a specialized type of cost estimators who calculate the projected costs involved in electrical projects. These estimates are often used as bids for the work, which can be leveraged against other bids depending on the scope of the job. Electrical estimators typically work in both the commercial and residential construction industries. There are no specific degree programs, but often classes in cost estimation are part of construction management or engineering programs. Training and licensure as an electrician is also good preparation.

Required Education Completion of an electrician training program or a degree in construction management or engineering is suggested
Other Requirements Electrician's license may be required; voluntary certification from the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) or the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACE)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% for all cost estimators
Median Annual Salary (2016)** $61,003 for electrical estimators

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Job Description of an Electrical Estimator

Electrical estimators may be self-employed or work for a construction or project management company for which they prepare their estimates. Their estimates are usually used for projects in the construction or manufacturing industries. The estimator must factor all potential costs involved in an electrical job, including labor, materials, location, how long the job will last and any special requirements that might be needed. Things such as overhead, insurance, taxes, subcontractors and even how the weather and time of the year may affect the work are also considered with determining the estimate. Their projections help their employer or clients decide how much profit a job can make.

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Career Outlook for Electrical Estimators

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is anticipated growth in the career field of estimators, primarily due to growth in the overall population and the construction industry; the fact that construction and electrical jobs are becoming more complex will also aid in the job growth of electrical estimators. As a whole, the BLS has projected the number of cost estimator jobs to rise by 9% from 2014-2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Salary Information

According to PayScale.com, in January 2016, the majority of electrical estimators typically earned salaries ranging from $41,241-$89,341 per year, with a median of $61,003.

Training and Education Requirements

Though there is not a specific degree program available in electrical or cost estimating, many schools offer courses in cost estimation as part of their construction management or engineering programs. Obtaining a degree in electrical engineering or the construction sciences can also prove beneficial to electrical estimators wanting to gain entry into this career path.

Optionally, going to a technical school and gaining experience working as an electrician can also be helpful. Experienced electricians can become electrical estimators, since they have a basis for understanding many of the costs associated with electrical construction work.

Certification

Prospective electrical estimators may also consider earning voluntary professional certification from the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) or the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACE). The ASPE focuses on construction cost estimation certification and the AACE offer certifications in several disciplines. Certification from these organizations requires 2-8 years of experience and passing a written exam.

No education is necessarily required for electrical estimators, but familiarity with electrical engineering is a plus when being considered for hire. Electrical estimators earn a median salary of $61,003 per year, according to PayScale.com. While no outlook data is provided specifically for electrical estimators, all cost estimators are expected to see a 9% increase in job opportunities.

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