Is becoming a cost estimator right for me?
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How to become a Cost Estimator
Becoming a cost estimator involves a combination of education, relevant experience, and the development of specific skills. Here is a guide to becoming a cost estimator:
- Bachelor's Degree: Pursue a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as construction management, engineering, business, or a related discipline. Some employers may accept degrees in areas like mathematics or statistics. Consider programs that offer coursework in cost estimation and project management.
- Gain Relevant Experience: Acquire practical experience through internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions. This hands-on experience provides exposure to the industry and helps you develop a better understanding of cost estimation processes.
- Specialize if Necessary: Depending on your interests and career goals, you may choose to specialize in a particular industry, such as construction, manufacturing, or IT. Specialization can enhance your expertise in the specific types of projects you are interested in estimating.
- Consider Certification: While not mandatory, obtaining certification can enhance your credibility and marketability. Organizations like the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) offer certifications for cost estimators (see below).
- Advance Your Education (Optional): Some cost estimators choose to pursue advanced degrees, such as a Master's Degree in Project Management or a related field, to enhance their knowledge and career prospects.
- Apply for Positions: Start applying for entry-level positions or junior estimator roles. Emphasize your education, relevant experience, and any certifications you have obtained. Tailor your resume to highlight skills in cost estimation, mathematics, and project management.
- Career Development: As you gain experience, consider taking on more complex projects and advancing to roles with increased responsibility. Continuing education and professional development are key to a successful career as a cost estimator.
Certifications can enhance the credibility and marketability of cost estimators by demonstrating their expertise and commitment to professional development. Here are some relevant certifications for cost estimators:
- Certified Cost Professional (CCP): Offered by the Association for Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACEI), the CCP designation is recognized globally and demonstrates proficiency in cost engineering and cost estimating.
- Certified Construction Estimator (CCE): The American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) offers the CCE designation. This certification is designed for construction estimators and covers various aspects of cost estimating in the construction industry.
- Certification in Construction Estimating (CCE): The Construction Estimating Institute (CEI) provides the CCE certification, emphasizing construction estimating skills and techniques.
- Certification as a Professional Estimator (CPE): Offered by the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE), the CPE certification is designed for professionals in the estimating field and covers a broad range of estimating topics.
- Project Management Professional (PMP): While not specific to cost estimating, the PMP certification, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is recognized globally and includes project cost management as one of its knowledge areas.
- Certified Professional Constructor (CPC): The American Institute of Constructors (AIC) offers the CPC certification, which covers various aspects of construction management, including cost estimating.
- Estimator Certification Program (ECP): The American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) provides the ECP program, which includes a certification exam covering estimating principles and practices.