Category Archives: Drone Schools

A collection of articles on dedicated drone schools as well as colleges and universities that offer UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) education programs…

Drone Schools in Michigan

There is more than one drone school in Michigan offering college level courses:

Oakland University logo

Oakland University in Rochester currently offers a two-course sUAS Remote Pilot Certificate Program which is “designed to provide both basic airman knowledge, hands-on flying skill and preparation to apply and pass the FAA sUAV Remote Pilot Certification Test.” This program is tailored to individuals that will be undertaking sUAS operations on behalf of a company, or for those interested in starting their own drone-related business.

Northwestern Michigan College logo

Northwestern Michigan College, a community college in Traverse City, offers Unmanned Aerial Systems instruction as part of its Aviation and Engineering programs.
Aviation – Unmanned Aerial Systems

“NMC can offer specialized UAS training, aimed at giving you skills to operate a small (under 55 lbs) UAV for many different types of commercial applications. A basic level of aviation knowledge is strongly encouraged. That level of knowledge can be gained by taking a Private Pilot Ground School course either through NMC or another provider.”

Engineering – Unmanned Aerial Systems Technology

NMC also offers an Engineering Technology program. These courses specialize in unmanned aerial systems electronics, hydraulics, programming basics, and robotics. These are skills that incidentally might also make a UAS operator more appealing to an employer.

Alpena Community College logoFinally, Alpena Community College in Alpena offers a Drone Certification Prep Course open to anyone interested in becoming a UAS Pilot, regardless of industry application. This is not a hands-on drone operations course. Rather it is designed to prepare students to take the FAA exam upon completion. Instructors also provide a 2-hour introduction to DJI Phantom operations with a 2:1 student-teacher ratio.

Michigan State University doesn’t currently offer any drone programs, but their College of Engineering does have a student-run Unmanned Systems Team, which researches, designs, builds, and promotes hands-on learning of autonomous machines.

Drone enthusiasts seeking training might also try colleges and universities in the bordering states of Indiana or Ohio.

Drone Schools in New Jersey

If you’re searching for drone schools in New Jersey, there is more than one possibility. Atlantic Cape Community College now offers an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Specialist program made up of 5 courses. This program is designed to “provide students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skill necessary to safely operate a small multi-rotor unmanned aerial aircraft system within the National Airspace System.”

Atlantic Cape Community Collge logo

There are also a variety of 5-week courses offered by NJ Drone Academy in Flemington. These are weekend classes designed to teach students “how to build, control, and program a Drone/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’s (UAV)”.

NJ Drone Academy-logo

These 5-student classes are divided into 3 levels (Level 1 is for beginners). They offer hardware options (Multi-Rotor Drone and Flight Equipment) for rent or purchase on site, which are needed for some of the classes.

NJ-drone-school-logo

NJ Drone School, based in Green Brook, also offers 3 levels of courses (ranging from 4 to 16 hours in length) for multirotor flight designed to teach students how to build and fly drones in a safely. They offer both group lessons as well as one-on-one training.

DARTdrones also offers a 3-hour class for beginners in Morristown

Elsewhere in the  Garden State, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is conducting unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over the Atlantic Ocean as part of their mission to evaluate the feasibility of safely integrating drones into North American airspace. The team at NJIT is also assessing the operational capabilities of sensor suites aboard the aircraft. During these flights, the drone’s ground-based pilot is in communication with air traffic controllers. After the flights, the team evaluates the drone’s operational performance, as well as the value of gathered data.

Drone Schools in Virginia

If you are searching for drone schools in Virginia, you’re in luck. Liberty University (in Lynchburg) offers a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Liberty University Logo

Liberty University
http://www.liberty.edu/academics/aeronautics/?PID=23166

Aeronautics: Unmanned Aerial Systems (B.S.)

Part of its School of Aeronautics, Liberty’s UAS program promises that its graduates will receive a private license with Instrument certificate, and you will have the opportunity to become a certified UAS operator. “With this program, you will be qualified to operate two different UAS aircraft using the most common command and control system currently used in UAS worldwide today.”

If you don’t care so much about a degree, there is also UAV Pro, Inc. Headquartered in Fort Pickett, VA, this organization advertises itself as a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business. They offer both a UAV Flight Operations course and a UAV Maintenance course.

