Drone Pilot Jobs Guide

Drone Pilot Jobs Guide

Drone Jobs

Table Of Contents

A Guide to Finding Drone Pilot Jobs

Are you on the lookout for drone flying jobs or surprise what drone trade jobs are on the market? We have created this information that will help you discover out about all of the drone operator jobs out there. You’re going to get details about the forms of drone flying jobs which might be on the market, which industries use drones, and get examples about drone pilot jobs wage choices.

Let us ask you a query first: Why are you at the moment right here? Are you:

  • A drone hobbyist?
  • A drone pilot who desires licensed drone pilot jobs?
  • Not a drone pilot in any respect however inquisitive about non-pilot alternatives out there throughout the drone trade?

This web page will help you deal with the roles out there throughout the drone trade and is appropriate for non-pilots and pilots alike.

Real Estate Drone Jobs

Real estate drone jobs

Lately, drone pilots are serving to realtors get an airborne perspective that has by no means earlier than been attainable. Using movies, aerial stills, and 3D maps created from drones, potential patrons can get a greater view of the property they need to purchase.

Typically, these actual property drone jobs are executed by a single freelancing drone pilot to seize movies and stills of a for-sale property. The realtor makes use of this for promotional supplies.

You’re going to wish drone flying abilities, in addition to figuring out easy methods to deal with movies and pictures. Generally, you arrive on the property to get the protection, go residence, after which work on the fabric till you’ve received usable video and pictures to present to the shopper. This means you’ve additionally received to know easy methods to cope with post-production to show it into one thing deliverable.

What You Need

You don’t require a high-end drone to be aggressive and get actual property drone jobs. Most pilots use Mavic or DJI Phantom drones, which work high quality.

However, you do want software program for post-production facets. This helps you course of the video and picture footage. Adobe Photoshop works effectively for pictures, and if you happen to get the Premiere Pro model, you possibly can edit your movies.


Most drone pilots who do actual property work receives a commission hourly. Rates can vary from $25 per hour to $40 per hour. You might also take into account setting a flat fee of $200 to $300 for your entire job. We suggest that you just begin off with decrease hourly charges and develop that quantity as you get higher. Your location additionally performs a component. If you’re employed in Los Angeles, you must have increased costs than if you happen to work within the Midwest.

Where You Can Work As a Real Estate Drone Pilot

  • Homes, housing developments, communities (residential)
  • Business complexes, procuring facilities, malls (industrial)
  • Resorts, lodges, swimming pools
  • Golf programs
  • Dude ranches
  • Large estates

Drone Jobs for Mining, Construction, and Aggregates

Construction drone jobs

If you need to work for the development and mining industries, you’re doubtless trying to find drone mapping jobs. Drone pilots assist such enterprises by conducting surveys, so the businesses get monetary savings. These surveys be certain that the companies monitor stockpile areas, the quantity of operations, security situations of assorted website areas, and progress on a undertaking.

With a drone, these firms can survey giant areas, course of all the info with applicable software program, and know the place the supplies are and the way they’re getting used. Some drones may also assist with planning by getting the aerial knowledge and creating 3D maps. This approach, development firms perceive the place they will’t/can’t construct, and mining companies deal with one of the best/worst areas for storing and digging supplies.

Without drones, data have to be gathered by surveyors manually. They’ve received to stroll by the positioning on foot, which isn’t as correct and is extra time-consuming. An individual who has to stroll would possibly take a number of hours to do a job {that a} drone can do in quarter-hour. Plus, drones can go the place it is likely to be unsafe for an individual.

You might successfully seek for drone mapping jobs or drone inspection jobs inside these industries. However, you must have some drone surveyor expertise and should perceive easy methods to create the precise outputs to your shopper. This might embrace varied movies and photographs on a particular location or a full orthomosaic map.

What You Need

Most individuals in these jobs need heavy-duty and difficult drones which might be made for industrial conditions. Consider the DJI Matrice or Yuneec’s H520, as they’re each strong. Just notice that you just pay for excellence, so you might begin out with a low-budget choice just like the Mavic or Phantom.

