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How To Become A Certified Drone Pilot

Drones are growing more and more popular every day. People use drones for a wide range of things, whether it be for professional photography or videography, business or commercial use, for security purposes or for a drone flying hobby. Depending on the purpose of the drone some people need to become certified and here is how.

Determine the use

First of all, the person wanting to become a certified drone pilot needs to determine whether the drone use is for recreational or commercial purposes.

When the use of the drone is just for recreational purposes or as a hobby, a license is not needed. However, if the person is using a drone for commercial or business purposes, then they would need to acquire a license.

So, for people needing a drone license there are a few steps to take and it requires getting the specific license via the FAA. There are also drone training courses you can take before or after getting the license for commercial drone flying.

License step-by-step

  • An automatic background check is done by the Transportation Security Administration during application, so people must pass this.
  • An Aeronautical Knowledge Test must be passed, which every 2 years must be renewed.
  • Apply for and succeed in getting the Remote Pilot Certificate. This must be done after passing the Aeronautical Knowledge Test.
  • All people wanting to obtain the drone pilot license must be over 16 years of age.

After getting the license people must keep to particular rules like reporting any drone accidents within 10 days, conducting pre-flight tests every time and also re-submitting the license tests.

The time it takes and the cost

After people have taken the Aeronautical Knowledge Test, the drone pilot license is usually received between six to eight weeks, however a temporary license certificate can be given within around 10 days. Obviously putting a good amount of hours into studying for the required tests is critical to pass on the first time.

People tend to do drone training courses in order to learn as much as possible about being a drone pilot and to help with passing the criteria of getting the license.

The cost of obtaining drone pilot certification is actually very affordable. As a whole it’s around about $155 which comes from a flat fee of $150 for the specific tests that people need to pass and a fee of $5 for drone registration.

Although it is not too costly for the certificate, many people get this license to start a business with their drone. There are different aspects that would need to be paid for in this case such as insurance and in some cases getting an LLC (limited liability company).

After becoming a certified drone pilot

Once someone has achieved getting the drone pilot license, there are many industries that they can venture into. Some drone pilot salaries can be upwards of 80K per year and on the lower end about 30K, depending on what industry they’re working within.

The different industries a varied and being a drone pilot can be very exciting and rewarding. Here are a few examples of the different types of industries that utilize drones:

  • Real Estate
  • Forestry
  • Entertainment
  • Agriculture
  • Filmography and Photography
  • Construction
  • Surveying
  • Security

As well as these common uses within different industries, the popularity of drones being used for other reasons is rising. For example, drones have been used for social awareness and protests, for police searching for missing people and even for delivering things to consumers.


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