If you’re convinced of the coming demand for people who know how to operate UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), the only question now is how to cash in on the booming job market that’s expected to develop after more drones become legal to fly in U.S. airspace. This will almost certainly happen in the next 2-4 years. So where do you go right now to learn how to be a drone operator or technician? Which drone schools are a good match for your career goals? It depends on the level of education you want. Do you just want to attain a certificate or perhaps an Associate’s degree? No problem. Or, if you are interested in a Bachelor’s degree, or even a Master’s in a drone-related field, there are programs for those as well.
Now if you are just interested in a 1-day course to learn to fly small drones, either for your business and/or for fun, I’ll stop you right here…
Dartdrones offers just this kind of solution in 20 states and counting. They offer great classes for beginners which will introduce you to “the basics of flying: FAA rules and regulations, drone safety, equipment and software, and more.”
When you click the link above, you can use the coupon code “DRNHQ10” to receive a discount. Expect solid training that will give you a good foundation.
New: There are many organizations in the United States that offer a wide range of UAV training. We recommend you try our new Search by Your State feature on our home page to find the most complete listings. However, if you are only interested in drone schools that offer UAV/UAS specific degrees or more intensive certificate programs, then please refer to our new post Drone Training Colleges : The 20 Best Ranked.
Drone Training HQ has no financial interest in any of the institutions listed below. By the same token, we do not endorse any one of these institutions over another. The program descriptions below are taken from the websites of these organizations. We encourage you to do your own research and decide for yourself which of these UAV colleges is right for you.
Troy College (Troy, AL)
Minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems
This minor is part of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Resource and Technology Management – Aviation Ops.
Cochise College Aviation (Douglas, AZ)
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.
Unmanned Vehicle University (Phoenix, AZ)
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 Universities (La Jolla, CA and various locations)
Offered courses include:
Drone Photography / Videography
Drone GIS / Mapping
Drone Unversity USA (Sacramento, and other CA locations)
Offers 2-day courses with simulator and flight line training with DJI Phantoms that are “designed for students who are interested in being trained to be a safe, legal and efficient FAA FAR Part 107 commercial sUAS/drone operator.” They also offer 1 full year of free classroom training to all graduates so they can receive the latest information and training for the Part 107 license.
Unmanned Experts (Denver, CO)
Multi-rotor Small UAS Aerial Photography Course
“This 7-Day Ground and Flight School class is designed for those wanting to safely operate multi-rotors and qualify for insurance by some of the leading aviation brokerages. It then builds on those skill-sets for those wanting to bring their potential to full fruition in the Aerial Photography field as a professional operator in the commercial sector.”
UAS Foundation Course
“This week-long, classroom, practical and simulator-based, instructional program begins with the 3 day UAS Fundamentals Course providing an introduction to aircraft systems, UAS design, roles, classification, command and control payloads and operations. It is followed by a 2-day UAS Employment Module providing instruction on practical UAS issues, tasking and integration of UAS assets. Mission planning, logistics and real-world case studies are all covered in depth and supported by challenging practical workshops and supervised simulator lessons.”
UAS Maintenance Training Course
“The 8-week long Maintenance Training Course is provided in a mixture of classroom and on the job training, working alongside Unmanned Systems technicians during maintenance of training aircraft on live-fly sorties. Training can be expanded to include specifics in a requested class or group and, subject to agreement with Original Equipment manufacturers (OEM), on specific platforms.”
Other Unmanned Experts courses include:
Law Enforcement Tactical Operations Course
UAS Advanced Course
Imagery Analysis Training Course
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL campus)
Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science degree gives graduates the expertise they need for employment as operators, observers, sensor operators, and operations administrators of unmanned aircraft systems. The coursework covers several UAS applications areas, including hazardous operations, surveillance and data collection, secure operations, long duration operations, highly repetitive operations, and autonomous operations. Students also learn about the engineering aspects of these aircraft systems and the regulations governing their operation.