You’re additionally going to need the software program to course of the info you accumulate. If you want 3D maps, orthomosaics, and different comparable outputs, DroneDeploy works effectively. Pix4D additionally gives varied mapping choices.


Based on the analysis, most drone pilots in development and mining make roughly $50 an hour, however highly-skilled drone pilots could make as much as $500 per hour primarily based on ability ranges, location, and the work required.

Where You Can Work as a Drone Inspector or Drone Mapper

  • Safety monitoring
  • Progress monitoring
  • Monitoring stockpiles of assorted supplies
  • Pre-building inspections

Filmmaking Drone Jobs and Photography Options

Film making drone jobs

Drone pictures jobs is usually a nice choice for inventive individuals and people who need to break into the filmmaking trade. You’ve in all probability seen these sweeping aerial photographs in tv exhibits, documentaries, and common motion pictures. When utilizing a drone, the producer can get footage like by no means earlier than. While they have been attainable, they used to price approach an excessive amount of as a result of a helicopter needed to be rented.

These UAV drone jobs assist tv and film producers get aerial protection of a selected location simply and shortly. Plus, drones don’t require the identical insurance coverage protection as a helicopter. Therefore, it’s in your greatest curiosity to think about the movie trade to your drone pilot profession.

Most of the filming you do as a drone pilot is for a selected undertaking. It’s a case-by-case state of affairs. For instance, one drone pilot may very well be introduced onto the crew to get aerial photographs of a chase or location. You in all probability aren’t going to be on the workers for the total shoot length, however you is likely to be. It simply relies on the film/present and the producer’s wants.

Your greatest guess for locating movie work is to stay in areas that produce motion pictures, comparable to Los Angeles. Typically, it’s important to begin out doing free work and community to get your title on the market. That approach, you develop a contacts record that may enable you get a gradual circulate of proposals.

However, filmmaking drone jobs aren’t the one choice on the market. Drone pictures jobs are additionally out there for nearly anybody who owns a drone. You can take aerial images of absolutely anything. Some individuals need them for his or her weddings, birthday events, anniversaries, and different situations.

Regardless of whether or not you assist make movies or take photos, you’re a freelancer who must construct up a shopper record. To seem extra skilled, it’s greatest to get drone insurance coverage. That approach, your gear is protected, and individuals are extra prepared to work with you as a freelancer.

What You Need

Typically, that you must have excessive resolutions and glorious high quality, particularly if you happen to’re capturing scenes for motion pictures or tv exhibits. The similar applies for pictures or movies you create for particular occasions.

Even so, you possibly can in all probability use a Mavic or Phantom if you happen to’re simply beginning out, although the ZenMuse X7 from DJI is created particularly to make motion pictures.

As you progress and turn into higher, it’s your decision a higher-quality drone just like the Spreading Wings or FreeFly Alta. That approach, you possibly can customise it and select one of the best digital camera choice for the shoot.

You’re additionally going to require post-production software program. Edit the photographs to make them look excellent or take the uncooked footage and switch it into one thing the movie producer can use.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to think about coaching. While you might know easy methods to fly the drone, it’s important to study to fly, movie, and take into consideration what you’re doing. You can discover many coaching choices on-line or can observe at residence to get higher at your abilities.


Filming motion pictures and tv exhibits will pay effectively, however it may be exhausting to interrupt into the trade. Unlike different videography work, it may take years to create a shopper base. However, it’s a lot simpler to shoot photographs and movies for actual property or weddings, so you might need to take into account drone pictures jobs as a substitute of filmmaker choices. Typically, you possibly can anticipate to make about $200 per hour, however this relies on the kind of work and undertaking.

You can select to make it a flat fee, however this might backfire on you. If you at all times ship skilled outcomes, have a portfolio, and entry to previous completely satisfied shoppers, you possibly can ask for extra. People are going to pay for high quality.

