Cost Engineering Training Programs and Courses

Learn about training programs and courses that are related to cost engineering. See program coursework, employment outlook projections and salary statistics.

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Essential Information

Individuals working in engineering and construction-related occupations who want to transition their careers to the project management side of their profession may consider training in cost engineering. While the subject is often taught as courses within an engineering degree program, a small number of stand-alone training programs are available from universities and professional organizations. A training program in cost engineering prepares engineers to use a systematic, scientific approach to estimate the total cost of a project, from initiation to completion. Program content touches on the time value of money, profitability analysis, budgeting, planning, scheduling, cost control and project management.

Assignments typically include a series of cost estimating problems patterned after real world examples. The standalone training programs can be completed in less than a year and some are offered online. Some of these programs are designed for current engineers; however, other programs accept applicants who have earned at least an undergraduate degree. There are also standard and advanced certification options for the cost technician. Applicants should have significant experience and be capable of passing comprehensive examinations.

Program Coursework

Rather than multiple courses, training programs tend to consist of a single course divided into multiple modules. Cost engineering module topics typically include:

  • Capital and operating budgets
  • Financing alternatives
  • Overhead expense analysis
  • Break-even analysis
  • Payback periods
  • Cash flow, depreciation and taxes
  • Cost capacity and cost improvement curves

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Graduates of a cost engineering training program can seek positions that go by a variety of names, including cost estimator, quantity surveyor, value engineer or claims consultant, and often work in the construction or manufacturing industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment of cost estimators to grow 36% from 2010-2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations; this growth will be driven by the need for estimators on infrastructure projects. The BLS also stated that the median salary of cost estimators as of May 2012 was $58,860.

Continuing Education Information

Many cost engineering training programs prepare students for certification by the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE). The Certified Cost Technician designation requires four years of experience or education and passage of a 2-part exam. To obtain the more advanced Certified Cost Engineer certification, candidates must accumulate eight years of experience or education, submit a technical paper and pass a 4-part exam.

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