A number of different factors can help you become a construction estimator, though the specific job requirements vary depending on who you want to work for. Education can be very important, and a degree in civil engineering is typically necessary if you plan on estimating expensive or complex projects. Another option is to obtain a certificate in construction estimation from a trade school, though in some cases you can get hired with nothing but a high school education and relevant work experience. One factor that many employers look at when hiring cost estimators is work experience, so it may help you get hired if you have previously been a carpenter or held other construction jobs.
To become a construction estimator, you typically need to have a strong understanding of mathematics, a good eye for detail, and solid knowledge of various building techniques. It may also require excellent interpersonal skills because construction estimators often need to make presentations to clients or upper management. Some of these qualities and skills may come naturally to you, but it is also possible to develop them in college or at a vocational school.
One path to become a construction estimator is to attend a four year college or university and study engineering. If you graduate with a degree in civil engineering, you can often find work as a construction estimator. You may also choose to work in various construction related positions while attending school, and this type of direct work experience can help you get hired more quickly. It is possible to get hired with education and no relevant experience, but having both can make you stand out to potential employers.
The other way to become a construction estimator is to work in the construction industry in another capacity and move into estimating later on. If you have extensive job experience in fields such as carpentry or foundation work, you may pick up the ability to perform accurate estimations. This can lead to advancement in the company you work for and ultimately allow you to become a construction estimator.
It may also help to obtain a construction estimating certificate from a vocational school. These certificates typically include courses in math as it relates to construction, estimation and bidding, blueprints, and other related fields of study. This type of certificate may allow you to obtain a job in construction estimating, but it can be especially helpful if you already have relevant work experience in the field.