Where You Can Work as a Drone Filmmaker

  • Stock footage
  • Scope or views for specific scenes
  • Aerial footage of battle, chase, and different motion scenes
  • Wildlife or wilderness photographs
  • Location-establishment photographs

Where You Can Work as a Drone Photographer

  • Weddings
  • Anniversaries
  • Birthday events
  • Bachelor/bachelorette events
  • Family reunions

Public Safety Drone Jobs

Public safety drone jobs

Right now, about 1,500 businesses use drones, and the quantity is rising. For instance, fireplace departments use drones to achieve higher consciousness throughout a fireplace. They may also use the drone to create an orthomosaic map of the faculties and buildings the place fires might occur. That approach, it’s simpler to see the place the exit factors are and shield individuals.

Law enforcement businesses additionally use drones equally to create maps of high-traffic buildings. This approach, individuals could be evacuated shortly throughout an emergency. These embrace floods, extreme storms, and lively shooter situations.

Both fireplace departments and police stations use drones after extreme climate to find individuals who need assistance and to find out the damages. This approach, it’s simpler to direct assets to the areas that require it most.

The drones can be utilized for nearly any emergency state of affairs that arises. For instance, firefighters can rent drone operators to find individuals who have fallen off a cliff. The rescue employees don’t need to be lowered on a rope and danger their lives. Instead, the drone goes down there and makes positive that’s the place the sufferer is situated.

Generally, you solely have to know easy methods to fly the drone professionally. However, there may very well be instances the place you should use aerial thermography to find anybody in burning buildings.

What You Need

Most public security businesses use inexpensive drone choices just like the Mavic Air or Phantom 4. You don’t require heavy-duty industrial drones for this job. In truth, you might not want to purchase a drone. If these businesses have already got the gear, you is likely to be employed on an as-needed foundation to make use of the gear and assist rescue individuals.

Software might turn out to be useful, comparable to if you want an orthomosaic map to see a visitors accident or the place an emergency evacuation could also be required. You can use DroneDeploy for that; simply fly over the positioning, take your photos, and add them into the software program. Typically, the businesses you’re employed with have the software program obligatory, too.


Most of the drone work for public security businesses occurs in-house. Therefore, it’s important to be employed by the company itself to work with it. This provides you the gear and software program wanted for any state of affairs. You can analysis your space’s police officer or firefighter wage to find out how a lot you’re going to receives a commission.

While some businesses do use freelancers, they hardly ever have the cash to pay important quantities. In truth, you might be requested to work professional bono to assist save lives.

Where You Can Work

  • Creating coaching supplies
  • Pre-fire planning
  • Emergency deliveries
  • Real-time situational consciousness (hazardous supplies and bombs)
  • Traffic administration
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Evaluating damages after a catastrophe
  • Search and rescue
  • Crime scene mapping

Insurance Drone Jobs

Insurance drone jobs

There are numerous unmanned plane jobs within the insurance coverage trade. Generally, insurance coverage firms see many claims for harm after dangerous climate in a selected space.

To assess the claims up to now, these firms needed to ship out an adjuster or inspector to go to the positioning, get on a ladder, and take loads of photos. However, that is time-consuming and extremely harmful.

Drones can be utilized for insurance coverage inspections. When you utilize a UAV, the pilot flies a set sample over the broken roof or space in about half-hour and will get sufficient pictures to judge the house owner’s insurance coverage declare.

Typically, this work is simple and is definitely in excessive demand. These industrial drone jobs are simply one among many who you’ll find. If insurance coverage is your factor otherwise you like serving to individuals, you possibly can work with insurance coverage firms to make sure that all the things is completed proper.

The solely ability set you actually need is the power to fly your drone or program it to go to a particular location. Then, accumulate the pictures whilst you’re flying.

What You Need

You’re prone to be a freelancer right here, as most insurance coverage firms don’t require a full-time drone operator. Therefore, you want your individual gear and should preserve it. The pictures you should seize don’t often need to be very high-quality, so you should use a typical drone right here. Just make it possible for the corporate you’re employed for is okay with the pictures the drone can produce.