If you’re a Virginia resident, another place to learn about drones might be the Tidewater Virginia Drone Users Group. This bills itself as an organization for “amateur and professional UAS, UAV, and drone users that seek to promote safe and responsible flight for community service, commercial applications and recreation.”

And while they don’t offer any training, it is worth noting that the Old Dominion State is also home to the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems (VaCAS), which is an ICTAS/College of Engineering research center which facilitates interdisciplinary research in autonomous systems technology. Who knows, maybe this will someday pave the way for drone classes to be offered at Virginia Tech.

Drone Schools in Washington

When it comes to drone schools in Washington state, there are no 4-year degree programs as of yet, but there are definite options on the horizon. For example, Green River College in Auburn now offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Green River College logoThis degree is designed to provide an introduction into the world of unmanned aerial vehicles, and it will allow direct transfer to the University of North Dakota’s excellent UAV Bachelor’s Degree program, to become an UAS operator.

There’s also Bates Technical College’s Industrial Electronics and Robotics Technician Associate of Applied Science program.

Bates Technical College logo

Bates has announced plans to add 2 UAV courses to this existing curriculum. These will focus on piloting and maintaining unmanned aerial vehicles.

Big Bend logoFinally, Big Bend Community College, a two-year school in Moses Lake, now offers three Unmanned Systems programs focused on: maintenance and repair, sensor analysis, and flight operations.

Meanwhile, Washington State University is waiting for federal regulations to allow research of unmanned aerial vehicles in agricultural research. With the assistance of a WSU assistant professor, a club of about 10 aeronautics students has designed a liquid hydrogen-fueled UAV using a fuel cell.  This student-driven research project has already seen test flights of a battery-powered prototype.

Theoretically, hydrogen-powered UAVs could stay aloft for two weeks, much longer than vehicles using conventional fuel. Hydrogen power is also more environmentally friendly  since the only waste product is water. Researchers envision these vehicles flying at extremely high altitudes for days at a time. This means that for many applications, they  could replace expensive satellites. And unlike satellites, they could return to earth for relatively easy maintenance, upgrades, and re-use.

 

Drone Schools in Massachusetts

If you are looking for information about drone schools in Massachusetts, you have come to the right place. Currently there aren’t any unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) degree programs offered in the Bay State. If you don’t care about a degree and just want to learn, there are some great options  like the following, for which we can even offer you a discount:

DARTdrones logo

DARTdrones offers classes in Boston, designed to help beginners “choose the right drone for their needs, understand how to fly legally and safely, and learn to fly.” And you can also get a discount off the price of their training course, if you click on the link above and enter the coupon code: DRNHQ10.

Also, there are some interesting things happening in Massachusetts’ colleges and universities…

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AeroAstro undergraduate program will enable you to earn an aerospace engineering, and prepare you for entry-level positions in aerospace and related engineering fields. AeroAstro students have built UAVs for the U.S. Air Force.

Also, a newly FAA-designated unmanned aircraft test site in Massachusetts will offer MIT classes and research groups government-sanctioned airspace only an hour and a half from campus, at Cape Cod.

MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory is researching the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into civil airspace, which requires new methods of ensuring collision avoidance.

Boston University and MIT both have Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Teams. These are student run groups with the goal of teaching its members the necessary hands-on engineering skills involved in building aerial vehicle and/or robotic systems.

If any drone-specific degree  programs become available in Massachusetts, we’ll let you know. Until then, your best bet may be in the nearby states of New York or Pennsylvania.

Drone Schools in Arizona

If you happen to live in Arizona, you have more options for UAV schools and drone degrees than residents of most other states, starting with:

Cochise College Logo

Cochise College (Douglas, AZ)
http://www.cochise.edu/catalog/unmanned-aircraft-systems-and-operations—associate-of-applied-science-major-code—uas.htm

Cochise College has multiple campuses, but its drone program classes originate from its Douglas location. These programs are:

Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Operations – Associate of Applied Science

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Operations Associate of Applied Science degree prepares students to safely and effectively operate unmanned aircraft systems for commercial uses in the national airspace system.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technician – Associate of Applied Science

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technician Associate of Applied Science degree is intended for current unmanned aircraft systems technicians seeking to improve their education and career prospects in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) field. It focuses on mechanical and electronic aircraft systems.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight Operator – Associate of Applied Science

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight Operator Associate of Applied Science degree is intended for current Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight operators seeking to improve their education and career prospects in the field. It focuses on aviation systems and the flight operation of UAVs.

