In this article, we’ll outline what it takes to get an FAA drone license to fly your drone for non-recreational use here in the United States.
Here’s our YouTube video that walks through the process:
Table of Contents
- Do I need to get a drone license?
- How long does it take?
- What’s on the FAA exam?
- Where is my closest FAA test center?
- Do I need to know how to fly a drone?
- How much does it cost?
- How can drones help me or my team?
- Other questions about getting your drone license
If you’re looking for help preparing for the FAA’s Part 107 test, check out our self-paced online course. We’ve trained over 30,000 drone pilots, and over 99% of our students pass the test on the first try.
Do I need to get a drone license?
If you’re looking to fly a drone for any non-recreational purpose, you must get a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
- This certificate is commonly known as a drone license, Part 107 license, or Part 107 certificate.
- Your Certificate can be used to operate a drone in all U.S. states and territories.
- You must renew the Certificate every 2 years.
Click here to learn more about the different rules for commercial vs. recreational use of drones in the United States.
How long does it take to get a drone license?
From start to finish, it takes the majority of our students 4-6 weeks to get their FAA drone pilot license.
And you’ll receive your official certificate card in the mail 6-8 weeks after that. It’s laminated and fancy and great to pull out at parties!
What’s on the FAA drone certification test?
The FAA test has 60-multiple choice questions. You have 2 hours to take the test, and you must get a 70% or higher to pass. There are 120+ concepts in the UAS Airman Certification Standards. Here are some of the key topics you’ll be tested on:
- FAA Drone Laws
- National Airspace System (NAS)
- Reading Sectional Charts
- Airport Operations
- Weather & Micrometeorology
- Flying a Drone at Night
- sUAS Loading and Performance
- Emergency Procedures
- Crew Resource Management
- Radio Communications
- Effects of Drugs & Alcohol
- Aeronautical Decision-Making
Where is my closest FAA drone testing center?
You will take your test in person at your local test center.
There are about 800 locations in the U.S. states and territories.
Do I need to know how to fly a drone?
Interestingly enough, no.
The FAA does not require that you demonstrate drone flight proficiency in order to get your drone license.
If you or your team would benefit from in-person instruction, we offer hands-on drone flight training classes with experienced instructors.
How much does a drone license cost?
The cost of getting your drone license is relatively low — less than $500.
Other Common Questions About Becoming a Certified Drone Pilot
What kind of drone jobs are available?
Drones are being used in a growing number of industries around the world:
- Real Estate Sales Videos
- Construction Site Progress Monitoring
- Stockpile Measurement
- Crime Scene Mapping
- Search & Rescue
- Natural Disaster Response
- Insurance Claims Adjusting
- Infrastructure Inspections (Pipelines, Bridges, Railroads, Utility Towers)
We highlight industries and specific opportunities where drone pilots can find jobs in our UAV Coach Drone Jobs Guide.
How much money do drone pilots make?
Here are some key takeaways from this UAV Coach drone pilot salary article we researched for our students:
- Full-time, salaried positions range from $33K – $79K a year.
- Freelance and client-based work can be found through drone pilot directories.
- For residential real estate work, many drone pilots make at least $200 – $300 per project. Of course, this can vary depending on how you choose to price your drone services.
- Drones are used in so many industries with varying degrees of client outputs needed. What you can expect to make depends on whether or not you’re taking basic photos, helping to analyze more complex aerial data sets, doing technical inspection work with a thermal camera, able to work on a film set, etc.
Can you tell me more about drone insurance?
Yes, here is a link to our drone insurance guide. You’ll learn about the difference between liability and hull insurance, and how most drone pilots use apps like SkyWatch.ai to get on-demand insurance for as little as $5/hour. Insurance may not always be legally required, but if you’re flying a drone for any kind of non-recreational use, we’d recommend at least seriously looking into it.