Likewise, you’re going to wish software program to get the pictures off the drone and despatched to the insurance coverage firm. You aren’t doing post-production work, so you possibly can in all probability use what got here with the drone. Hook the drone as much as a pc, obtain the pictures you took, and ship it to the insurance coverage firm.

Some firms would possibly need you to course of the info you obtain right into a map. This does require you to have a platform, comparable to Pix4D or DroneDeploy.


As a drone pilot who does insurance-related work, you possibly can cost as much as $140 per hour. However, most individuals need a flat fee of $70 per mission. Also, it’s important to watch out about cash as a result of that is typically seasonal work. You’re solely working lots when there’s an enormous storm. While there could also be tons of labor throughout sure instances, it might dry up at others. Be conscious of your state’s climate patterns and watch the information to find out when the climate is prone to be dangerous.

Where You Can Work as an Insurance Drone Pilot

  • Post-disaster inspections (hail, storms, hurricanes, and so on.)
  • Aerial chimney, basis, and constructing function inspections
  • Roof harm inspections
  • Aerial inspections of floor options (pool harm, auxiliary buildings, and so on.)

Journalism Drone Jobs

Journalism drone jobs

Drones have turn into a wonderful device for journalism wants. Aerial photographs will help individuals perceive the extensiveness of the flood harm in an space, see how giant a crowd is, or decide how far a wildfire goes.

Typically, drones in journalism give individuals extra vantage factors to inform a narrative. Aerial video and stills footage provides extra layers to the drama for information tales and the like. As with movies, drones are cheaper than helicopters, so nearly any journalist can use them.

One factor you ought to be conscious of, although, is the spectrum of instances the place you should use drones. You additionally need to be conscious of the standard obligatory. For catastrophe and breaking information protection, you want a great digital camera, however you’ve additionally received to have the ability to get to the placement shortly.

It is likely to be useful to have a customizable digital camera in an effort to get one of the best photographs for inventive stills and documentary wants.

The skill-sets required may also range primarily based on the case and what you’re doing. If you’re a documentarian, you must know lots about pictures and videography, however you might not want the talents for breaking information protection wants. Regardless of your area of interest, you want top-notch flying abilities. You may very well be flying in troublesome conditions or beneath strain and solely have that one probability to get one of the best shot.

What You Need

In normal, you need one of the best drone you possibly can presumably purchase. However, these in breaking information journalism can typically get away with a Mavic Pro. If you want beautiful pictures for documentaries or print tales, a high-end mannequin is often greatest. You in all probability don’t want one thing designed for making motion pictures, however you possibly can select them for the visible high quality they supply. Otherwise, go along with one thing that means that you can customise the digital camera you utilize.

You’re going to wish some sort of photograph processing software program, and perhaps a video device. Even if you happen to select pictures, there might come a time the place you make movies and promote them to information stations. Therefore, be ready with Photoshop for photos or the sunshine model if you happen to hardly ever have to do a lot to the pictures. The Adobe Premiere Pro works effectively for video enhancing.


Most individuals are already journalists who work as photographers, anchors, videographers, or in one other function. You can freelance, however it’s fairly exhausting to seek out work, particularly if others on the information station are journalism drone operators.

The common wage for a journalism main is roughly $35,000 a 12 months. The location you’re employed in determines how a lot you make. Large cities pay greater than smaller ones. Plus, you might want varied ability units and academic backgrounds.

If you may make it as a contract journalism drone pilot, you possibly can anticipate to earn about $400 for a news-based undertaking for 4 hours of labor. Typically, this breaks down into $100 an hour.

Where You Can Work as a Drone Pilot in Journalism

  • Breaking information – filming buildings which might be collapsing, lively shooter situations, hostage conditions, and different occasions
  • Disaster reporting – filming floods, fires, hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, and others
  • Documentary work – Cityscape work, wildlife and panorama work, and different situations the place you inform a narrative from an aerial perspective
  • Traffic reporting – aerial footage of accidents and visitors
  • Photojournalism – inventive and high-quality video and stills to inform a narrative
  • Investigative reporting – utilizing drones to gather particular data for a narrative, comparable to labor situations inside a manufacturing unit

Agriculture Drone Jobs

Agriculture drone jobs

For the previous few years, farmers have been using drones to assist enhance yields. They can survey the crops and see the place extra consideration is critical. It’s a lot simpler to make use of a drone than strolling the farm on foot. Plus, it’s quicker and extra correct.

