Basics About Becoming a Cost Estimator

Become a Cost Estimator


Cost estimators must have a strong background in mathematics, but expertise in a particular industry of manufacturing or construction may also benefit prospective professionals. You may choose to use online courses to build your education in a related industry or to increase your understanding of relevant math concepts. Some students choose to enroll in online classes because they can often be completed remotely from home.

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Are Online Cost Estimator Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online cost estimator program:

  • Requirements for employment may vary by institution and industry. However, many employers look for individuals with bachelor's degrees in a related field who also have a strong mathematical and business background, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i].
  • Some candidates may benefit from a background in trades such as plumbing, construction or electrical engineering.
  • Individuals may also pursue certifications to increase job prospects. Professional certifications are offered by the American Society of Professional Estimators, Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International and the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association.
  • Before signing up for online courses, consider what subjects - engineering, construction, accounting, mathematics - are covered during your education. Also, inquire about how learning online will prepare you for particular certifications.

Cost Estimator Career Paths and Potential Salaries

There are other career paths you may pursue after attending online courses in a cost estimator program. The mathematical and financial skills you earn may equate well to other careers. Study some of the options that may be available using information from the BLS.

Cost Estimators[i]

Cost estimators analyze production schedules, material costs, labor costs and other expenses necessary to complete a project. They use math, accounting, finance and industry knowledge to make an educated prediction about the how much a company will need to invest to construct a building or create a product. 


  • See BLS for median annual salary 
  • Job growth through 2022: 26 percent (much faster than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Accountants and Auditors[ii]

Accountants and auditors largely review financial decisions and prepare taxes to ensure businesses, organizations and individuals operate to reduce costs, increase profits and work within the realm of the law. They organize files and prepare financial reports for review and analysis, making sure all data is accurate and up to date.


  • See BLS for median annual salary 
  • Job growth through 2022: 13 percent (as fast as average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree


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