Getting Schooled on UAS | Unmanned Systems Institute

Getting Schooled on UAS

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Every semester, a new university is announcing its new unmanned vehicle program

June is the time when high school seniors walk across the stage in their cap and gown to receive their diploma, ready to move onto bigger and better things. For many this means college, which in turn means deciding a major and an eventual career path. Those who are undecided may want to consider what is already a lucrative option – unmanned aviation. The number of UAS programs offered by universities in constantly growing, with Indiana State University being the newest to join the fold.

Jumping on the UAS bandwagon now can lead to short and long term financial benefits. UAS operators and engineers, entry-level or experienced, are in very high demand and big companies are willing to pay very well. If you’re looking to pay off those student loans quickly, a UAS degree can be a big help.

Which universities are the go-to’s for UAS school? Take a peak at the major players:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical – Embry-Riddle has been a staple in aeronautical education and UAS is no exception. The school (based in Daytona Beach, FL but with multiple locations) has the most established UAS presence of all the universities and has graduates flying all across the country. Its focus on aviation makes it an atypical university, but you are likely to get a hyper-focused degree if that is your goal.

Kansas State University-Salina – KSU-Salina, with its wide plains and agricultural influence, has developed into one of the top UAS universities. Professors come from across the globe and speak at UAS events throughout the United States.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – Texas A&M has the added bonus of a transportation institute as well, making it a resource for those interested in both UAS and AVs. The Lone Star Center provides students with the opportunity to test their UAS in the field.

Indiana State University – The newest program on this list, ISU announced their new program last week. After years of having a minor in UAS, the university has upgraded the program to a four-year degree.

Auburn University – While a four-year program hasn’t been established yet, this is definitely a school to keep an eye on. Auburn’s aviation center was recently granted FAA approval to fly UAS and accredit aspiring pilots. With its connection to Mississippi State University’s Center of Excellence, Auburn is well-positioned to become a leader in UAS undergraduate studies. The state of Alabama has already become one the leaders of UAS use in the South.

Oklahoma State University – OSU is motivated to become a top UAS school. The university has hosted multiple UAS-related events and has more scheduled. The Stillwater school has rallied the state behind its UAS causes and is gaining exposure quickly.

University of North Dakota & North Dakota State University – Like KSU-Salina, the North Dakota schools seized their state’s agricultural footprint to incorporate UAS. But the state of North Dakota has another thing on its side – a UAS test site. Grand Forks and the state as a whole are taking advantage of their test site status to bring business to the community, as well as new university students.

University of Nevada-Reno – Nevada, which as a state holds FAA Test Site designation, has been aiming to be at the forefront of automated and unmanned vehicle technology. UAS is still a minor, but it would not be surprising to see an upgrade to major status in the near future.

Middle Tennessee State University – MTSU, which rolled out their program earlier this year, offers UAS as a concentration within their Aviation program for UAS, teaching students how to fly and build these unmanned aircraft.

And if you are not looking for or aren’t ready for a four-year university, many community colleges are offering courses on small UAS. Online universities specifically for unmanned flight are popping up all over as well, with the added benefit of being able to study outside of your work schedule. Regardless of your age, goals, or availability – there is a UAS program that can likely fit your schedule and put you on a new, lucrative career path.

Gavin Holdgreiwe

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