Though diverse backgrounds, cost analysts and estimators have been most important in the construction business. However, for all varied disciplines, the fundamental principles of cost estimating are universally applicable. With the projects and budgets soaring into the millions of dollars, a little error can be costly. But the realms behind the varied disciplines make the cost estimating process the most challenging, and unique profession one might pursue.
Hence, residential, commercial and government employers need a means through which they can identify experienced estimators. These professionals will help employers decipher how to generate accurate cost analyses and estimates and also what matters the most in any project.
If you are a practicing cost estimator and want to gain more benefits, it is recommended that you consider acquiring certification in cost estimating. The reason is that companies around the world now demand certificates from cost analysts. Moreover, it adds the value of you being certified and someone prepared to tear down the walls for their project. Being certified also gives you an edge over your competitors and the chances for you getting the jobs are highly likely.
Besides, obtaining certification will keep you on a treadmill of growth and learning in your career. There are several associations that provide a variety of certifications. Below are the top certifications you can pursue in your career.
1. Professional Cost Estimator/ Analyst (PCEA®)
This certification is offered by the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association”, ICEAA. You can consider this if you are a junior estimator as it doesn’t require years of experience. This certificate demonstrates the ability of the estimator and tests your understanding of math and statistics principles. Moreover, it tests practical application and foundation knowledge.
If you have a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in cost, budgeting, finance, accounting, or other related fields, you can pursue this.
However, if you don’t hold a bachelor’s degree, you need to have 5 years of experience in the cost analyst field. In addition to the above-mentioned criteria, you have to pass the certification exam to become certified.
The certificate is valid for 3 years and is renewable by retaking the exam.
2. Certified Estimating Professional (CEP)
This certificate is offered by AACEI and is targeted to estimators. It requires a rigorous study course. If you want to establish professional credentials in the estimating field, then this program is for you.
Because it is geared towards a more specific expertise area, this certification is held by fewer. It helps professionals by allowing them to validate their knowledge and skills that impact the bottom line.
To qualify for this certification, one needs to have 8 years of experience as a professional estimator, including a four years bachelor’s degree in building construction, engineering, construction technology, computer science, accounting, economics, architecture, or business.
If you want to pursue this but don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you need to have eight years of industry experience.
Once you pass the exam and become certified, it is valid for three years. If you want to renew the certification, you need 12 CEUs, also known as continuing education units. Otherwise, the certificate will expire. This exam is given in various U.S. locations and costs $500 for non-members and $350 for members.
3. Certified Professional Estimator (CPE)
This certification comes under the American Society of Professional Estimators also known as ASPE.
You need to have a minimum of five years of experience in the field of cost estimation e.g. electrical, mechanical or landscaping, etc. You have to get your experience verified with your employer as the resume alone is not enough to validate your work experience. Also, you have to write a technical paper related to cost estimation to prove that you are eligible for this certification.
When the requirements are satisfied, you can sit for the exam and become a certified CPE.
However, like other certificates, you need to get it renewed after three years and the renewal requires 30 PDUs or professional development units.
4. Certified Cost Estimator/ Analyst (CCEA®)
It is offered by ICCEA and is more general than the CPE certificate. For this certificate, knowledge of all estimating fields is required. CCEA, along with ISPA tends to attract estimators from diverse fields including national laboratories, government contractors, and defense industries.
It promotes recognition and competency, based on preparation and assessment. This certification provides professional credentials that set the standard for entire cost estimating. Moreover, it distinguishes professional cost estimators from their competitors and strengthens the ability of individuals so they can do quality cost estimates.
To qualify for sitting in the exam, you need to have a minimum of 5 years experience along with a bachelor’s degree. But, if you don’t hold a four years college degree, you must have eight years experience.
5. Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP)
A PSP is someone who is skilled and has advanced experience in project planning, monitoring, development, forecast, updating, scheduling, and analyzing. The PSP leads the scheduling and planning process within AACE International and communicates with all stakeholders of the project whether external or internal.
You need to have industry experience of 8 years. If you have a bachelor’s degree, then it’s a plus as you only need 4 years of industry experience in this case. Moreover, you have to adhere to AACE’s Code of Ethics.
If you have gone through the certification process and you are a certified estimator, let us know in the comments which certification you have got. Moreover, if you have any suggestions or preferences related to the certifications, please make sure to write them in the comments below.