A Comprehensive Guide to Getting a Drone Job

If you are looking to land yourself on a drone job, then you have come to the right platform. You are probably one of those drone freaks who are passionate about their flying and making both their ends meet with a job that has been their long loved hobby is nothing but a dream come true.

Ever since Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has formulated Part 109 and the evolving drone industry, the number of drone jobs has increased tremendously. As a matter of fact, estimates reveal that the drone market will grow at an annual rate of 32% between 2015 and 2020. With this massive growth, a parallel growth is also expected in the associated drone jobs.

But one wonders what these new jobs are and how can one stumble upon them? Are there any skills and qualifications required for these jobs? In this post, we will be deliberating over these issues in detail. So, stay tuned and have a time of your lives!

Kinds of jobs available

Here are some of the career routes that you can adopt to get a drone job and make some money by employing your skills as a drone pilot. Piloting your beloved drones is a prerequisite for these jobs but you will also be needing additional experience such as that related to search and rescue operations and aerial photography and cinematography. Some jobs can be full time endeavors while the others are just part time gigs.

You can earn money by using your drone piloting skills in a number of ways. But specialization is the key and that is precisely what you will have to decide. Here are a few questions, answers to which will clear your mind and help you make a better decision.

  • Are you into aerial photography and cinematography?
  • Will you be fine with a part time gig or are you interested in a full time endeavor?
  • Are you comfortable with flying small unmanned aerial vehicles or military grade machines?
  • Are you interested in working stateside or military?
  • Have you had prior experience of working in the police department, fire department or agriculture department?
  • Are you planning to launch your own drone business?
  • Are you into teaching?

Drone cinematographer and photographer

Drone piloting involved: 8/10

Drone cinematographer and photography is a field that is the most common one in the world of small unmanned aircraft systems. It is a field that has the most number of jobs both in terms of freelance opportunities and full time jobs.

This is a massive field and the tasks can range from capturing short real estate photography sets and video footages to several hours long cinematography drone job requiring a specialized skill set.

Keep in mind that these jobs are not meant for hobbyist drone pilots. You need to be great at photography in order to grab these opportunities. You might be asked to copilot a drone with your colleague while controlling the camera gimbals for the best possible aerial shots.

Drone instructor

Drone piloting involved: 8/10

If you have the requisite skills, qualifications and reputation, then becoming a drone instructor could be an excellent career path.

You can start your personal venture and instruct your customers on one to one basis or begin an online course or initiate a blog of your own. You can promote your course material using Udemy.

You may as well opt to work full time for a drone institution if you have the requisite skills set and experience. Manufacturers who develop drones for reconnaissance, search and rescue, agriculture and other fields are always in the lookout for instructors who would teach their clients how to use their new products in a safe manner.

This is a relatively new field and the number of drone jobs is only going to increase.

Drone engineer

Drone piloting involved: 6/10

If you have sound knowledge about electrical, electronics, software or aviation engineering along with the accompanying qualifications, then you can a handsome amount of money by being a drone engineer. With your background in engineering, you can work in product development, technical support, UAV maintenance and technician or quality assurance. Research and development is another potential area.

This is not a drone job in the strictest of senses as it may not involve a lot of aircraft flying. But if you work in the quality assurance department, then you may get an opportunity to fly your beloved drones.

Agriculture

Drone piloting involved: 5/10

Drones can be used to manage farms in an effective manner to enhance productivity and the return on investment.

Drones equipped with GPS technology can be utilized observe, analyze and manage farms and go a long way in increasing the crop yield. If you belong to a family that owns farms and you love to fly drones, then you are in for a great time. You can increase your crop yield by employing your drone piloting skills.

Search and rescue

Drone piloting involved: 6/10

Search and rescue operations are a must for the employees of police of fire departments. Even if you are not working in these departments, you can still land a job in these departments with search and rescue missions as your primary skill. This drone job might not help you make a lot of money but you will still be able to gain valuable experience. You can also build your reputation as a drone pilot and end up forging precious collaborations. Have a look at SARDRONES for more information.

The seemingly complicated process of search and rescue becomes a whole lot easier thanks to drones. Drones allow you to cover large areas with the minimum possible fuss and in a very short interval of time. Another benefit that one gets from using drones for search and rescue missions is in the form of accessibility as they give you access to areas that may be dangerous for humans such as a house on fire!

Have a look at this video that shows drones in action while carrying out a search and rescue operation.

And this is a magnificent fire-fighting drone!

Infrastructure inspection, maintenance and security

Drone piloting involved: 7/10

Installations such as cell phone towers, building roof tops, solar fields and other electrical infrastructure can be surveyed, monitored and maintained with the help of drones. The aerial mapping of construction sites is also possible with drones.

There are numerous companies that are offering services in these fields and have job openings for skilled drone pilots who are able to collect data using these gadgets. Flight planning, pre-flight analysis and risk assessment are some skills that can help you land these drone jobs.

Military and reconnaissance

Drone piloting involved: 9/10

You can get an opportunity to fly larger drones by getting enrolled for military or state side services. Additional qualifications such as FAA Class 2 medical certificates and security clearance from the Department of Defense are essential requirements for these drone jobs. Moreover, citizenship of your country is a must.

You will be required to conduct mission pre-flight planning, observing airmen, issuing necessary instructions and helping in airspace requirements. Completion of post mission logs and reports is also an added responsibility. Keep in mind that you can also be posted overseas.

Package delivery

Drone piloting involved: 7/10

Package delivery with the help of drones is a drone job that is still in its rudimentary stage but is definitely a thing for the future. Tech giants such as Amazon and Flirtley are in the middle of testing drone package delivery in different countries which New Zealand and Australia, the two trans-Tasman nations, seem to be at the vanguard of this phenomenal experiment. Flirtley has already posted a few job opportunities for drone pilots.

Start your own drone business

Drone piloting involved: 5/10

If you are not someone who can work under a boss, then starting your own drone business could be a way to go. Here are some business ideas can help you reap rich dividends in the near future:

  • Aerial photography and cinematography
  • Inspection, surveillance and maintenance of infrastructure such as cell phone towers, power lines, solar fields
  • Aerial mapping and surveying
  • Package delivery service
  • Development of software for drones
  • Development of drone hardware and manufacturing
  • Capacity development and technical backstopping

Skills and qualifications needed

Specialization will help determine the skills and qualifications required. A formidable background in photography is needed if you are interested in pursuing a career in drone photography and videography. On the other hand, if you plan to opt for the military path, then you will be needing an entirely different skill set and qualifications.

Having said that, following skills and qualifications are required to land a drone job.

  • Decent piloting skills and knowledge about the hardware and software related to your area of specialization (learn to fly a drone from the ground up here)
  • Team work
  • FAA Certifications (Part 107 and Class 2 medical certificates)
  • Security clearance

Acquisition of a relevant degree in technology will come in handy if you intend to become a drone engineer.

Remuneration from drone job

The salary will depend on the type of career you pursue along with your experience and qualification. Drone pilots generally earn between $50,000 and $70,000 per annum. You can always go on to earn higher amounts with greater experience and expertise.

Of course, drone jobs related to engineering and instruction will help you earn more in contrast to working as a drone pilot or technician.

Job Portals

You can find drone jobs on a number of online job portals plus you can join online forums and communities and also participate in local meetups. A strong reputation is a must if you want to make money in the world of drones.

The Wrap Up

There are plenty of drone jobs available if you have the requisite skillset, certifications and qualifications. Figure out your strengths and inclination and try to specialize. In case of any comments, questions or observations, do not hesitate to contact us or drop a comment in the comments section below.

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