Do you want to work as a Drone Pilot?
- Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
- Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
- If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential pilots and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
UPDATED: 1 September 2020
1. 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.
Also known as:
- UAV Pilot
2. What do they do?
Law & enforcement / Business / Marine Conservation / Wildlife Conservation / Media & Publishing
Drone pilots focus on the deployment and careful maneuvering of the drones to capture required images.
- 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
Where they 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, private game reserves, anti-poaching units, government.
Average Yearly Salary:
They can earn a yearly average of US$66,000 per year. The salary will also differ from country to country.
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
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.
3. Which Skills are required?
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.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Excellent customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Excellent drone flying skills
- Excellent computer literacy
4. Which Subjects must I have at School?
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!
5. What will I need to Study?
To become a drone pilot will require a minimum of a High School certificate. Many do study further through a specialized training institution.
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.
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 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:
6. 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.
Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.
7. 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.
8. Join the OZT community
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.
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