Drone Pilot Career Summary

Do you want to work as a Drone Pilot?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 1 September 2020

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What is a Drone Pilot?

Drone Pilots use the drones to survey a specific area or animals to assist in conservation, law enforcement and anti-poaching.

Drones can also be used for eco-tourism marketing, ecology, game herding, wildlife photography and search-and-rescue efforts.

Alternative Names

Depending on the country, the career might be known as:

  • UAV Pilot


The first drones were developed as far back as the First World War

What is in a Name?

The word DRONE comes from the male mating bee, called a drone

What does a Drone Pilot do?

Groups of animals a Drone Pilot works with

Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Birds List Icon OZT
Fish List Icon OZT
Critters List Icon OZT
Reptiles List Icon OZT

Career Categories

The Drone Pilot career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Law & enforcement
  • Business
  • Farming
  • Marine Conservation
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Media & Publishing

What does a Drone Pilot focus on?

Drone pilots focus on the deployment and careful maneuvering of the drones to capture required images.

What are the daily tasks of a Drone Pilot?

  • Maintain the drones and all other machinery
  • Discuss brief with clients
  • Measure flying conditions and finding perfect launch spot
  • Fly drone according to clients’ specifications
  • Write reports
  • Invoice clients
  • Administration and filing

Working conditions of a Drone Pilot?

Where does a Drone Pilot work?


They work mostly outdoors, but do spend some time in an office setup for business administration.

Places of Employment –

They may be employed by nature conservation organizations, large farms, private game reserves, anti-poaching units, government.

What is the average annual salary of a Drone Pilot?

They can earn a yearly average of US$66,000 per year. The salary will also differ from country to country.

Can a Drone Pilot be promoted?

Some can go into specialized areas as freelancers, while others who work within large organizations may be promoted into supervisor positions that do focus more on office work.

The possible levels:
Junior pilot > senior pilot > manager

What kind of difficulties can a Drone Pilot face?

It can be a physically demanding job. Unlike some outdoor employment, drone pilots are generally outdoors in what can be harsh weather, such as dry and hot conditions. They may need to work overnight during night surveillance, on weekends, and on holidays.

The loss of or damage to a drone can be costly.

​Future growth and Possibilities

​The future growth of the sector looks good with growth at around 15% per year.

Availability of Jobs


Which Skills are required by a Drone Pilot?

The skills required for a career as a drone pilot can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • ​Excellent customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent drone flying skills
  • Excellent computer literacy
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Drone Pilot?

Minimum Requirements

​To become a drone pilot will require a minimum of a High School certificate. Many do study further through a specialized training institution.

Study Focus

Majors –

There are special drone schools in many countries where they focus on certifying young drone pilots in subjects ranging from flying to understanding the weather.

Short Courses –

They will also, when necessary, complete available short courses to further their knowledge.

Study Duration

The duration of specialized College and Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and apprenticeship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a drone pilot will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions may require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Join the Drone Pilots Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Certifications may be required in some countries to be allowed to operate drones.

Professional Associations

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards drone piloting.

Do you have information that you would like to contribute to this course? Please click on the red beetle to access the contribution form.

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Join the OZT Community and Career Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a drone pilot.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a drone pilot, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

  • Group logo of Drone Pilots

    Drone Pilots

    Public Group / 1 member

    active 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    The Group was created to bring together all those interested in learning more about the career while having access to free resources, short courses, expert advice as well as the option to interact with other students from around […]

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