How to Become a Construction Estimator in 4 Quick Steps

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The construction industry is skyrocketing and is about to touch $8 trillion by 2030. The big push it is expecting is because of the pandemic since it has massively hit the industry.

Hospital building shortage has been a serious challenge during the pandemic. Therefore, many countries’ governments focus on spending on building world-class infrastructure.

Not only healthcare but other sectors heavily spend on construction. Since there has been a lot of wastage, shortage of supply, or cashing out the middleman commission, an employer or construction management wants someone with knowledge of construction costs. This increases the demand for construction estimators who prepare estimates.

But do you know how to become a construction estimator? What are the skills and qualifications required? Lastly, how much will you be paid as an estimator? This article is an answer to all the questions. Plus, we have also mentioned the growth chart for the said job role.

Skills Required to Become a Construction Estimator

Being a construction estimator means getting a good amount of paycheck. But to reach that position, you need to get yourself upskilled.

So what are those skills? Let’s find out.

  • Knowledge Material & Labor Cost
  • Knowledge Pre-Contract Cost
  • Good Analytical Skills
  • Knowledge of Suppliers & Contractors
  • Good at Considering Every Single Detail
  • Knowledge of Interpreting Schematic Drawings
  • Knowledge of Providing Estimates for Proposed Projects
  • Understanding the Importance of Deadlines/Time Management Skills
  • Knowledge of Computer-Aided Design & Drafting
  • Knowledge of Financial Analysis & Project Management
  • Strong Communication Skills

Having these skills means winning half the battle. The other half you win when you know how to become a construction estimator. Below is the step-wise guide to becoming a fully-skilled and highly-paid construction estimator.

4 Simple Steps to Become a Professional Construction Estimator

become a professional construction estimator

The construction estimator’s job is to offer the right costing of the project. It means he/she should be well-versed with every single rate related to construction, irrespective of material or labor. And it can be acquired through education and experience.

Here we will discuss the process of becoming a professional construction estimator. It will help you stand out from the rest of the inexperienced planners.

  1. Get Learnings

    As per the U.S bureau of labor statistics, construction employment firms give priority to construction estimators who have at least a bachelor’s degree in construction management, structural or civil engineering, or quantity surveying.

    During your course tenure, you will be trained in various subjects, such as:

    • construction methods and materials
    • mathematics
    • building codes
    • construction law

    Employers seek individuals who are good at cost estimating. Or the one who can prepare in-depth proposals.

    Useful Information

    • Opt for the bachelor’s degree that makes you learn financial, analytical, and math skills since it is going to be the demanding one on construction projects.
    • Get training under any construction project to get practical knowledge while you are still learning.
  2. Earn While You Learn (Apprentice)

    As discussed in the above point, you need to start looking for a job at an entry-level in any construction company to get practical knowledge. You get paid for the role you are assigned. Plus, you also get the exact knowledge about how a construction estimator should act and perform his/her duties in construction firms.

  3. Get Certificates

    Certificates act as proof of the abilities of construction estimators. Employers would want to hire professionals that have received certificates in the construction estimation field.

    Here are some suggestions for the institutes that can help you attain certification:

    You can enroll in The American Society of Professional Estimators since they provide the certificate of Professional Estimator’s designation. This certification requires:

    • 5 years of job experience
    • Good communication skills and technical writing knowledge
    • Workshop participation & completion
    • Attending exam

    Another one is through The Association of Advancement of Cost Engineering. You can receive the Certified Estimating Professional certificate. But for this, you need to have:

    • 8 years of work experience or education
    • Should pass an exam conducted by the Association

    Lastly, you can also receive certification from the Society of Cost Estimating & Analysis. You are required to have:

    • 7 years of experience
    • Or equivalent experience and education
  4. Get a Master’s Degree

    You should not only limit yourself to an undergraduate degree; you must opt for a master’s degree to get yourself level up. For leveling up or getting a promotion in the construction estimator’s field, you need either a master’s degree or certifications. It takes mostly 2 years to advance your construction estimator career paths.

    Now that you know how to become a construction estimator, let’s also know their duties.

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Roles & Responsibilities of a Construction Estimator

The construction estimator is entitled to perform certain duties. So let’s understand the job description in detail.

  • Collect imperative documents related to construction project drawings, project specs, and property plans.
  • Study those documents and layouts, meet with different clients, and evaluate construction sites to understand the actual requirement.
  • Sorting out the best possible human resource, material, machinery, and personal protective equipment vendors.
  • Maintain a directory of companies supplying contractors, materials, and equipment.
  • Collecting quotes from different vendors, negotiating, and finalizing one.
  • Prepare proposed project cost and time estimate.
  • Drafting construction projects proposals that include labor, material, and machinery costs.
  • Scheduling meetings with potential clients to discuss offers and contract bids
  • Advising on the tendering process.
  • Discuss with contractors, architects, owners, and subcontractors and compile detailed cost proposals.
  • Preparing construction site progress report

Do you remember we discussed getting a good salary as a construction estimator? So let’s know the construction industry’s salary rules.

How Much Can You Earn As a Construction Estimator?

Since the construction space is growing, the demand for estimators is never-ending.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of all the cost estimators is $35-$38 per hour. It results in a five-digit salary a year.

The median salary for the estimators turns out to be approximately $66,610 per year in 2020. For building construction estimators, the number is spiked by 10%, which means it is around $70,610.

Construction estimators work for around 35-40 hours per week.

Another source even shows a higher salary number, which is around $110,000 per year. The bare minimum salary starts at $53000 annually. The surprising fact is that this is an entry-level salary.

Now that you know that the construction industry is booming, and there will be a growing demand for estimators, let’s know how long can you be promoted?

What is the Future of Construction Estimators?

According to the BLS, for all the estimators for the next decade, i.e., 2020-2030, there will be an upward trend in demand. And the spotlight of the decade will be the construction vertical.

It will get a major push from the hospital construction category due to the COVID effect. Most countries have faced hospital building shortages and that would be a major area of investment.

Therefore, job seekers would get jobs since the construction industry is all set to break the records for hiring. Besides, if you are an expert in computer-aided design and building information modeling, you will be preferred by potential employers. The job growth in this field is around 9% for the 5 year period.

So this is all about how to become a construction estimator and how much construction projects boom to expect. Get yourself skilled and trained to get the role of a construction cost estimator.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the average salary of a construction estimator?

    An entry-level construction estimator earns more than $50,000 per year. And an experienced construction estimator can get a job of more than $70,000 annually.

  2. Is construction estimator a good career path?

    Yes, the demand for the construction estimator is going to spike in the near future, and it will last long. Even currently, there are many construction estimator jobs available ready to pay a lucrative salary.

  3. How long does it take to become a professional construction estimator?

    It takes 2 years to get a bachelor’s degree as a construction estimator and then 2 years of on-the-job apprenticeship. This will prepare you for an entry-level job as a construction estimator.


Construction estimating is a crucial role due to its nature of being precise and paying attention to every single detail. Plus, this job demands knowledge of certain spheres like accounting, costing, and engineering. Since accuracy is highly prioritized due to invoicing, payments, and credits, taking advantage of technology would be a good deal.

InvoiceOwl helps you track every single payment, receipt, and credit-related query. and explore how invoicing becomes a cakewalk.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of InvoiceOwl and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.


Ahmedabad (Vasant Vihar)