How Do You Become a Drone Pilot?


Quick Answer

Most drone pilots are trained by the military. Some civilian programs that offer training and certificates in drone piloting do exist, however. As the civilian use of drones is a relatively new phenomenon and industries are still emerging, there is little in the way of industry standardization in training at this point.

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How Do You Become a Drone Pilot?
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Full Answer

Unmanned aerial vehicle operators in the United States Army pilot drones for observation and gathering of intelligence. This job requires an ASVAB score of at least 102 in the surveillance & communications category and 23 weeks of training after completing the standard 10 weeks of Army basic training. The Army also conducts a program called PaYS that guarantees a job interview with companies in the industry such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The United States Air Force also currently has drone operators but limits the position to commissioned officers. Prospective candidates need a bachelor's degree.

Some civilian schools have begun offering drone pilot training outside of the military. One such example is the drone pilot training certificate offered by the Unmanned Vehicle University of Phoenix, Ariz. The certificate program begins with a series of videos that students watch online as an introduction to the operational theory and construction of drones. Students then gain experience flying in a software simulator. For the final phase of the program, students travel to an airfield to work hands-on with actual drones.

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