Students entering this program should have a basic background in math and physics. Students will select one of two specialty tracks, Pilot Track or the Non-Pilot Track.
Master of Science in Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Engineering
The Master of Science in Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Engineering is one of the first — and still one of the few — programs to offer the opportunity to study the engineering of unmanned and autonomous systems. The program prepares students to work in an industry developing systems that operate along a spectrum of autonomy, from unmanned aircraft and autonomous cars to robotic surface water and underwater vessels, spacecraft and industrial robots.
Lewis University (Romeoville, IL)
Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems
This program promises that its “Operations-focused curriculum combines aviation and Computer Science. You will learn how to design, develop and operate individually-tailored UAS to meet mission objectives through an interdisciplinary curriculum”. They also claim that by graduation, “you will be qualified for a career as a professional UAS/UAV pilot and operator,” having earned your: Private Pilot Certificate (Single Engine Land), Instrument Rating, and Commercial Pilot Certificate (Single Engine Land). Lewis even boasts an on-site airport for hands-on training.
Indiana State University (Terre Haute, IN)
Minor in Unmanned (Aerial) Systems
The Department of Aviation technology at Indiana State University offers a minor program in Unmanned (Aerial) Systems. It “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.”
Kansas State University Salina (Salina, KS)
Bachelor’s Degree – Unmanned Aircraft Systems
This option of study prepares students for careers in the field of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, also known as remotely piloted aircraft. This is a rapidly growing area of aviation and students will be prepared to safely deploy unmanned vehicles in response to emerging challenges and opportunities.
Course work includes foundational courses in aviation flight and maintenance necessary for UAS operation and specific courses designed to enable commercially available payload to platform integration and to enable students to think critically in a rapidly developing technical field.
University of Louisiana (Monroe, LA)
Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation with a Concentration in Unmanned Aircraft Systems
“ULM students hope that by expanding their Aviation degrees to include training in UAS, they will be able to take advantage of the expected commercial drone boom.”
Northwest Michigan College (Traverse City, MI)
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operator training
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. Additionally, NMC offers an Engineering Technology program specializing in unmanned aerial systems that includes training on electrics, hydraulics, programming basics, and robotics—skills that will help a UAS operator to be more successful in the field.
Northland Community & Technical College Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Training Center (Thief River Falls, MN)
Unmanned Aerial Systems maintenance-training program
The UAS certificate will concentrate on the maintenance and repair of the components of unmanned aerial systems to include: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), ground control stations (GCSs), understanding the function of data links or the communication/guidance system between vehicle and satellites (line of sight), and a basic understanding of computer networks and their functionality within UAS. Courses are designed to create a skilled UAS Maintenance Technician with a broad understanding of commonly used UAS platforms at the functional level.
Hinds Community College (Raymond, MS)
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program
Hinds Community College and Pearl River Community College in Poplarville are partnering with the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center outside Hattiesburg to offer an Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. Hinds will offer the Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle training while Pearl River, whose district encompasses the Camp Shelby area, will offer the academic classes for service members in the National Guard and Reserve as well as civilians to earn degrees.
University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV)
Minor in Unmanned Autonomous Systems
…the objective of the interdisciplinary minor in UAS is to provide students with skills and experiences that will help them better apply the knowledge gained in their majors to specialized problems in the field of UAS.
SkyOp (Location varies)
Introduction to sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems)
This course is designed for anyone that wants to fly small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) for fun or as a new career after the FAA opens the skies to commercial use. Students learn to fly, are taught about the different types of flight systems and, most importantly, acquire insight into safe and legal flying practices.
University of North Dakota
B.S. in Aeronautics with a Major in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations curriculum is offered to those students whose career objectives are aimed at the civil unmanned aircraft systems industry. The program provides the breadth and depth of instruction needed to ensure graduates are prepared to work as pilots/operators and/or developmental team members of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) while fully understanding the operational and safety environments of the National Airspace System. Courses require students to be comfortable utilizing complex science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles. In addition, students must possess strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. A Commercial Pilot Certificate, with instrument and multi-engine ratings is required.
