Drone Pilots

Soldier Pilots a Drone

Unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, are used to gather military intelligence, collect information on the health of crops and endangered species, survey damage after tornadoes and floods, and perform many other tasks. Drone pilots operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). They fly drones that range in size from those smaller than a computer mouse to the U.S. government’s Global Hawk, which is 44-feet long and has a 115-foot wingspan. Drone pilots are also known as unmanned aerial vehicle pilots, unmanned aircraft pilots, and unmanned aircraft systems operators.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) UAV Pilots, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Pilots, Unmanned Aircraft Pilots, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operators
Duties Pilot unmanned aircraft systems for surveillance and security, videography, search and rescue, delivery, and other purposes
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the world
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience Drone flight school training, or two to three years experience
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Technical
  • Computer
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Must be at least 18 or 21 years old and a U.S. citizen for some jobs
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Flight Director
  • Drone Pilot
  • Student

Related Industries