The need for UAS experts is growing more and more
Although we are still waiting on regulation to be passed by the FAA, job listings for commercial UAS operators are popping up everywhere.
In a still recovering economy, pilot positions are one of the few areas of tremendous growth. It is not difficult to find an entry-level position starting over $50,000, and companies looking for more experienced operators are willing to shell out over $100,000 per year.
In addition to a sizeable salary, many of these companies hiring UAS operators are tech heavyweights that are sure to bring some added perks. Google, Facebook, and Amazon are famous for having ultra-modern work environment catered to employees.
Whether you want to be among the first in the U.S. to deliver packages with Amazon or want to help Facebook expand its digital empire, there are UAS jobs available. If you still need time to work on your flying skills, The agriculture industry is eagerly waiting to use UAS to monitor crops, and journalists are hoping they’ll be able to shoot from the sky sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile on the defense side, General Atomics, Northrop Grumman and others are making these devices now for military operations.
“This fiscal year, which started on May 1st, we’ve already hired 50 new people,” Steven Gitlin, VP of Marketing and Communications for AeroVironment, told NBC News. “And we’re looking to hire about 50 more.”
These applications are more in demand at the moment, since military organizations can use these devices in the field now. Military courses on UAS operation are also expanding as manned aircraft are phased out more and more, but civilian jobs are available as well.
Becoming a certified operator and obtaining one of these jobs may not be as hard as you think. Private drone manufacturers, like UAVDirect, are holding free training sessions for those who wish to learn. For millennials worried about finding a job after college or those looking to earn a new degree/certification, many universities are joining in on the trend. Every semester more UAS major and minor programs are created at U.S. colleges.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical has established itself as the pioneer for aeronautical education, but Kansas State-Salina and University of North Dakota were the first universities to offer four-year UAS degrees. Other universities such as Texas A&M of Corpus Christi, Oklahoma State University, and University of Nevada-Reno have developed their own programs and more colleges are likely to follow suit. Middle Tennessee State University is the newest to introduce a UAS program, joining over 30 other universities.
For now military operation is still the primary way to fly UAS in real-world scenarios, but as companies acquire 333 exemptions, testing of these devices increases, and the FAA develops regulation, UAS pilots will be busy working all over the country.
For those looking to make a career change or some extra money on the side, get your flying practice in now and get ahead of the game.
Gavin Holdgreiwe | Unmanned Systems Institute