Sinclair UAS Training and Certification Center (Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH)
Associate of Applied Science in Unmanned Aerial Systems
Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH offers an Associate of Applied Science in Unmanned Aerial Systems. This is 62-credit hour program is designed to prepare students for entry level positions in the UAS industry working in applications such as emergency response, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), and precision agriculture.
Sinclair’s UAS curriculum focuses on practical real-world applications of current and emerging nonmilitary UAS vehicle and sensor technologies using classroom instruction, leading-edge simulation and hands-on vehicle operations.
Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)
UAS Option for Masters of Science and PhD degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
“These classes aim to provide students with hands-on analysis, design, construction, and flight testing of UAS platforms. Students electing the UAS option will have the option name indicated on their transcripts. Flight testing and operations are conducted at OSU UAS airfields in Stillwater and/or in partnership with the University Multispectral Laboratories at Ft. Sill.”
Central Oregon Community College (Bend, OR)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Degree Program
The Aviation Unmanned Aerial Systems Operations (UAS) track trains individuals to work as professional UAS operators in the national/ international arena. Students will learn to operate UAS to include: conducting mission/ preflight planning, mission briefings, and programming. Students will learn how to obtain and evaluate weather forecasts, Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs), Special Instructions (SPINs) and airspace requirements. Students will be taught to perform limited UAS and ground support equipment testing, troubleshooting and maintenance.
– AAS Degree
– Minimum of 100 Credit Hours
– Est. Cost $50K-$60K
– Financial Aid and/or VA Benefits
Community College of Beaver County (Monaca, PA)
Degree Offered: Associate in Applied Science
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drones) program is being offered because of the increasing demand for qualified pilots and sensor operators in the rapidly growing field of unmanned aircraft systems operations. Employment opportunities exist in both private and public entities including the U.S. Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, TN)
Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace with a Concentration in UAS
The goal 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.”
LeTourneau University (Longview, TX)
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, B.S.
This program offers a choice of three concentrations:
- Pilot – the Pilot concentrations is the best fit for students who want to fly unmanned aircraft.
- Technician – the Technician concentration is the best fit for students interested in RPA maintenance
- Electronics – for students interested in designing or improving upon electrical systems used in RPAs
Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA)
Aeronautics: Unmanned Aerial Systems (B.S.)
Receive a private license with Instrument certificate just like the other concentrations; however, in addition to this, you 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.
Green River College (Auburn, WA)
Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) in Unmanned Aerial Systems
“This degree will introduce the student to the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS) and will allow direct transfer to the University of North Dakota to become an UAS operator. Students in this program must be a United States citizen.”
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers the following online programs as part of it Worldwide campus:
Bachelor’s of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems : “The BSUSA degree features 36-credits of general education coursework, 48-credits of core unmanned systems topics, and 36-credits associated with a student selected track of study (administration, operations, and development) covering subject relevant to the industry.”
Bachelor’s of Science in Aeronautics – UAS Minor : “The BSA features an option to pursue an 18-credit minor course of study in UAS designed to improve awareness of system capabilities, unique robotic features, sensor selection and application, and role in modern operations.”
Master of Science in Unmanned Systems : “The MSUS features a series of nine-credit elective concentrations: Unmanned Aerospace Studies (UAS), Aeronautics and Design, Human Factors, Space Systems, Safety/Emergency Response, Operations, Education, Aviation/Aerospace Management, and Aviation/Aerospace Research.”
Master of Science in Aeronautics Degree-UAS Graduate Specialization : “The 36-credit Master of Science in Aeronautics (MSA) is an advanced degree designed to broaden a student’s knowledge, diversify talents, and cultivate an edge in the competitive field of aviation.”
Did we miss any? If you know of any drone schools that aren’t here and should be, please let us know through via the Contact page, or just leave a comment below.