Drone Jobs – How to Find Work as a Commercial Drone Pilot

Drone Jobs – How to Find Work as a Commercial Drone Pilot

It’s lengthy since been your dream to develop into a industrial drone pilot. There are many thrilling industries you may work in, and the checklist grows longer on a regular basis. You have average quantities of drone flight expertise, so now you’re able to pursue knowledgeable profession. How do you do it?

Here’s methods to develop into a industrial drone pilot:

  • Pass the FAA data examination to earn your license
  • Buy a high-quality drone
  • Build an internet site with a assorted portfolio
  • Ask your social circle for job leads
  • Network typically 
  • Join job boards and apply for jobs

In this final information to turning into a industrial drone pilot, we’ll increase additional on the steps above so that you’ll have all the information it is advisable discover your first gig. We’ll additionally look at the market outlook for drone pilots, together with a dialogue of what your revenue may appear to be. 

How to develop into knowledgeable drone pilot 

First, per the steps into the intro, let’s delve into the steps essential to develop into a industrial drone pilot. 

1. Get your drone license

In the United States, the group that mandates drone guidelines is the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA. This group will even situation your drone license.

First-time pilots who need a industrial drone license should meet sure standards. You should be older than 16. Mentally and bodily, you should be deemed in good situation to function a drone. You should additionally perceive the English language, together with having the ability to write, communicate, and skim it. 

Then you may enroll with the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application or IACRA, making a profile there to get your FAA Tracking Number or FTN. 

Now it’s time to schedule your take a look at through this site. You can use the location to seek out an FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Center close to you. 

Then you’ll take the Unmanned Aircraft General or UAG examination, which can quiz you on all the things aeronautics. The hyperlink within the prior sentence takes you to a PDF courtesy of the FAA with pattern questions to offer you an concept of what’s on the take a look at. These actual questions will probably not be requested of you throughout your UAG examination although.

What questions will you see? The FAA recommends brushing up on these areas:

  • Flying a drone at night time
  • Preflight inspection 
  • Drone upkeep
  • Airport operations
  • Aeronautical judgment and decision-making
  • The results of alcohol and medicines on judgment and flight skills
  • Small unmanned plane efficiency
  • Radio communication protocols
  • Crew useful resource administration 
  • Emergency procedures
  • Loading small unmanned plane
  • How climate impacts small unmanned plane
  • Classifying airspaces 
  • Flight restrictions

You can research by yourself utilizing the free sources supplied by the FAA, or to enhance your possibilities of passing on the primary strive, you may take a web-based course that can assist you get ready for the FAA data take a look at, additionally generally known as the Part 107 take a look at. Here are some courses we recommend

You also can try our useful resource on commonly asked questions about the Part 107 exam and course of to seek out out extra about this take a look at and what’s concerned. 

On testing day, it’s essential to have a government-approved photograph ID to take the UAG examination. After the take a look at wraps up, you’ll both have handed or failed. If you move, then it is advisable register to your IACRA profile to fill out FAA Form 8710-13, which is to your distant pilot certification or license.

To do that, log into the IACRA web site, go to Start New Application, and fill out all the data, together with your Knowledge Test Exam ID, which is 17 digits lengthy. After your electrical signature is processed, you’ll should move a background verify by the TSA.

If you do this and all the things is processed, you’ll obtain your distant pilot certificates. 

A Part 107 distant pilot license is sweet for 2 years. Then you need to comply with all of the steps so far once more to maintain your license present.  

2. Buy a high-quality drone

To have a good time passing the UAG examination, why not deal with your self to a brand new drone? In some situations, a industrial drone is perhaps supplied to you courtesy of your employer, however if you happen to’re going the self-employed route, you may have to improve your tools to get the type of work it is advisable succeed.

After all, how are you alleged to get higher at flying a drone with no UAV of your personal? Plus, you’ll want a drone to create your portfolio, which we’ll discuss extra about shortly. 

Your drone should have a digicam for pictures and videography. You ought to anticipate to pay wherever from $800 to $1,500 for a drone of this caliber. In this guide, we offer plenty of pointers for what to look for when buying your first drone with a camera

In addition, your drone ought to have clever flight options akin to route mapping and follow-me mode. These options permit for a hands-off flight so you may focus extra on taking photographs and movies, and actually take your work to the skilled stage. 

A gimbal will present digicam stability, a should if you would like crisp photographs. A one-inch digicam sensor will cut back digital noise whereas growing mild sensitivity, in order that’s really useful as nicely. 

You additionally want a great photograph and video decision. Your digicam doesn’t should be the highest-quality machine ever, however it shouldn’t be so low cost that your photographs are at all times grainy.

