Drone Pilots


Employment Prospects


The majority of drone pilots are employed by the U.S. military (especially the Air Force, but also the Army and other branches), intelligence agencies (such as the Central Intelligence Agency), defense contractors (such as General Atomics, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon), law enforcement agencies, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, and companies that provide aerial monitoring services to farmers. In addition, drone pilots work in many other industries, including utilities, film and television, shipping, construction, insurance, real estate, and energy. Some drone pilots launch their own businesses to provide services to a wide range of customers. 

Starting Out

Many colleges and drone pilot training schools provide students with job-search assistance. Drone pilots with the requisite experience and training often contact potential employers directly to learn about job openings. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems offers job listings at its Web site, https://www.auvsi.org/resources/careers/career-center. Those interested in working as a UAS pilot in the military should contact their local recruiter and visit http://todaysmilitary.com for more information.

Advancement Prospects

Military drone pilots advance by being promoted to a higher rank and receiving higher pay. A commercial drone pilot might advance to become a flight director, work in sales, or open his or her own UAS business. 

Tips for Entry

The Federal Aviation Administration provides answers to frequently asked questions about drones and becoming licensed as a drone pilot at https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/faqs.

Read Unmanned Systems (https://www.auvsi.org/magazines-library) and Rotor Drone Pro (https://www.rotordronepro.com) to learn more about the field.

Visit https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/drone-pilot-jobs for job listings.

Attend the InterDrone conference (https://www.interdrone.com) to network and participate in continuing education classes and workshops.