The most typical factor a drone pilot gives the farmer is the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) map. These maps are used to find out which vegetation are rising on a chunk of land and the way effectively it’s doing there.

Appropriate software program is required to course of the info collected by the drone pilot. That approach, reviews could be generated for farmers warning them about potential issues and what actions would possibly assist to rectify the state of affairs.

While the potential for drones to spice up crop yields is important, its adoption has been fairly gradual to return about. Many farmers are unsure concerning the worth that drones characterize of their work.

Still, the work that you just do as a drone pilot in agriculture is simple. Typically, you cowl lots of floor and collect sufficient knowledge to create a map. However, you don’t want any specialised abilities past flying safely and effectively as a result of the software program does all the things else.

The problem you face on this subject is promoting your self to the farmers. You’ve received to persuade them that your work will increase yields, and they’ll make extra by spending some on you. With time, drone utilization goes to be the norm for precision agriculture, and the challenges are going to go away. However, now, it’s a difficulty. If you possibly can break into it, you’re positive to beat out the competitors and make loads of cash.

What You Need

You can discover drones made particularly for agricultural work. The one from Bluegrass Fields contains a multispectral sensor to document crop pictures in varied bands. With the acquisition, you get the software program to fly autonomous paths, permitting you to program the drone to go the identical sample over the crops. Though Bluegrass Fields is a superb selection, there are others that work effectively.

Software is slightly trickier, as you’ve received to seek out choices targeted on agriculture. AgEagle is a distinct segment platform designed to course of drone knowledge in varied agricultural functions. However, you’ll find different software program selections, too.


Agriculture drone pilots could make between $40 and $150 per hour. However, these numbers are from the highest pilots on the market. Some pilots receives a commission roughly primarily based on abilities and different elements. If you’ll find a approach to reveal the worth of drone work in agriculture, you possibly can make important quantities of cash. However, this may very well be seasonal work, so it’s greatest to study when crops develop in your space and do loads of analysis.

Type of Work You Can Do

  • Create orthomosaic maps to assist monitor turf administration throughout the subject
  • Create NDVI maps to assist monitor the crops’ well being in a subject
  • Conduct research from drone knowledge on the well being of vegetation and particular situations
  • Create floodplain and drainage maps to assist farmers perceive runoff issues and easy methods to divert pesticides

Drone Jobs in Transportation

Drone transportation jobs

If you need a job in transportation as a drone operator, now’s the time. It’s persevering with to develop. Back in 2018, one examine confirmed that 35 states used drones not directly. Since then, extra states are utilizing drones and incorporating them into the common actions carried out by that state’s DOT.

Drones will help to chop down the prices and time required for inspections. Critical infrastructure must be monitored, however it’s harmful to ship crews to these areas. Similarly, railroads are additionally utilizing drones to examine the strains. This used to occur manually; an inspector needed to stroll the monitor and notice irregularities and the place they occurred. With a drone, the inspection is completed quicker and provides extra correct data.

To carry out one of these work, that you must know what these inspections embrace and what to search for. That means it’s important to get loads of protection of the inspected property. These could be roads, bridges, and railroad ties. This approach, the issue areas are recognized by the info you’ve collected.

Because software program is growing at a speedy tempo, it’s typically simple sufficient to add your uncooked pictures and let the software program inform you what downside areas there are. It simply means you’ve received to have the precise software program for this process.

What You Need

Various drones are used for transportation inspections, they usually come at many value factors. You need one thing dependable, however low-cost choices can embrace the Mavic Pro, Yuneec, and Phantom. Then, you possibly can transfer up in value as you improve your gear and turn into higher at what you do.

