Construction estimator certification 101: All you need to know

Construction estimator certification 101: All you need to know


A variety of organizations throughout the United States and Canada offer construction estimator certifications aimed at helping professionals improve their career prospects. Keep reading to learn more about construction estimator certifications, the organizations offering them, and the benefits of becoming certified.

Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering logo

Construction estimator certifications

Certified Estimating Professional (CEP)

The Certified Estimating Professional (CEP) program is offered by the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering. Professionals must meet the following requirements to participate:

  • at least eight years of related professional experience or four years of related professional experience combined with four years of related educational experience
  • adherence to the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering’s ethical guidelines

Study materials provided by the organization include:

Upon completing the recommended study materials, participants must take an examination lasting up to five hours. It consists of the following components:

  • 119 multiple choice, compound, and scenario questions
  • a memo writing assignment

The examination is closed book.

The Certified Estimating Professional designation remains valid for three years, at which point it must be renewed.


Certified Professional Estimator (CPE)

American Society of Professional Estimators logo

The American Society of Professional Estimators offers a Certified Professional Estimator designation. To quality, applicants must have at least five years of estimating experience.

Enrolment costs either $615 for American Society of Professional Estimators members or $750 for non-members. The course is self-paced but participants must complete it within two to six months.

Receiving your certification entails:

  • passing a general estimating knowledge examination
  • passing a discipline-specific test
  • submitting a technical paper

Associate Estimating Professional (AEP)

For estimators with fewer than five years of professional experience, the American Society of Professional Estimators offers the Associate Estimating Professional designation. Enrolment costs either $160 for American Society of Professional Estimators members or $180 for non-members.

Participants must successfully complete the general estimating knowledge examination to receive this certification.


Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCE/A)

International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association logo

The Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCE/A) program is offered by the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association. To apply for this certification, professionals must fit into one of these two buckets:

  • a college degree plus five or more years of related professional experience
  • eight years of related professional experience

Receiving the certification requires the following steps:

  1. Completion of an exam application
  2. Receiving confirmation of eligibility for the desired examination
  3. Paying examination fees ($350 for members, $725 for non-members)
  4. Passing two examinations

Professional Cost Estimator/Analyst (PCEA)

The Professional Cost Estimator/Analyst (PCEA) program is also offered by the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association. It’s geared towards apprentice-level workers new to the industry. To apply for this certification, professionals must have two years of experience in a related field.

Successful applicants must subsequently pass the PCEA examination, which costs $150 for members and $275 for non-members.


British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) logo

British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Construction Estimating Certificate

For those in British Columbia looking to become certified construction estimating professionals, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) offers a Construction Estimating program.

According to BCIT, the program is fully accredited by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) and, upon completion, qualifies one for the Construction Estimator Certified (CEC) designation.

To participate in the certificate program, BCIT recommends the following:

  • recent completion of a mathematics course at the Grade 12 level (or, alternatively, mathematics courses offered by BCIT)
  • six months of work experience in the construction industry (or, alternatively, completion of Construction 1 A or Construction 1 B courses offered by BCIT)
  • blueprint reading knowledge (or, alternatively, completion of the Residential Blueprint Reading course offered by BCIT)

Subjects covered as part of the certificate program include:

  • materials
  • building codes
  • construction drawings
  • construction site processes
  • estimating
  • technical writing
  • economic issues
  • civil construction
  • bidding

George Brown College logo

George Brown College Construction Estimating Program

For aspiring construction estimators in Toronto, George Brown College offers a Construction Estimating certificate program designed to teach students the ins and outs of preparing construction estimates and schedules.

George Brown College recommends students interested in taking this course first complete the Building Construction Basics program.

George Brown College’s Construction Estimating certificate program focuses heavily on estimating and planning/scheduling.


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Construction estimator job requirements and salary

Understanding the professional requirements for receiving various types of estimator licenses can be helpful when determining which certification you should pursue. Here’s a general guide.

The typical salary and job outlook of a construction estimator

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median certified professional estimator salary across all industries is $66,610. While there are an estimated 199,400 jobs for cost estimators throughout the United States, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts little to no change in job opportunities through to the year 2030. For comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an average employment growth rate of 8% across all occupations.

The typical job requirements for a construction estimator

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction estimator jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree or several years of experience in the industry.

Construction cost estimators in particular are typically expected to have degrees in a field such as construction or engineering. Professionals subsequently supplement their knowledge with on-the-job training related to job-specific construction estimating techniques and software.

Important traits for construction cost estimators

While certifications and/or degrees in construction cost estimation are important, so too are personal traits and qualities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are important traits for construction cost estimators to have:

  • analysis, given how important evaluating various construction cost estimation methods is to their work
  • attention to detail, given how mistakes in the estimation process can lead to significant cost overruns
  • communication, given how important it is to communicate estimates with stakeholders in a way that instills confidence

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Construction estimator certification: Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you understand what it takes to receive a construction estimator certification, along with the benefits of doing so. For more articles about the construction industry (including information about other types of construction certifications), visit our blog.


Brandon-Richard Austin

Brandon-Richard Austin is a writer and content strategist focused on the construction sector. He’s passionate about educating readers on construction management techniques and best practices.