3. Build an internet site and submit your portfolio

As a industrial drone pilot, likelihood is good that you simply’ll do at the least some work on a contract foundation. Your shoppers will wish to study extra about you earlier than deciding to rent you, so having an internet site of your personal is crucial. 

Today, making your personal web site is about as simple because it will get. You can use free web site builders like Weebly or Wix or beginner-friendly providers akin to GoDaddy. Many web site builders have drag-and-drop options so you may configure the structure of your web site simply the best way you prefer it.

If you’re drawing artistic blanks on methods to design your web site, you may at all times use pre-built templates.

Ideally, when you begin incomes cash via your industrial drone work, you’ll wish to spend money on a greater web site that doesn’t use templates. Your website might be extra skilled and will appeal to much more visitors. 

For now, what issues most is the presence of your portfolio. On your web site, showcase your greatest drone photographs and/or movies. Your drone pictures or videography needs to be centered on the area of interest or business you wish to break into.

For instance, if you wish to develop into an actual property drone pilot, then maybe your portfolio focuses on buildings, houses, and landscapes. 

Keep your portfolio assorted although, even whether it is centralized round one matter. If you edit your photographs, you may submit some uncooked photographs (that you simply actually like) versus people who you edit to indicate the breadth of the work you do. You also can showcase photographs which might be in shade versus black and white as one other instance. 

If your function in drone piloting is much less about taking photographs and movies and extra about working or repairing drones, then be certain that there’s a bit in your web site the place you checklist your expertise. 

4. Ask your social circle for job leads

You’ve bought your drone license, your web site, and your portfolio. If you haven’t already, it’s time to replace your resume, since you’re going job searching. 

We advocate beginning with folks you already know whether or not via your present job or your previous job. Your family and friends are viable folks to ask as nicely. Connect with them and question them on whether or not they know anybody who may know somebody who may also help you get your foot within the door as a industrial drone pilot. 

Maybe somebody may also help you out or maybe not, however it by no means hurts to strive. If your social circle can’t level you within the route of any good leads or in case you have some leads however they dry up, don’t fear. You have loads extra choices for locating work as a drone pilot.  

5. Network typically

Whenever you discover some spare time, it’s best to community. That can entail going to in-person networking occasions, however don’t underestimate on-line networking. Social media platforms may be a good way to satisfy new folks, as an illustration.

Everyone at all times assumes LinkedIn is the one social platform you should use to discover a job, however that’s not true. You can add clips of you flying a drone on YouTube and embody your electronic mail deal with in your contact info. Someone who sees your superior drone skills may contact you.

You also can be a part of Facebook teams associated to industrial drones. Your subsequent job lead might arrive via a gaggle like this.  

6. Join job boards and apply for jobs 

Your third avenue for locating work as a industrial drone pilot is to have a look at job boards. You can begin with the generalized boards and web sites akin to Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter, as these websites can have drone jobs as they’re posted.

We advocate on the lookout for job boards centered on drones and making use of for openings right here as nicely. Tailor your resume and canopy letter for every software, exhibiting the breadth of your expertise.

With time, you’ll be invited in for interviews. The interview may not be precisely just like the sit-down conversations you might have when making use of for each different job. You’ll probably should carry your drone with you to indicate off your abilities, if not throughout the first interview, then throughout the second or third.  

7. Take freelance jobs as they arrive

As the start phases of your profession, it’s best to take any freelance drone piloting gig that comes your technique to acquire expertise and enable you to construct your portfolio. One good technique to start is with a DroneBase account, although this method of finding jobs will not be profitable over the long game.

Still, getting just a little little bit of payout, and a number of expertise will enable you to construct your profession, and increase your confidence, so don’t be overly choosy as to what jobs you are taking as you’re beginning out. You by no means know what they may result in! 

» MORE: How to Become a Professional Drone Pilot

Are drone jobs in demand? (Market Outlook)

Before you pursue a job as a industrial drone pilot, you need to know: is your profession one which’s going to be round within the subsequent three to 5 years? What concerning the subsequent seven to 10 years?

To reply that, we’ll evaluate the business’s market outlook. A e-book known as Drone Service Market to 2027 – Global Analysis and Forecasts by Type, Services, Industries, and Law Enforcement (source) predicts that from 2020 to 2028, the drone service market world wide is anticipated to develop by greater than 50 p.c.

More and extra industries are realizing what drones can do. Instead of disturbing delicate ecosystems like we folks do when surveying, a drone can depart all the things intact. Rather than put your personal life in peril attempting to get an superior aerial shot or getting into a mine for surveying, a drone can do it. 

