Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

Drone piloting is a rapidly evolving career opportunity. Picture yourself photographing real estate, performing building inspections, surveying land around the world, performing military applications, filming the latest Hollywood movie, fertilizing crops, or providing support for search and rescue missions.

2 students flying a drone

Earn your Unmanned Aerial Vehicle license (FAA 107) to fly drones commercially. Learn about airspace classifications, weather patterns, safety procedures, airport communications, and the laws around flying drones. The course also includes hands-on flight time with DJI drones. At the end of the course, the instructors (Heather Flores and Jake Bailey) will schedule your certification test at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.

Summer 2023 Program Timeline

  • Application window open: Ongoing
  • Program dates: June 26th to July 14th (no class July 3rd-5th.)  Testing the following week
  • Notification of selected applicants: Early June
  • Location: Hunt Middle School
  • Approximate hours to complete: 80
  • Graduation Credit: 0.5 in STEM
  • Certifications: FAA 107 and Financial Literacy through EverFi
  • Special considerations for this program: Must be 16 years old for the certification test
  • Completion stipend: $500
  • Cost to families: $0
  • For additional information, please contact Jeff Klancke: jklanck@tacoma.k12.wa.us

Drone Pilot Careers by the Numbers

Average Salary (as of 3/31/22): $53,427 source

Required Education: Nothing other than passing the FAA exam

Job Outlook: This is hard to quantify since most drone careers are listed under other categories such as photography, videography, inspections, agriculture, etc. Here is a current summary outlining the industry outlook - source

Current Job Postings: On indeed

What it's like to be a drone pilot:

Official FAA Drone Site: Become a Drone Pilot (faa.gov)

Drone Careers: What Kinds of Jobs Can Drone Pilots Do? - Pilot Institute

DJI Drone Blog: Tons of