 

Embry Riddle logoEmbry-Riddle Aeronuatical University (Prescott, AZ)
http://prescott.erau.edu/degrees/bachelor/unmanned-aircraft-systems/index.html


Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems degree (UAS) provides graduates the knowledge essential for employment in unmanned aircraft jobs. UAS Careers may include UAV pilots, operators, observers,  sensor operators, or operations administrators. “Being an Embry-Riddle UAS student means you’ll gain an understanding in several UAS operational capacities including surveillance and data collection in hazardous, secure, long duration, highly repetitive or autonomous environments. In addition, you’ll learn the engineering aspects of the UAS, as well as the restrictions governing the operation of UAS in the United States and International airspace.”

 

Unmanned University logoUnmanned Vehicle University (Phoenix, AZ)
http://www.uxvuniversity.com/

Unmanned Vehicle University is based in Phoenix, but it may be a bit limiting to categorize it among drone schools in Arizona. Many of their classes are available online. In addition, if you are only interested in a UAV Pilot Training Certificate, they have Flight Training Centers around the country. They may also train at your location for groups of 5 or more. Programs offered are:

Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate

The UAV pilot training program consists of three phases. Phase 1 and 2 are conducted at home. Phase three is conducted at one of our flight schools. At the end of the program, students will receive the UAV Pilot Certificate that shows 10 hours of simulator, 16 hours of ground school and 24 hours of flight training for a total of 50 hours of training. All flights are conducted at AMA fields with AMA instructors in accordance with FAA AC 91-57. We require our students to join AMA. There is no previous experience required to enroll in this program.

Professional Certificate in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Management

Obtain the training to manage the unmanned systems of the future like the X-47 UCAS. Unmanned Aircraft systems engineers are critical to the positions of technical management and development of complex unmanned aircraft systems. These professionals are responsible for planning, coordinating, and budgeting group efforts that translate operational needs into technology requirements. They use their skills to determine whether a system will meet cost, schedule, and performance goals. Systems engineers perform a central role in realizing an unmanned systems success; they are in great demand by industry and government.

Master’s in Unmanned (Air, Ground, Sea, Space) Systems Engineering

This specialized degree focuses on unmanned systems engineering and program/project management. All courses are taught online. The curriculum includes architecture, development, modeling & simulation, analysis, integration, test and management of complex systems and processes. The curriculum consists of 36 credits taken during 12 week terms.

Drone Schools in Indiana

There is currently only one UAV college degree program that I know of in the state of Indiana, but it is a good one.

Indiana State University logo

The Department of Aviation technology at Indiana State University (located in Terre Haute) offers both a Bachelors of Science in Unmanned Systems and a minor in Unmanned (Aerial) Systems. The bachelor’s program prepares students for entry and advancement within the unmanned vehicle industry. Courses includes both a 21-credit unmanned systems core with an additional 28 credits of aviation classes. The minor “includes an introduction to unmanned systems operations and a study of advanced unmanned aircraft theory. Additional areas of UAS modeling and control fundamentals, ground based systems, visual and electro-optical aspects of navigation, obstacle and terrain avoidance systems, modular on-board processing systems, and current applications are explored.”

Another drone training option is Spaceport Indiana’s UAV Training Program. They offer an accelerated, hands-on 6-month curriculum design to teach students about UAVs, sensors, mission planning and operation.

You might also want to consider the bordering states of Illinois, Michigan, or Ohio.

Or you could check out the Indianapolis Area Drone User Group and see what tips you can pick up.

Drone Schools in Tennessee

If you had been looking for drone schools in Tennessee as recently as 2014, you would have been out of luck. Fortunately, options for UAV training are multiplying rapidly across the United States, and the Volunteer State is no exception. Middle Tennessee State University (in Murfreesboro, TN) recently joined the growing ranks of American universities that have UAV programs.

Middle Tennessee State University logo

What MTSU is offering is a bachelor’s degree in aerospace with a concentration in UAS (unmanned aerial systems). The mission of this concentration is to “prepare students for prosperous careers in the newly forming commercial UAS marketplace, in professions such as UAS operator, consultant, or manager for UAS programs.”

MTSU’s UAS program requires:

  • 15 hours of UAS courses
  • 30 hours of aerospace core and support courses
  • 34 hours of interdisciplinary support courses

Because the most immediate and wide-spread drone applications are in the field of agriculture, the university’s program also includes study abroad trips to locations such as Mendoza, Argentina to study these kinds of farming-related applications.

Besides agriculture, the UAS concentration is designed to prepare students to work with drones in the areas public safety, photography, media, disaster response/management, power generation,  defense, and beyond.

Drone Schools in Missouri

Are there any drone schools in Missouri?  Well, not ones that offer 4-year degrees.However, if you just want to know how to fly a small drone, either for a hobby or your business, DARTdrones offers classes in St. Louis at various times throughout the year.

DARTdrones logoThey offer 1-day classes designed to help beginners “choose the right drone for their needs, understand how to fly legally and safely, and learn to fly.” They also offer FAA exemption filing assistance. You can also get a discount off the price of their training course, if you click on the link above and enter the coupon code: DRNHQ10.

Other than that, the University of Missouri offers a 5-week class called “Introduction to Drone Issues, Applications and Flight: for Student Researchers, Entrepreneurs, Educators and Communicators”. This is run by the Science and Agricultural Journalism Program, which is housed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

But keep in mind that the MIzzou course’s emphasis is on journalism. Also, the FAA recently sent a letter to the University and told them not to fly the drones for this class outdoors. So the instructors have moved this part of the class inside. I’m hoping the FAA will lighten up a bit on the state of Missouri.

The Missouri Drone Journalism Program (a partnership between students at the Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Information Technology Program and NPR radio station KBIA) has been doing some good work in trying to raise awareness about the vast potential of drones in journalism. Hopefully their efforts will generate enough enthusiasm to demand more UAV programs in the Show Me State. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you’re a Missouri resident and you want a drone-focused degree, your best bet would probably be to attend UAV classes in the neighboring state of Kansas. You can even earn a complete Unmanned Aircraft Systems bachelor’s degree at Kansas State University, Salina.

Drone Schools in Maryland

Currently, I know of one UAV degree program Maryland. It is a <a href=”http://www.ccbcmd.edu/Programs-and-Courses-Finder/program/professional-pilot—unmanned-aircraft-systems”>Professional Pilot – Unmanned Systems, Associate of Applied Science degree</a>, offered by the Community College of Baltimore County at its Catonsville campus.

CCBC logo Professional Pilot – Unmanned Systems, Associate of Applied Science degree, is a program is designed to prepare students for “employment with a growing number of UAS business and public service applications including surveying & mapping, on-demand media, search and rescue, law enforcement, aerial delivery or with numerous government agencies or military services.”

Anne Arundel Community College logo Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland, in partnership with the Sinclair College National UAS Training and Certification Center, offers several hands-on, non-credit UAS systems courses with a wide range of specializations.

 

Carroll Communit College logoCarroll Community College in Westminster offers a non-credit certificate course called UAS (Drone) FAA Remote Pilot. The course is designed to teach you how to operate a remote-controlled drone and to prepare for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aeronautical Knowledge Test.

 

Consortiq logo Consortiq with offices in Annapolis, also offers custom drone training packages in Maryland and  the greater Washington D.C. area.

Finally, the Engineering program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore also offers a class called “Design of Autonomous Aerial Systems”. The university’s catalog describes this course as an “introduction to unmanned aerial vehicles, manned and unmanned aircraft design; conceptual unmanned aerial vehicles design based on concepts drawn from airplane aerodynamics, aircraft structure, stability and control, propulsion and compressible flows, navigation, guidance, communication, and design of control sensors; design for efficiency, design for performance, design for stability; introduction to ground, wind tunnel and flight testing.” UMES also operates an agricultural research drone over one of two farms it owns.

For additional drone training options, Maryland residents may also want to check out the neighboring state of Virginia. Or, if you want a less formal learning experience, you might try the DC Area Drone User Group. Or you could check out this great aerial drone video of the Maryland State House, shot by Mid-Atlantic Aerial Videography and Photography to get you inspired. Just don’t try it yourself without obtaining the proper permissions…