Although it’s at all times exhausting to say the place any business will go in these ever-changing instances, the projected eight-year progress interval for drones is astronomical! Keep in thoughts that the estimated 51.1% progress is for worldwide drone piloting, not simply within the United States. Even nonetheless, the prognosis is superb for these trying to get right into a profession as a drone pilot. 

How a lot cash do skilled drone pilots make?

Another query that’s assuredly in your thoughts is how a lot cash you may make as a industrial drone pilot.

That’s lots tougher to reply. As we talked about earlier, your work as a drone pilot is perhaps on a contract foundation. In that case, then your earnings are capped by what number of shoppers you might have, how a lot they’re prepared to pay you, and what number of hours you may put into every workweek.

For these industrial drone pilots which might be a part of an organization, you may need a set wage. 

Then you need to keep in mind that the place you reside performs a job in how a lot cash you may earn as a industrial drone pilot. As you may see then, there are various components that may result in revenue fluctuations.

That’s why you hear of drone pilots who make a killing by flying drones or taking photographs or movies. There are simply as many industrial drone pilots on the market who may wrestle to make ends meet and may’t stop their day job but. 

To accommodate for the vary of the abovementioned components, we’ll defer to Indeed’s revenue estimate for industrial drone pilots. According to Indeed, a drone pilot within the US may earn $42,800 a 12 months. Could your personal revenue be greater than that? Absolutely. It is also decrease. 

Industries skilled drone pilots work in 

Ideally, earlier than you apply to your first job as a industrial drone pilot, it’s essential to select the area of interest or business you wish to work in. This is one thing we touched on earlier within the information, so let’s speak about it in additional element now.


When information occurs round you, having a industrial drone to seize it can put you head and shoulders above the competitors. Working within the information business on a contract foundation could be a powerful function to occupy although. You should consistently discover newsworthy occurrences and get to them earlier than anybody else.

Then you need to hope {that a} information firm is prepared to pay you a excessive value to your movies or photographs. 


Have you ever watched a movie or TV present and questioned how the director bought a few of their photographs? It’s not all CGI right now. Instead, administrators ceaselessly depend on drone pilots to fly a drone and produce a scene to life. 

Sporting occasions are one other big space of leisure during which drones have gotten commonplace. It’s lots safer and fewer obtrusive for a drone to be on a sports activities area than it’s for an individual. The high quality of footage you will get from that distinctive vantage level dazzles audiences. 


Before unearthing an unexplored space, archaeologists depend on drones to assist decide whether or not something is perhaps beneath floor stage. They’ll additionally use a drone to scope out the security of the location. This may be very fulfilling work you possibly can be doing, particularly in case your drone surveying helps others discover a new dinosaur species! 


When somebody information an insurance coverage declare, the insurer normally visits the location to take a look at the harm. In the occasion of a hearth, a flash flood, or a twister, bodily going to the location may be unattainable and really unsafe. 

A drone can get via and assess the location in a manner that individuals can not. Drones are additionally helpful in insurance coverage for property danger assessments and fraud claims inspections. 

Real Estate

We talked about this earlier, however actual property is one other business during which you see drones increasingly more. After all, have you ever ever stopped to consider the place these overhead photographs of houses on the market come from?

It’s not an individual taking these photographs or movies anymore, fortunately. It’s a drone doing it. Your work might encourage somebody to make a proposal on a brand new home, which is thrilling stuff! 


Mining is one other business we touched on on this information. Rather than placing human lives in danger to examine a probably harmful mine, a drone can go in and assess whether or not the world is protected. Drones also can attain narrower passageways than folks can.  

Drone photos can be used to measure stockpile volumes and plan new mine roads in methods which might be unattainable from the bottom.


Before development work begins on a brand new constructing, drones will normally survey the world to assemble information on what’s each aboveground and underground. The development group can use this information to make educated choices on whether or not the land they’re constructing on is protected. 

Your work might stop catastrophic disasters, which is an enormous deal. 


Site mapping and surveying is yet one more job you possibly can do as a industrial UAV pilot. Your drone can cross massive expanses of land in a short while, saving dozens to a whole lot of manhours. Plus, as we’ve stated all through this information, a drone can survey land safely and with out disrupting a delicate ecosystem. 


Finding work as a industrial drone pilot begins with acquiring your FAA license, which it’s essential to renew each two years by passing the FAA data take a look at. Then you want a portfolio, an internet site, and a job lead. 

The world of drone piloting, surveying, pictures, and videography is a profitable one with endurance. You can work in an assortment of industries on a contract or employed foundation, making a distinction each single day! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *