Thanks to a commercial building boom for healthcare facilities, big box stores, malls and high rises, demand by large commercial construction companies has outstripped the ready supply of estimators and project managers.
Estimators price out the material costs for a project. Typically, they either have a two-year degree from a construction technology school or a four-year college degree with a major in construction management.
Managers oversee work on the construction site and other aspects of the project. They often have degrees in construction technology or management from 4-year colleges and many get their start as estimators.
In both instances, those with expertise in a particular kind of construction -- say, hospital buildings -- can command a premium in pay, since they can hit the ground running on similar projects.
Starting salaries for estimators in the Midwest range from $55,000 to $65,000, and after five years, the salary can climb to $75,000.
A project manager's starting salary also might range from $55,000 to $65,000 but after five years' experience they can make six figures.
Salary levels are higher on the coasts.