If you possibly can afford it, the Falcon 8+ from Intel is great. However, there’s no listed value as a result of every drone is custom-made to satisfy your wants with varied options and add-ons.

You’re primarily going to be mapping, so that you want software program that works effectively for this. Options embrace DroneDeploy, Pix4D, and Agisoft.


Drone pilots performing transportation inspections can anticipate to make roughly $100 an hour. However, a spotter is usually required for a lot of these jobs, so you might be splitting the pay with another person. If you run an aerial service firm, you possibly can cost further charges to cowl your bills. These industrial drone jobs pay effectively and infrequently take one to 2 hours to finish. Workflow relies on the realm you reside in, as giant cities are going to wish extra inspections than a small one.

Types of Transportation Work You Can Get as a Drone Pilot

  • Monorails – survey and examine the rails, concrete help beams, and different parts
  • Railroads – examine the tracks and railroad ties to seek out issues earlier than they worsen
  • Rivers – survey rivers usually to forestall roadway harm and flooding
  • Roads – use drones to cut back dangers of landslides, flooding, and rockslides
  • Bridges – examine help beams, bridge decks, girders, and different parts

Drone Jobs for the Energy Sector

Drones in the energy sector

Similar to drones for transportation wants, drone operators may also examine photo voltaic panels and energy strains inexpensively and shortly. You are prone to work straight with an power firm as a freelancer. In the previous, the FAA prohibited BVLOS flights, however now it’s letting power firms conduct them. Therefore, giant areas get inspected faster in much less time.

These BVLOS waivers are slowly trickling out to the power firms all through the nation. The first one was issued to an organization in Denver, Colorado. Once the work there was accomplished, the FAA launched waivers to different firms.

Though the method continues to be occurring, you possibly can test along with your native power firm to see if it has a waiver. If so, you possibly can freelance and examine its energy strains to assist the enterprise get monetary savings.

You’re going to wish some technical information in order that you already know what’s required to examine photo voltaic panels, energy strains, and energy-related infrastructure. Typically, these inspections are used to seek out areas that require upkeep. That approach, any issues are acknowledged early and could be addressed.

To deal with photo voltaic panel inspections, you must have aerial thermography information. This might also be wanted for sure energy strains. Consider that energy strains can transmit magnetic interference, which might fry the flight controller or make it exhausting to fly in these areas. Stay about 100 toes away from energy strains whereas performing aerial inspections and don’t go between the strains if attainable.

What You Need

Since it’s important to keep far-off from the ability strains and might have close-ups, you must have a digital camera that means that you can zoom in. You can discover drones which might be marketed for energy line inspections, they usually use ferromagnetic safety options. The Phantom 4 Pro is a superb choice, however the Matrice 200 is high-end and resists all magnetic interferences.

You additionally require applicable software program that will help you course of the info you accumulate or map the realm.


Most of the time, you’re going to be a freelancer and might anticipate to make $100 an hour, however that is primarily based on the placement, your journey time, and your ability degree. It may very well be exhausting to get into the sphere, as most power firms need in-house pilot groups which might be skilled. If you will get one of these job, anticipate to make between $70,000 and $100,000 a 12 months primarily based on location, expertise degree, and the way typically you’re employed.

Types of Drone Jobs in Energy

  • Wind generators
  • Pipelines
  • Power strains
  • Solar panels
  • Infrastructure to any of the above


There are many roles for drone pilots on the market. We’ve mentioned a lot of them, however the truth is that nearly any firm and state of affairs may gain advantage from a drone. Now that you’ve a greater thought of what’s out there, you possibly can provide you with different choices and break into the sphere of drone utilization.

You want the precise expertise, and a few of these jobs are specialised. However, that doesn’t imply you possibly can’t study. If you know the way to fly a drone and use the software program regarding the sphere, you have got an important probability to earn a good dwelling. Just just remember to’re not promoting your self quick and know what you’re value. That additionally means figuring out easy methods to market your self in sure conditions.

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